Contractors, engineers call on Scott to keep 'Everglades jobs'
A coalition of engineers, contractors and other construction business executives appealed to Gov. Rick Scott today to help keep and create jobs by investing in Everglades restoration.
In a letter to Scott, Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon, the contractors warned Republican leaders that more budget cuts would mean less work for Floridians.
Under former Gov. Jeb Bush, Everglades restoration reached $200 million annually. Since then, spending has dropped 75 percent. Scott's budget would cut it down to $17 million.
The Everglades Foundation, which organized a conference call with reporters and business executives today, released a poll earlier this month that showed most voters opposed further cuts.
Here's the letter to Scott:
March 29, 2011
Governor Rick Scott, The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-000
Dear Governor Scott:
Please support continued state funding of Everglades restoration. Not only do these projects protect a source of drinking water for one in three Floridians, improve our water quality and restore one of Florida’s most precious ecosystems --- they also create quality private-sector jobs in the state of Florida. Throughout Florida, there are private-sector employees planning, designing and building the individual projects that restore the Everglades. The efforts of these hard-working men and women will help secure Florida’s supply of water and help rebuild our economy.
We write to you as a group of businesses working on the restoration of the Everglades. Continued state funding of Everglades restoration will help ensure that the federal government stands by its commitment to fund these important projects and will allow construction to move forward. The Everglades stand at a crossroads. With large land acquisition projects completed, Florida is poised to reap the benefits from the construction of key restoration projects -- projects that we proudly help design and build.
Funding for Everglades restoration has been reduced from a one-time level of $200 million and has already been subject to disproportionate budget reductions over the last few years. Cuts to funding could mean a loss of jobs.
This legislative session, please continue to stand by Florida’s commitment to the Everglades. Know that continued funding for these projects is invested in private businesses, like ours, that will help make the goals of this great effort a reality.
Wendy Cyriacks, president, Cyriacks Environmental Consulting, Delray Beach
Juan Vazquez, vice president, RJ Behar & Co., Inc., Pembroke Pines
Terry Flanagan, vice president, HNTB Corp., Jacksonville
Terrance Hull, president, Taylor Engineering, Jacksonville
Gene Eichelberger, project manager, Palm Beach Grading, Lake Park
David Lickiter, senior project manager, UESI/Underwater Engineering Services, Inc.
Mary Goldsmith, business development manager, PBS&J, Jacksonville
Katherine Garces Worth, president, Worth Contracting, Inc.
David Quinn, co-owner, Quinn Contracting, Inc., West Falkner, Mississippi
George Powell, vice president, Wright Construction Group, Fort Myers