Rep. Castor Announces Selection of Community Priority Projects Including Skills Training for Good-Paying Jobs, Boosting Medical Research, and Lower Cost Clean Energy

 Today, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (FL14) voted to invest local economic drivers and to lower costs for Tampa area families with a package of six appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2023. This package will increase funding for affordable housing initiatives, create good-paying local jobs and support veterans.

“My top priorities for Tampa Bay area families are lowering costs, strengthening our schools and colleges, improving our infrastructure, and boosting veterans and military families. This package tackles the most urgent challenges facing our nation, including increasing the supply of affordable housing, combating the climate crisis and caring for our heroic veterans. With our neighbors in mind, the Democratic House took another strong step today in our fight to advance health, opportunity and security for all.

“Tampa residents are being pinched by the hot housing and rental market, and Democrats are pressing to ensure that our communities remain accessible and affordable for those who call Tampa home. With this goal in mind, we prioritized affordable housing in this package, including funds for rental assistance for over 2.3 million homes, expanded housing assistance for low-income families, more funding designated to build new affordable housing and improvements for existing communities.

“In direct response to some of Tampa’s most localized needs and projects, I’m proud to announce that seven of the community priority grants that I championed are included in this minibus. That means that we are one step closer to ensuring Floridians and visitors safely get where they need to go while using our growing public transit system, expanding local food assistance, and investing in skilled trades training to expand good-paying jobs and apprenticeships. The Tampa community is blessed with volunteers and organizations who are working to creatively and compassionately solve problems, and I am proud to partner with them to get these initiatives over the finish lines.

“It is my hope that the House and Senate can come together to send these critical funding bills to President Biden’s desk before October. Please know that I will continue our fight to create jobs, grow paychecks and bring down kitchen table costs.”

This government funding package will secure critical investments in a range of key priorities for Tampa Bay residents:

  • Boosting Affordable Housing by improving existing developments, creating new units in communities across Florida and expanding housing assistance for low-income individuals.
  • Creating Good-Paying Jobs by upgrading Florida’s roads, bridges, public transit, rail, airports and water infrastructure.
  • Combating the Climate Crisis by expanding renewable energy, strengthening local resilience against extreme weather and spurring new, innovative technology.
  • Bolstering Floridians’ Health and Economic Security by investing in federal nutrition programs, local small businesses, stronger consumer protection and expanded affordable housing.
  • Honoring Our Servicemembers by investing in VA health care, military housing, child care for military families and mental health services.

The seven community priority grants included in this package are listed below in alphabetical order*:

African American Arts and Cultural Center – Hillsborough County 

  • This project would provide funding for professional services and pre-construction activities for the new African American Arts and Cultural Center in West Tampa—a multidisciplinary space for arts experiences, educational enhancement, and community engagement that will further economic development in the area. 
  • Committee approved amount: $1,000,000 

Feeding Tampa Bay Solar/Wind Energy Efficiency Program – Feeding America Tampa Bay, Incorporated  

  • This project would enhance energy efficiency and achieve sustainability for a new cold storage facility at an organization that services more than one million Floridians facing food insecurity, helping to save money and save food in our area. 
  • Committee approved amount: $2,258,992 

HART Bus Stops Improvements Project – Hillsborough Transit Authority 

  • This project would make improvements to approximately 285 bus stops in Hillsborough County to address equity, safety, and accessibility issues and bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 
  • Committee approved amount: $5,000,000 

Housing and Neighborhood Assessment Project – Hillsborough County 

  • This project would improve the quality of life, increase economic opportunities, and increase property values for over 26,000 residents in Progress Village and Palm River that are faced with the safety hazards of living in densely populated areas that are dependent on septic.
  • Committee approved amount: $1,920,000 

LatinTech Accelerator – Tampa Bay Wave, Inc.  

  • This project would remove barriers for some of the most under-represented entrepreneurs, filling a critical gap in Tampa’s local startup ecosystem, and making a lasting impact on the regional economy. 
  • Committee approved amount: $500,000 

Skills Center Collaborative – Skills Center, Inc. 

  • This project would help with the completion of an opportunity center for low-income youth, with the goals of on-time grade promotion, high school graduation, and preparation for life after high school for every program participant. 
  • Committee approved amount: $3,000,000 

Water Facilities Hydroelectric & Solar Project – the City of Tampa 

  • The project would provide for further clean hydroelectric power generation at the Hillsborough River Reservoir Dam and enhance energy recovery at the Water Department’s remote pump station.  
  • Committee approved amount: $2,000,000 

*15 of Rep. Castor’s community priorities were included at the committee level.  The remaining 8 approved by committee will soon be considered in legislation on the House floor.

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