The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to pay the last $60 million to complete the elevation of the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades.
Tamiami Trail is a nickname for US 41, one of two thoroughfares that cross the Everglades to connect Miami with Southwest Florida. With federal funding for the highway in place, the Florida Department of Transportation will now begin its plan to elevate through the crucial parts of the Everglades that will now allow more water to flow south as it did for millions of years before the arrival of man in Florida.
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., has been pushing for this funding for more than a year.
“Moving a much greater amount of water south—mimicking the natural water flow—is critically important for our environment, health, safety and economy. This project will see huge benefits to restore the Everglades and prevent harmful discharges,” Mast said.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., was quick to applaud funds as well and he thanked President Donald Trump for his efforts.
“As governor, I fought to fund the Tamiami Trail Modification Next Step Phase I and championed significant funding for the Everglades, Florida’s springs, beaches and state parks. That included more than $2 billion to restore the Everglades and South Florida’s ecosystem. I would like to thank President Trump and DOT Secretary Elaine Chao for building on our efforts by awarding the $60 million I requested for this vital project. I look forward to continuing this strong federal-state partnership to finish the Tamiami Trail and continue our mission to preserve Florida’s historic Everglades National Park,” Scott said.
The funding will be paired with $40 million passed by the Florida Legislature this year. Gov. Ron DeSantis is not expected to veto the funding since he recommended it in his budget.
Cara Capp, the Everglades Restoration Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, called the funds a tremendous victory 30 years in the making.
“Florida’s waters are continually in crisis and sending clean water south is the best way to safeguard the future of the Everglades, which supplies water to over eight million Floridians. The completion of the Tamiami Trail project will benefit our children and grandchildren and serves as a testimony to successful state and federal partnerships in the name of completing critical restoration projects and restoring an iconic national park,” Capp said.
The $100 million in state and federal money will be used to elevate 6.5 miles of the highway as part of Phase II of the Tamiami Trail restoration project. The news comes just as the $90 million Phase I of the project is wrapping up, and work is expected to start on this next phase this year.
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org