Florida Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried promoted false information in a political attack related to Governor DeSantis’s support for $80 million in infrastructure funds allocated to South Florida projects.

Fried, who recently compared DeSantis to Adolf Hitler, is currently facing fundraising challenges in a race against U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

DeSantis recently announced more than $80 million in awards to South Florida communities through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program. DeSantis noted that the funding received through the grant program will enhance community infrastructure, support the environment, and mitigate damage from future storms.

In response to a tweet criticizing DeSantis for taking credit for the disbursement of funds from Biden’s Infrastructure bill which DeSantis did not support, Nikki Fried replied, “Of course he is. Such a fraud.”

However, the DeSantis press release noted the South Florida funds were not related to Biden’s infrastructure bill. The press release stated that “Rebuild Florida is administered by DEO and allows local governments to develop large-scale infrastructure projects that aid communities in making them more resilient against future disasters. Rebuild Florida uses federal funding for Florida’s long-term recovery efforts from the devastating impacts of natural disasters.”

In addition, a Jacksonville, Florida reporter, Melissa Ross, noted after the DeSantis announcement that DeSantis did not support Biden’s infrastructure bill.

DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw responded, “Journalist isn’t correcting her tweet from yesterday, though she has acknowledged it was misleading to imply @GovRonDeSantis announcement was about Biden funds. Also, Melissa doesn’t seem to know what “long-term recovery” is. Look into the Rebuild Florida program before tweeting.”

Pushaw added that the funding was appropriated during the Trump Admin, to assist Florida with recovery from Hurricane Irma.

Communities receiving funding are:

  • City of Miami ($19,859,977)– to support flooding and right-of-way improvements including improved stormwater inlets and pipes and a new stormwater pump station in the Southwest Wynwood area.
  • City of Miami ($18,477,439)- for flood improvements in East Little Havana to relieve repetitive flooding due to stormwater accumulation.
  • Broward County ($16,676,000)- to replace the existing non-functional and insufficient stormwater infrastructure and add new green infrastructure for stormwater drainage..
  • City of Hallandale Beach ($14,879,219)- million to the City of Hallandale Beach for sewer system modernization.
  • City of Opa-Locka ($7,000,000)- for complete renovation of the 127th Ave Canal, including expanding the depth of the canal and stabilizing the bank on both sides to enhance community flood protection.
  • City of North Lauderdale ($3,285,000)- to fund a new stormwater pump station facility adjacent to the C-14 canal to mitigate the impacts of heavy rainfall and tidal events on the regional drainage system and C-14 canal.

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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nikki Fried” by Nikki Fried and Ron DeSantis by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.