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Governor Wants Rush Of Federal Funds For Lake Okeechobee Dike Repair

Oct 20, 2017
Originally published on October 20, 2017 11:57 am

The water level in Lake Okeechobee appears to have stabilized.

Rainwater from Hurricane Irma has pushed the lake over an alarming 17 feet. It's risen more than 3 feet since the storm, the highest the lake level has been since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. That prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct daily inspections of the lake’s 80-year-old dike.

The Corps has been working to reinforce the eroded Herbert Hoover Dike for a decade. The $1.7 billion project is scheduled to take another eight years.

But Florida Gov. Rick Scott is hoping to cut that down to five.

“My goal is that the project would be finished by 2022,” said Scott.

But funding for the federal project is allocated by Congress and the president.

So far, the Corps has been getting between $50 million to $150 million a year for the renovation. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman John Campbell said speeding up the project would take an increase in funding.

“[It would take] roughly $200 million a year for four consecutive years,” Campbell said.

Gov. Scott said he has a commitment from President Trump to fully fund the dike repairs.

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