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Ken Welch plans to tap into $49M in bridge funding Florida is receiving from Joe Biden administration

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Pete Buttigieg said it’s the largest bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.

Newly sworn in St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch Friday announced he plans to tap into the U.S. Department of Transportation’s just-launched Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program to fund city infrastructure projects.

The Joe Biden administration announced the creation of the Bridge Formula Program Friday as part of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law. Some $49 million of the $5.3 billion being made available to states in 2022 will be allotted to Florida. The program is funded at around $27 billion over the next five years. And unlike previous grant programs that required a 20% match, the Bridge Formula Program offers 100% compensation for bridge programs.

“As one of my top priorities, infrastructure improvement is crucial to improving safety on our local roads and many bridges located in a coastal community,” Welch said in a Friday news release. “I am excited to pursue opportunities for federal funding to help make this vision a reality.”

Welch said improving the city’s infrastructure and climate resiliency is among his top priorities. Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said this program helps with both. In addition to enhancing safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, she said the funding also allows for bridge modernization to harden infrastructure against the effects of sea level rise and climate change.

St. Petersburg has 82 vehicular bridges. Ten are considered a top priority for replacement and repair and two new bridges — one at 40th Avenue and one at Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Booker Creek — are under construction. The cost of repairs to the city’s 10 priority bridges alone is estimated at over $54 million.

“This new funding announcement could not have come at a better time,” St. Pete Transportation Director Evan Mory said. “The additional funding represents an opportunity to help sustain the positive momentum we’ve created with the help of our partners at the FDOT and continue delivering critical infrastructure investments that will serve our residents for generations to come.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the program represents the “single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.” The program will be run by the Federal Highway Administration.


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Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected]

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Report: Justice Sonia Sotomayor Working Remotely Because Gorsuch Refuses to Wear Face Mask in Court

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US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is still working remotely because fellow justice Neil Gorsuch refuses to wear a face mask.

Triple vaxxed Sotomayor, 67, is overweight and has diabetes so she is at high risk for severe illness or death from Covid.

Someone should tell Sotomayor that a face mask is not going to stop her from getting Covid.

NPR reported:

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It was pretty jarring earlier this month when the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court took the bench for the first time since the omicron surge over the holidays. All were now wearing masks. All, that is, except Justice Neil Gorsuch. What’s more, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was not there at all, choosing instead to participate through a microphone setup in her chambers.

Sotomayor has diabetes, a condition that puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death, from COVID-19. She has been the only justice to wear a mask on the bench since last fall when, amid a marked decline in COVID-19 cases, the justices resumed in-person arguments for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

Now, though, the situation had changed with the omicron surge, and according to court sources, Sotomayor did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked. Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices to mask up.

A couple weeks ago Sonia Sotomayor falsely claimed that over 100,000 children are hospitalized and in serious condition because of Covid.

“Many are on ventilators,” Sotomayor said.

This is a lie and the Supreme Court still has not corrected the record.

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Watch: UN Debit Cards Being Given to US-Bound Migrants

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Hundreds of Boat Migrants Reach UK in One Day

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