South Florida Water Infrastructure Priorities Clear House Panel
House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Passes Water Resources Development Act; bill heads to vote by full House
Today, Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22), a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, announced that the committee authorized several local water infrastructure priorities as part of the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA). Among these are the Port Everglades expansion project and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP).
“This major bipartisan bill will boost South Florida’s economy and protect one of its most precious natural treasures,” Frankel said. “Port Everglades is a major economic engine and the Everglades provides drinking water to 9 million Floridians.”
Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world and among the most active cargo ports in the United States. Port Everglades must deepen and expand to remain competitive as larger and heavier freight ships travel the waterways. The expansion, expected to be finished by 2022, would create an estimated 4,700 construction jobs and 1,500 local permanent direct jobs.
CEPP is a $2 billion collection of projects that, together, will direct more water south to the central Everglades, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, and get water flowing in its natural direction. Everglades restoration will have a major positive impact on Florida’s environment and economy. Over the next 50 years, restoration is estimated to create over 440,000 jobs and increase real estate value by over $16 billion. It will also boost the region’s water quality, natural habitats and open spaces, fishing industries, and tourism.
WRDA authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed on important water infrastructure projects all over the country. Next, the Port Everglades expansion project and CEPP can seek federal funds through the President’s budget and Congressional appropriations process. Once the projects receive funding and are included in the Army Corps’ work plan for that fiscal year, they can break ground.