Historic Commitment for Additional Bridging on Tamiami Trail Vital for Restoring America’s Everglades

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   August 28, 2013
Contact:   Alison Zemanski Heis, Senior Media Relations Manager National Parks Conservation Association, P: 202.454.3332 or C: 202.384.8762


Historic Commitment for Additional Bridging on Tamiami Trail Vital for Restoring America’s Everglades

Statement By: Theresa Pierno, Acting President for the National Parks Conservation Association

“We are thrilled with today’s announcement by Governor Rick Scott to join the efforts of our federal partners to guarantee that the next phase of bridging on Tamiami Trail is funded in a timely manner.  Recognizing the successful return on investment that Everglades restoration provides for the state, today Governor Scott committed $90 million over three years for the additional bridging on Tamiami Trail, a top priority for restoring America’s Everglades.  We applaud the leadership of Governor Scott, the Obama Administration, including Interior Secretary Jewell and National Park Service Director Jarvis, for their strong support to complete another 2.6 miles of additional bridging on Tamiami Trail.
   
“Historically, Tamiami Trail has obstructed freshwater flow into the Everglades since its construction in 1928, acting like a dam and blocking critical water flows back to its natural path, south to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.  After 20 years, the first one-mile bridge on Tamiami Trail was completed earlier this year and the additional 2.6 mile bridge is the next vital step to restoring water flows and distribution that marine wildlife, fisheries and nesting colonies of birds rely on, including the endangered Everglades Snail Kite and the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow. Additionally, bridging Tamiami Trail will increase the capacity to move more water from Lake Okeechobee through the central Everglades, thus reducing the devastating water flows that are killing the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, fueling red tides, and wasting billions of gallons of freshwater.

“America’s Everglades is a tremendous economic generator for the state.  Over the last four years, Everglades restoration projects have generated more than 10,500 jobs in Florida with more than 442,000 jobs expected to be created over the next several decades in tourism, real estate and commercial and recreational fishing. Everglades National Park alone generates more than $146,000 million in visitor spending each year and every dollar invested in the National Park Service generates $10 in economic activity.

“We celebrate today’s announcement and the commitment from Florida and federal partners to fund the next phase of Tamiami Trail, bringing us closer to the approved full 6.5 miles of bridging. When Congress returns from their August recess, they must pass a budget that contains $30 million for Tamiami Trail Next Steps as proposed by President Obama’s FY2014 budget. Elevating Tamiami Trail is vital to protect critical habitat, restore historic water flows into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, and ensure America’s Everglades will be preserved for future generations.”

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