Friday, 02 February 2007 00:00
Congressman Mack's RoundtableWritten by WGCU Newsroom
South Florida lawmakers say the federal government needs to put its money where its mouth is. Members of southwest Florida’s legislative delegation said as much in a meeting with Republican Congressman Connie Mack the Fourth today in Fort Myers.
Although topics included insurance and transportation concerns…the lack of funding for the multi-billion dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was the lawmakers’ primary focus.
Passed by congress nearly 7 years ago – funding for the restoration plan was supposed to be a 50-50 split between the feds and the state. Since then Florida’s spent more than 2-billion dollars…the federal government, only about a quarter billion.
Congressman Mack says there’s clearly a problem…
“The federal government said we will pay for half. And the federal government has not. And I serve on the subcommittee that oversees it and we push and we push and we push, but when it gets to the final product the appropriators then decide well, we’re going to fund these programs, but we’re not going to fund these. So the federal government has let us down as far as that’s concerned.”
Congressman Mack says he’s hopeful the lack of funding can be overcome – but that unfortunately there’s no guarantee.
He says it’s crucial that Florida’s state and federal lawmakers speak with one voice on this bipartisan issue.
Congressman Connie Mack the Fourth – a Fort Myers Republican – met with state lawmakers from around southwest Florida today at Florida Gulf Coast University to get input on which issues need more federal attention.
The group talked about insurance and transportation…but the conversation wound up focusing on the lack of federal funding for Everglades Restoration.
Democratic State Senator Dave Aronberg says the basic message he wants Congressman Mack to take back to Washington…live up to your promises!
“You know the federal government in past few years has done great by special interests. Well let’s have the people win once in a while. In this case the people have been promised federal funds for Everglades cleanup, and the federal government as not delivered. And that’s been my biggest frustration with the federal government. And to Congressman Mack’s credit he came here to look us in the eye and tell us that help is on the way, and I believe him. And I think that he and the Democrats in Congress can do what’s right…and not just do what’s right by the special interests this time.”
Passed by Congress in 2000 – the multi-billion dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is supposed to be a 50-50 funding split between the state and federal government. But while Florida’s already spent more than 2-billion-dollars…the feds have only come up with about 250 million.