Budget includes $4 billion for SWFL hurricane relief

Flooding caused by Hurricane Ian. The new Florida budget includes $4 billion for relief efforts in Southwest Florida. COURTESY PHOTO

Florida’s new budget includes $75.2 million for bridge repairs in Lee County and $17.6 million for Lee County schools as part of over $4 billion earmarked for hurricane recovery and relief in Southwest Florida and other communities hard hit by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole and severe storms in 2022.

The record $116.5 billion budget also funds $350 million in grant recovery programs and provides $1.735 billion in new hurricane money for emergency preparedness, beach renourishment projects and grants to single-family property owners improving their home’s storm resiliency.

State lawmakers representing Southwest Florida said the money will provide much-needed financial and infrastructure assistance to families, businesses and governments facing the long road to recovery since Ian’s Sept. 28 landfall. The Category 5 hurricane caused nearly $113 billion in damage — the nation’s third costliest storm on record and the most expensive in Florida, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The new money plus funding…

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