During the 2014 session, the Florida Legislature made tremendous strides in the ongoing effort to protect and restore America’s Everglades. The Legislature increased overall funding to $169 million – more than double the previous year’s funding for water quality improvements and restoration. In addition, $90 million was approved to begin construction on 2.6 miles of bridges for Tamiami Trail – which will increase the flow of water into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
This historic commitment of $259 million is a critical investment in our economy and environment. In addition to creating and maintaining Florida jobs, this appropriation recognizes the need to protect our rivers and estuaries, America’s Everglades, and the water supply of nearly 8 million Floridians and millions of visitors.
Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, Senate Appropriations Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and House Appropriations Chairman Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, demonstrated strong leadership and a deep understanding of the critical need to move forward. They should be applauded for listening to the people who live and work along the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers and estuaries who suffered economic hardship because of last year’s dumping of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee.
We look forward to Gov. Rick Scott signing this budget and applaud him for his continuing leadership. Gov. Scott and this Legislature have set a pace that brings us significantly closer to the moment when Floridians can proudly say we have restored America’s Everglades.
Brian E. Crowley
ImMEDIAcy Public Relations