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Rubio Opposes Kendall Parkway Project Until Everglades Protection is Guaranteed
Miami, FL— Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced on NBC 6 Miami his objections to the Kendall Parkway expressway in light of the upcoming project review. Rubio released the following statement on the proposed roadway project:
“One of the reasons why I decided to run for re-election in 2016 was to continue the momentum of recent years on Everglades Restoration. As a lifelong resident of Miami-Dade County, I know the residents of West Kendall need a solution to their traffic woes. But a solution to this problem cannot come at the expense of Everglades restoration. Therefore, I intend to ask all relevant federal agencies to oppose the proposed roadway project until it is aligned as far east as feasible and includes provisions that will guarantee an effective and enduring ‘West Kendall Everglades Buffer’ that prevents rather than encourages additional development in the project area.”
Background on Rubio’s Everglades Efforts
- In July, Rubio called the delays in the Army Corp’s new Everglades restoration schedule “unacceptable.”
- Following his June request, Rubio welcomed an announcement by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that it had approved the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Post-Authorization Change Report (PACR), allowing Congress to consider authorizing construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges to coastal communities.
- In June, the Senate passed a Rubio measure that reasserts the original intention for Everglades restoration efforts to redirect Lake Okeechobee discharges towards the Central Everglades. Rubio also secured key funding that enhances water quality and seagrass monitoring to assess the impact of discharges, and protected the Interior Department’s Everglades restoration budget from unjustified cuts.
- In May, Rubio secured a provision expediting design work on critical reservoirs to collect and clean Lake Okeechobee discharges and local runoff before release into the St. Lucie River and ultimately into the Indian River Lagoon. Rubio also secured funding in the Senate FY19 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill for critical Everglades restoration projects administered by the Army Corps.
- In March, Rubio urged the Army Corps to support Florida water projects and led the South Florida delegation in urging to expedite its review of CEPP’s Post-Authorization Change Report (PACR) submitted by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Rubio also urged the Army Corps to work with SFWMD to study, design, and construct a new flood and storm damage reduction project that addresses seepage and flood risks along the boundary of the eastern Everglades in Miami-Dade County.
- In February, Rubio urged the Army Corps of Engineers to use supplemental disaster funding to complete work on the Herbert Hoover Dike. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rubio was able to secure Lake Okeechobee relief funding in the disaster supplemental. Rubio raised inclusion of the EAA Storage Reservoir as his top priority for the 2018 WRDA bill to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
- In January, Rubio requested assistance from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to expedite critical Everglades restoration work. Rubio also outlined his support for the Strazzulla Marsh-Snail Farm land exchange to the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.
- South Florida leaders have commended Rubio’s leadership and work to restore the Everglades and improve the quality of Florida’s waterways.
- In 2016, Rubio’s efforts ultimately convinced former Senate Environment & Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe to support CEPP. Following the Senate’s passage of WRDA in September 2016, and Rubio urging key House and Senate committee leaders of both parties to retain important Florida projects in the final version of the bill, CEPP authorization was ultimately signed into law as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (Public Law 114-322).