Could Growing Cost Threaten Everglades' Restoration?
Five years ago Congress approved a massive, four-decade-long program that was designed to restore the health of the Florida Everglades. But now inflation and project changes are pushing the price tag of that project ever higher, to $10.5 billion, and there's growing concern over how Congress might react to that news.
The cost of the project has been something of a moving target. When the restoration work was initially proposed seven years ago it was projected to cost $7.5 billion. Then the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bumped the price to $7.8 billion, and then to $8.4 billion.
Now the Palm Beach Post reports that inflation and changes in the plan have pushed the cost up again, to $10.5 billion. And, the newspaper notes, that number doesn't include the costs of cleaning up pollution in the Everglades or Lake Okeechobee.
While John Adornato, who oversees the project for the National Parks Conservation Association, believes the federal government remains staunchly behind the project, the Palm Beach Post has obtained an internal memo from the corps of engineers in which one of the project's managers in Washington says "cost growth is a huge issue" for Congress.