October 30, 2017
Scott wants $50M to speed up Lake O dike repairs
By: Drew Wilson
Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that he will ask lawmakers to include $50 million to fast-track repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee in the 2018-19 state budget.
In a Monday press release Scott thanked President Donald Trump for his “commitment to accelerating critical repairs” to the dike but said Trump green-lighting a sped up repair schedule wasn’t enough on its own.
“While this partnership is game-changing, we cannot stop there,” Scott said. “These repairs are a priority and that’s why I’m proposing $50 million in state funding to help expedite the project.”
Scott announced the dike money to a Clewiston crowd including House Speaker Richard Corcoran Monday, and both Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron said they were on board with the plan.
“None of what we announced today would’ve been possible without the heavy lifting and tireless effort of Governor Scott,” Corcoran said. “The fruits of this investment will mean safety and security for the community surrounding the Lake, as well as averting potential environmental dangers. And I’m proud to stand with the governor today and will do all I can to help him hold Washington’s feet to the fire.”
Negron thanked Scott for his “leadership” on the issue and plugged his own signature proposal to expand water storage south of Lake O.
“I look forward to working with him again this session on these important issues to ensure we have an effective state and federal partnership that leads to the elimination of harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee,” he said.
Legislators will consider the proposal when crafting the state budget during the 2018 Legislative Session, which will start in January.
Scott’s environmental budget, released last week, will also include $355 million for Everglades restoration, $50 million for land preservation fund Florida Forever as well as budget bumps for state springs, beaches and parks.