WASHINGTON — Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that President Donald Trump has promised the federal government will provide the money to help the state fully upgrade the Herbert Hoover Dike by 2022, a project considered vital to stemming disruptive overflows from Lake Okeechobee.
At the White House for a veterans’ bill signing ceremony, Scott said he got a verbal commitment from the president that Florida would get enough money to finish the project within five years. “I asked the president if he would commit to put up the funding to fix the dike and he said he would,” the governor told reporters later in the day about his discussions with the president, a close political ally.
If the state legislature approves Scott’s request for $200 million in this year’s budget to upgrade the dike, the federal share would presumably be around $600 million to meet the 2022 target.
Scott believes the repairs will allow the lake to hold more water, thereby reducing the need for discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, which have suffered from contaminated run-off and algae blooms in recent years.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said: “I’m glad the president supports the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike and plans to include $200 million towards this effort in his fiscal year 2018 budget. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will work closely with my colleagues to ensure Florida has the resources it needs to complete this important infrastructure project that is essential to protecting the environment and keeping area residents safe.”