TALLAHASSEE – Governor Scott today announced that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently issued a permit to the Department of Interior’s National Park Service, Everglades National Park, for the construction of 2.6 miles of bridging and road raising along the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) in Miami-Dade County. The project will deconstruct a section of the Tamiami Trail and replace it with a bridge so that water north of the road may flow into the Everglades, providing needed water to the Everglades National Park. This project will result in enhanced movement of water south from Lake Okeechobee.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Restoring the Florida Everglades and protecting Florida’s natural treasures is incredibly important to protect the natural beauty of our state. The Tamiami Trail project will help move more water south from Lake Okeechobee which directly benefits the Everglades, as well as the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries. On top of completing critical projects, we have proposed a dedicated source of revenue that will provide more than $5 billion for Everglades restoration over the next 20 years. This funding will ensure that future generations of Floridians can enjoy our state’s natural beauty.”
The Tamiami Trail currently inhibits water flowing south into Everglades National Park. By constructing bridges, water will be able to flow more naturally to the Park.
DEP Secretary Jon Steverson said, “This is a huge step forward in our efforts to restore the Everglades. Moving water south through the Everglades is critical for wildlife, and keeping it out of the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries is vital to protecting these important waterbodies.”
The total cost of the 2.6 mile Bridge Phase of the project is estimated to be $144 million. Governor Scott has committed up to $30 million/year over three years or $90 million total for this project.
In addition to long term investments, the department is working with the South Florida Water Management District and local partners to take aggressive action on both coasts to improve the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water in Florida.
Governor Rick Scott’s 2015-2016 “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget provides a total of $150 million for Everglades restoration, including $20 million for Kissimmee River restoration. The “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget also creates a dedicated source of revenue for Everglades restoration that provides more than $670 million for ecosystem restoration over the next four years and more than $5 billion over the next 20 years. This means that during the Governor’s second term alone, South Florida’s families will know the state has the ability to fund its share of the restoration of the Kissimmee River and the construction of the C-43 and C-44 reservoirs – projects that will provide almost 100 billion gallons of storage to protect Florida estuaries.