As a coastal state with thousands of acres of wetlands, Florida maintains a precarious balance of infrastructure and natural environment. On July 28th, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022 passes with plentiful provisions for Florida. The bill provides both infrastructure improvements to Florida waterways and re-nourishes prominent ecosystems. Senator Rick Scott (R) and Senator Marco Rubio (R) both fought to ensure that all of these provisions pass through and receive funding.
Summarily, the Water Resources Development Act is a biannual outline of civilian projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The latest 2022 version is easily the most ambitious yet, and Florida will definitely benefit. One prominent example is a $920 million dredging of Port Everglades. This will deepen and widen the harbor to accommodate larger cargo ships. Additionally, Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) projects for Monroe, Okaloosa, and Pinellas Counties, along with the Keys, will be renewed. Third, a restudy of the Comprehensive Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Flood Control Project has received reauthorization.
Projects to maintain Florida's natural environment are certainly no slouches either. The first is improving flexibility for cost-sharing with the U.S. Army Corps regarding the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP). This would not only maintain the integrity of the CERP's balance sheet, but that the federal government pays its fair share and mitigate delays. Secondly, the other major reform fully reauthorizes projects to re-nourish Florida's beaches, the Lake Okeechobee watershed, and the Western Everglades.
In his press release after its passage, Senator Scott describes the WRDA as "the product of years of fighting... to ensure that our state is treated fairly." Scott adds that "The 2022 WRDA secures big wins for Florida’s environment and businesses."
Senator Rubio offers additional comments. "These are important projects that will restore the Everglades, improve coastal storm resilience, and improve Florida’s ports." Rubio offers his appreciation to his colleagues and vows that he "will continue to fight for Florida throughout the conference process."