Scott pitches dike repairs to Trump


Gov. Rick Scott said he spoke with President Donald Trump on Wednesday about the importance of completing repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.

On Monday, Scott asked state lawmakers to add $200 million to the budget to help speed the federal government's ongoing repairs.

"President Trump is clearly focused on protecting Florida's environment and investing in our infrastructure, and I want to thank him for partnering with us to solve the water issues around Lake Okeechobee by fixing the dike," Scott said in a prepared statement.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers currently anticipates that a $1.7 billion project to reinforce the dike could be completed by 2025.

Scott wants the dike repairs completed by 2022 to help with Everglades restoration efforts.

The issue also has become linked to a high-profile proposal by Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

Water from the lake would be moved south into the reservoir instead of going into estuaries east and west of the lake.

House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, told reporters Wednesday that Scott's funding request may be difficult to meet at this point in the budget process.

Scott was in Washington, D.C. to appear with Trump at the signing of the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act.