As 2021 came to a close, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor released a breakdown of emergency federal investments and assistance delivered to the Tampa Bay community this past year, which was marked by economic hardship and high-budget federal packages.
Castor’s Hillsborough County-based district received $2.9 billion in COVID-19 emergency grants to support small businesses and local nonprofits, including $2.7 billion in Paycheck Protection loans, $74.6 million in Restaurant Revitalization Fund awards and $46.8 million in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants.
“These federal dollars have done exactly what we intended when crafting these aid packages in the Congress — they have helped our local businesses, the heart of our community, keep the lights on and employees paid over the past two years and will continue to aid them in bouncing back in the days ahead,” Castor said in a statement.
Florida’s 14th Congressional District also secured a record $1.9 billion from 779 federal grants intended to create jobs and invest in education and infrastructure. Those awards include an $18 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity grant for Tampa Heights. It also includes a $1.7 million American Rescue Plan Capital Improvements Award for Tampa Family Health Centers and a $6.1 million Head Start Emergency Supplemental grant for Lutheran Services Florida.
“The $1.9 billion in federal grants serve as a lifeline for our hospitals, small businesses, schools, renters and more as they work through ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Castor said. “Through American Rescue Plan federal grants, we have kept children learning safely, met the urgent needs of our Tampa health heroes, allocated funds to connect Tampa and make our roadways safer, and much more. I will continue championing our local partners to ensure that I continue to work to secure federal grants that ensure the health, wellbeing and economic success of our neighbors and greater Tampa Bay community.”
The American Rescue Plan also delivered $206 million in tax cuts for most families with children via the new expanded Child Tax Credit, which helped 86,000 Tampa area families.
“These payments have been lifelines for families across our community, providing food, diapers, clothes and other essentials when they needed it most,” Castor said. “In 2022, I will continue to work with our incredible local and federal partners to ensure that all of our neighbors have the tools they need to succeed.”
Another record $3.4 million was recovered to help veterans, seniors, small businesses and families within CD 14.
“The millions of dollars returned to our neighbors in our Tampa area district is a testament to the dedication and level of expertise with which Team Castor tackles complex cases on a daily basis to ensure that veterans receive the benefits they have earned and to guarantee that Social Security and Medicare are delivered on time to our older neighbors,” Castor said. “Tampa families are facing unique and time-sensitive issues due to the coronavirus, and my team’s top priority remains serving our neighbors with respect and care.”
In a news release detailing her district’s federal aid, Castor applauded her Tampa constituent services team, led by Tery Sanchez since 2002 when Castor was a Hillsborough County Commissioner.
“Team Castor worked tirelessly to cut through red tape and bureaucracy on behalf of families, veterans and neighbors across the Tampa area at a record level in 2021,” Castor said.