Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the completion of the Old Tamiami Trail Roadbed Removal Project on August 3 after the it was expected to be finished January 2022.
Old Tamiami Trail is a highway that was built in the early 1900s and spans the Everglades in order to connect Tampa and Miami. This year’s restoration project included the removal of nearly six miles of roadbed from the trail to allow more water to flow south naturally into Everglades National Park.
“Sending more clean water south is essential to furthering Everglades restoration and protecting the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries from harmful discharges,” said DeSantis. He added, “Since day one, my administration has been focused on expediting key Everglades restoration and water quality projects to protect Florida’s natural resources for future generations, and I’m proud of our record-setting progress” (FL Gov).
The crucial work done on the Old Tamiami Trail is a part of the larger Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), which includes the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project. CEPP is aimed at helping to deliver even more clean water from Lake Okeechobee south to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay, and Water Conservation Area 3.
Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez said, “Our administration has been focused on restoring the Everglades for generations of Floridians to enjoy.” She continued, saying, “As a South Floridian, I am proud that we have all come together to recognize how important this is, and I look forward to working with the Water Management District, DEP, FWC, and all of our partners to continue completing these projects at a record pace.”
“Removing the Old Tamiami Trail roadbed is a critical step in helping us restore the flow of freshwater south into the Everglades and Florida Bay, said Eric Eikenberg, President of The Everglades Foundation. “For a long time, Florida held a lot more ground-breakings than ribbon-cuttings. But, under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and the South Florida Water Management District, we have been celebrating project completions that are making a real difference in our environment and our clean water economy.”
Views on the environment often differ by political party, which makes this bipartisan project an important achievement. In February of 2020, Pew Research reported that 64 percent of U.S. adults believe environmental issues should be a top priority for the president and Congress, reflecting a 20 percent increase since 2002. Pew Research also found that 85 percent of Democrats surveyed hold these beliefs, while only 39 percent of Republicans surveyed feel the same.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TWITTER
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