Florida commits $1.25 billion to restoration of the Everglades
The Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, has launched a plan to spend $1.25 billion of state resources over the next 10 years to save the Everglades.
The US Government must pay for half of the $8 billion restoration project, while the remainder must come from State Government resources plus other funds generated in South Florida.
Bush’s plan commits the State of Florida to paying more than $100 million annually to the restoration project. This will be matched by an additional $100 million from South Florida resources – a total of $200 million each year.
The new plan will allow Florida to fully fund its share of total project costs without having to sell bonds, an issue that has caused problems in earlier negotiations.
The plan includes $75 million of general revenue funds per year (with the exception of the first year, where $25 million of that commitment will come from a non-recurring source). A further $25 million will be devoted to the Everglades from the state’s new Florida Forever programme. In addition, Everglades land acquisition projects will continue to be funded at between $15 – $23 million per year, while accrued interest earnings of $82 million over 10 years will be added to the pot.
An Everglades Restoration Reserve Fund will be established to make the state’s commitment legally binding. As part of his Everglades funding plan announcement, Governor Bush again called for the establishment of a new partnership with the federal government with mutually binding obligations.