Florida Governor Pushes Plan to Expedite Okeechobee Dike
Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) on Oct. 30 proposed to add $50 million in next year’s budget to accelerate completion of the repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee. The current budget includes $50 million for dike repairs. Scott’s announcement adds momentum to the project following President Donald Trump’s Oct. 26 instruction to the Office of Management and Budget to accelerate the work. Underway since 2001, the rehabilitation is more than a decade away from completion, according to the White House, but Scott hopes to finish it by 2022. The estimate for the remaining work is $800 million, meaning the accelerated schedule would require about $200 million per year, more than double the annual expenditure to date. Congress has not yet authorized or appropriated the funds. The lake’s first dike was built around 1915. Designed for flood control, wildlife protection and water quality, it has been destroyed by storms and expanded and replaced periodically.