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Demings, Nelson announce potential projects for Apopka funded by federal infrastructure bill


So a Democrat and a Republican went to a landfill...

You're probably waiting with anticipation at the butt of this joke, but on Tuesday morning, Democrat Rep. Val Demings of the 10th District, which includes Apopka, and Republican Bryan Nelson, the Mayor of Apopka stood side-by-side at the Golden Gem Landfill to talk about the bipartisan infrastructure bill and how it will help Apopka.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes around $550 billion in new federal investment in America’s roads and bridges, water infrastructure, resilience, internet, and more. These investments will add, on average, around 2 million jobs per year over the course of the decade.

"We're here in Apopka because this community has been working to expand its access to clean safe drinking water," Demings said. "We're also fighting in Congress for federal funding to help build a new water storage tank right here on this site. That's good news. While we're working diligently to get this done, we had a huge bi-partisan victory for Florida last week, and I am proud that we put the community first and came together to fight for workers, fight for jobs, and get central Florida moving again."

Nelson explained his choice of venue for the press conference.

"I thought this was a fitting place to do this press conference because of the construction behind us... and as Congresswoman Demings told you there is some language in the appropriations that will add a couple of tanks for water that we can take out of this pond."

Nelson was referring to the 300-million-gallon reclaimed water pond that sits on the Golden Gem property.

"What this will do is save the precious water in the aquifer for drinking water," he said. "We won't have to use it to irrigate your lawns. Water will come out of these ponds, go to a reclaimed water system and we can use it to irrigate without touching waters in the lower aquifer."

Nelson also referenced other parts of the bill that could improve other areas of Apopka's water and road infrastructure.

"There are also opportunities with this bill for us to put our wells down into the lower aquifer, which is about a $20-million project. With the help of the federal government, we'll be able to put our wells down into the lower aquifer, which will save the upper aquifer for the springs.  It's all about infrastructure. We all have needs. Apopka's got a lot of opportunities for road, water, reclaimed, and wastewater infrastructure. We couldn't do it without the federal government, and Congresswoman Demings has been a great advocate for us here in Apopka in helping us with projects we need, but can't afford. These additional dollars will help us with the growth that's coming to Apopka."

Cate Manley was also impressed with the potential these projects might provide for the community.

"The Apopka Chamber is looking forward to sharing any applicable funding initiatives our local Apopka business members, partners, and citizens, may be eligible for as they are defined and announced from this infrastructure bill," said Manley, the President, and CEO of the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Demings closed the conference with the idea of ideology taking a backseat to hard work and bipartisan efforts in Congress.

“When we invest in middle-class America, when we invest in people who have to go to work every day, America does better," said Demings. "Our communities need this funding now. Democratic and Republican mayors who are clear-eyed know that investing in our supply chain infrastructure can’t wait, jobs can’t wait, repairs can’t wait, fighting climate change can’t wait, and protecting our health and safety can’t wait. The sky is the limit to what we can do when we lay our political differences down, and come together with the community being first, and this morning is a great example of that."

All it took was an early morning trip to a landfill to make a little progress.


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