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Rubio: Biden Administration Shortchanges Florida Infrastructure

Jan 19, 2022 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement regarding the Biden Administration’s decision to shortchange Florida infrastructure funding in newly released allocations. Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced $1.098 billion in construction funding for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, which falls far short of the $1.5 billion Rubio and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), along with bipartisan members of the Florida congressional delegation, requested in December 2021. 
“No one should be surprised that President Joe Biden is shortchanging Florida,” Rubio said. “His administration turned its back on Florida from the very beginning. It started with rationing critical life-saving medical treatments and sending illegal immigrants to our cities, and now it comes in the form of inadequate funding for a bipartisan priority.”
“Of particular concern, the Army Corps did not allocate a single dollar for the construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir,” Rubio continued. “The EAA Reservoir is the single most important Everglades restoration project for reducing harmful discharges and sending more water south, and delays are mounting under President Biden’s control of the Army Corps.”
“I will continue to work with my colleagues — Republicans and Democrats alike — to expedite the completion of Everglades restoration and make sure Florida taxpayers are not sending their dollars to vanity projects in other states,” Rubio concluded.
Additional Background: 
Rubio “has become the national park’s most vigorous champion in the Senate,” the New York Times editorial board wrote in March 2021. 
“Senator Rubio has spearheaded a number of actions that have helped to limit the impacts of the state’s algal bloom epidemic,” the American Conservation Coalition wrote in 2018. 
“Throughout his entire tenure in the U.S. Senate, Rubio has been a fierce advocate for Everglades restoration and investment in water infrastructure projects … [He] is leading the fight to reduce the impacts of algal blooms on Florida’s citizens, wildlife, and economy.” 
Thanks to Senator Marco Rubio’s efforts, Everglades restoration is finally making real progress after decades of delay.   
In 2016, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, then chairman of a critical Senate committee, wrote in the Miami Herald that his opposition to federal funding for Everglades restoration “has since changed, largely in part to my friend and colleague Sen. Marco Rubio.”
Rubio has used every tool at his disposal to secure approval for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP). Rubio was also able to pass congressional authorization to modify CEPP and construct the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges to coastal communities, as well as improve water supply to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Rubio has secured funding for critical Everglades restoration projects. In 2019, Rubio secured $200 million in fiscal year (FY) 2020 federal appropriations for Everglades restoration. Working with President Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and the Florida Congressional Delegation, Rubio ensured the President’s FY 2021 budget contained a record $250 million request for Everglades restoration, and Rubio delivered on the appropriations. Working with key stakeholders, Rubio then urged President Biden to include $725 million for Everglades restoration efforts in his forthcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget.
Audubon Florida gave a “special thank you” to Rubio for his “strong commitment to Everglades restoration” and honored him with Audubon’s 2019 Champion of the Everglades Award. 

  • On December 8, 2021, Rubio sent a letter to United States Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall urging him to discontinue consideration of a proposed joint use agreement (JUA) to allow civil aviation operations at Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB) in Homestead, Florida.
  • On December 7, 2021, Rubio urged the Army Corps of Engineers “all proposed and ongoing projects in Florida receive full and fair consideration of their value to local communities, our state, and our nation.”
  • On November 19, 2021, Rubio celebrated the ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the completion of the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area Project,
  • On November 15, 2021, Rubio’s Op-Ed with Miami-Dade County Mayor Cava highlighted the importance of preserving the bird drive basin and lands near Homestead for the Biscayne Bay and Southeastern Everglades Ecosystem Restoration project.
  • On September 27, 2021, Rubio applauded the construction contract for the federal portion of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir.
  • On August 5, 2021, Rubio filed an amendment to the $1 trillion Infrastructure Bill to secure $5 billion for Everglades restoration.
  • On May 25, 2021, Rubio criticized President Biden for failing to meet Everglades funding request.
  • On March 4, 2021, Rubio led the Florida Delegation in urging President Biden to request $725 million for Everglades restoration in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget.
  • On December 22, 2020, Rubio secured $250 million for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration, other critical funding for the Central Everglades Planning Project, in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 omnibus appropriations bill. 
  • On December 22, 2020, Rubio’s legislation to combat invasive species in the Everglades passed Congress.
  • On December 14, 2020, Rubio’s op-ed highlighted the progress of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
  • On December 9, 2020, Rubio praised the House passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and urged the Senate to move swiftly in approving the measure. Rubio secured numerous key provisions in WRDA, including funding for critical U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects related to Everglades restoration, beach renourishment, flood control, and environmental protection.
  • On October 1, 2020, Rubio applauded the announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District that it had awarded four construction contracts, totaling more than $81 million, for ecosystem restoration in South Florida. 
  • On May 15, 2020, Rubio criticized a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would delay critical work on the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir.
  • On May 7, 2020, Rubio released a statement after the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) unanimously approved the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA 2020). 
  • On May 6, 2020, Rubio introduced the Suppressing Looming Invasive Threats Harming Everglades Restoration (SLITHER) Act, which authorizes and directs the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force to develop innovative technologies and approaches to identify, target, and eliminate invasive animal and plant species that threaten Everglades restoration.
  • On February 11, 2020, Rubio’s op-ed highlighted Everglades restoration funding in President Trump’s proposed budget.
  • On February 10, 2020, Rubio praised the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2020 Work Plan, which included significant funding for Florida water projects.
  • On February 6, 2020, Rubio applauded President Trump for including $250 million for Everglades restoration in the 2021 budget request.
  • On December 19, 2019, Rubio secured the full $200 million for Everglades restoration in the appropriations bills that fund the federal government through Fiscal Year 2020.
  • On October 31, 2019, Rubio secured critical federal funding for continued progress on Everglades restoration projects, coral disease research and response, Harmful Algal Blooms, water quality, wildlife, infrastructure, and the Space Coast. 
  • On October 23, 2019, Rubio and Representative Brian Mast (R-FL-18) urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir project delays.
  • On October 7, 2019, Rubio urged Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to support the expedited completion of the Tamiami Trail Next Steps project.
  • On September 12, 2019, Rubio secured critical funding for Everglades restoration, the full $200 million in President Trump’s updated budget request, in the FY2020 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
  • On June 25, 2019, Rubio led a bipartisan group of his Florida colleagues in urging Assistant Secretary of the Army—Civil Works R.D. James to re-study the aging flood control system created as a result of the Central and Southern Florida (C&SF) Project. 
  • On June 21, 2019, Rubio and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) highlighted the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) announcement that $60 million will be awarded to the State of Florida to raise the unbridged sections of the Tamiami Trail.