Miami-Dade County

Feds give $20 million to bridge Everglades

Everglades National Park and the state of Florida will receive $20 million to complete a 2.6-mile stretch of bridge on the Tamiami Trail needed to move freshwater into the parched southern Everglades, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and the National Parks Conservation Association said Tuesday.

Efforts to bridge the Tamiami Trail, which has dammed up the Everglades since it was constructed in 1928, have been under way for nearly a decade, stalled by bureaucracy and disputes between environmentalists and government. In March 2013, the state completed an $81 million section. But the one-mile stretch allows only a fraction of the water needed for the southern Glades.

The $20 million U.S. grant will be added to $90 million pledged by Gov. Rick Scott over the next three years to complete the work. A third stretch has not yet been designed.

“We think this will lead to a groundbreaking this year,” said Cara Capp, Everglades restoration program manager for the conservation association, who applauded efforts by Nelson and other Florida politicians to secure the grant.