Scott, Corcoran tout Lake Okeechobee dike money in West Palm


Florida Gov. Rick Scott, in Palm Beach County Tuesday to highlight the state’s $83 billion budget, saluted President Donald Trump as a “partner” in efforts to accelerate repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.

Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O’Lakes, recently transformed from fiscal foes to budget buddies, stopped by the South Florida Water Management District headquarters, west of West Palm Beach, during a five-city tour to “celebrate” the 2017-18 budget, which lawmakers approved in a special session last week after months of disagreement.

RELATED: Read The Post’s Florida Legislature coverage

Scott drew particular attention to $50 million in the budget that he hopes will “jump start” a $930 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to complete repairs of the earthen dike around Lake Okeechobee by 2025. Scott, who wants the dike projects done three years sooner, said he hopes the $50 million and any future state expenditures will be reimbursed by the federal government.

“Under President Obama I kept asking for help with the dike and we didn’t get anywhere,” Scott told reporters at the South Florida Water Management District headquarters in unincorporated West Palm Beach. “President Trump has committed to being a partner. He’s going to make sure we get that dike finished. My goal is to get the dike finished by 2022.”

Asked how Florida will get reimbursed, Scott said, “We’re still working through how that would happen.”

Scott said Florida has made similar arrangements with the Corps for a Port of Miami dredging project and a project in Jacksonville.

“We have to take care of our state. This is part of our state. It might be a federal project, but the dike’s important to everybody, especially in this part of the state,” Scott said.

Scott said part-time Palm Beach resident Trump understands the importance of Lake Okeechobee.

“I sat down with President Trump and I let him know the importance of the dike and he had some knowledge of the dike because he’s been down here in Palm Beach,” Scott said. “And so he is committed to making sure we get that done. Now, every dollar adds to, accelerates it. My goal is to get it done by 2022. In his case, he’s going to work through Congress getting it done. I’m going to continue to work through the speaker and the Senate to have funding every year to get this done.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the nature of Trump’s commitment to Lake Okeechobee.

Scott and Corcoran visited Miami earlier Tuesday and were scheduled to visit Fort Myers, Tampa and Jacksonville later in the day to promote the budget. Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, couldn’t make the tour because he and other Senate Republicans were attending a previously scheduled fundraising retreat in California.

Corcoran disparaged business incentives favored by Scott as “corporate welfare,” but ended up agreeing to $85 million in incentive money after the program was changed to benefit public projects rather than specific private businesses. Corcoran also relented on tourist-promotion money after saying he was satisfied that additional accountability safeguards were added in. Corcoran also agreed with Scott on a higher level of public school funding than he and legislators originally approved.

Many Tallahassee insiders speculate that Corcoran agreed to some of Scott’s spending priorities in exchange for the governor’s agreement to sign a Corcoran-backed education bill (HB 7069) that promotes charter schools.

Both Corcoran and Scott said Tuesday that no deal was struck. Scott said he is still “reviewing” the education bill before deciding whether to sign or veto it.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Trump says he's coming to Florida 'very soon'
Trump says he's coming to Florida 'very soon'

In a phone call to Hillsborough County Republicans attending a fundraising event Saturday night, President Trump told Attorney General Pam Bondi that he'll be coming to Tampa for a special event "very soon."  Bondi held her cellphone up to the mic at the podium during the Lincoln Day Dinner, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The...
Trump returning to Florida ‘very soon’ — a look at past visits from Pensacola to Key West
Trump returning to Florida ‘very soon’ — a look at past visits from Pensacola to Key West

President Donald Trump will be descending the stairs from Air Force One in Florida “very soon.” (Michael Ares / The Palm Beach Post) President Donald Trump — who didn’t make it to the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day dinner at Mar-a-Lago in March &mdash...
Texas school shooting: Alcee Hastings blasts Republicans, other pols weigh in
Texas school shooting: Alcee Hastings blasts Republicans, other pols weigh in

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach. U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, quickly pointed to Republican opposition to gun control after this morning’s shooting at a high school near Houston, Texas. Preliminary reports say at least eight people were killed in the shooting. “Watching yet another school shooting...
Clearing the clutter key for pleasing residents post-hurricane
Clearing the clutter key for pleasing residents post-hurricane

After the storm moved through, after life and limb had been accounted for, debris removal topped the list of priorities for residents, said officials from counties hit hard last year by Hurricane Irma. In a lessons learned session Thursday at the 32nd annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, officials...
GL Homes revives plans for large housing project near The Acreage
GL Homes revives plans for large housing project near The Acreage

GL Homes has dusted off plans for a large-scale housing project west of The Acreage, reviving concerns about snarled traffic and over-development in the semi-rural area northwest of Royal Palm Beach. The developer initially won county approval for its plan to build 3,900 homes on the 4,900-acre Indian Trails Grove tract it owns west of 180th Avenue...
More Stories