Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) has said that she has “rallied” members of the South Florida delegation to ask for more than $50 million in the next fiscal year to build a new federal courthouse in Ft. Lauderdale. She cites safety concerns and the high cost of maintaining the current courthouse.
Wasserman Schultz writes that the local U.S. District Court is one of the largest in the country and that the existing structure needs $20 million in repairs to function appropriately in a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
As part of the South Florida delegation, I recently advocated for $55 million to be included in the FY 23 government funding bill to construct a new federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
The current federal courthouse, which has been used for 40 years, is both hazardous and expensive.
Mold, constant roof leaks, flooding, a lack of usable space, and a $20 million repair backlog are just some of the issues plaguing the structure.
If we don’t take immediate action, we’ll lose over a year and a half on the project.
The deadline for the current design-build proposals is December 31st, 2022.
She and other Florida Democrats warned that if the bids were allowed to expire, the updated recommendations would represent substantially higher increases in the cost of labor.
This courthouse serves a population of more than one million Floridians, and it hears more than 10,000 civil cases each year.
After consulting with her South Florida colleagues, Wasserman Schultz adds, “GSA has advised that a $55 million appropriation in the FY23 omnibus is the agency’s preferred funding path and would allow the agency to award the construction contract before the bids expire.”
The GSA has released paperwork detailing its specific budget requirements.
As stated in the letter, we cannot afford to waste any more time on this project or taxpayer money on repairing a broken asset.
Members of Congress Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), and Representative-elect Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) all joined Wasserman Schultz in signing the letter.
Passing a financing bill before the end of the year to allow for initiatives like these for our communities depends on Republicans joining us at the bargaining table.
For more community-beneficial projects like this to be completed before the end of the year, Wasserman Schultz urged Republicans to join Democrats in negotiations.
Source: The Floridian