Florida officials are accelerating several public works projects to advance restoration of the Everglades, generate as many as 4,000 immediate job opportunities, and strengthen the local economy particularly in the state's rural areas, where unemployment rates can reach as high as 23 percent.
The Everglades Agricultural Area project, for example, a 22 square mile, $480 million reservoir, will take four years and approximately 350 workers to build. And that's just construction workers. The count doesn't include the engineers, designers, scientists, architects, and staff support assembled to build what will be the largest earthen water reservoir in the nation, and perhaps the world.
Same thing with new reservoir in Hendry County: 135 jobs. An impoundment in Broward County: 185 jobs. A canal in Dade County: 110 jobs. The list goes on, all the way to 4,000 job opportunities.
"Our goal is to hire and employ as many people as we can from the 'Glades community," Bob Ainslie, a construction director at Parsons, the firm managing the EAA project, told me in an interview today.
Similiarly, Great Lakes restoration will involve heavy labor along miles of sewer line, riverbanks, and shoreline. And, considering job creation is a top priority across the greater Great Lakes, one wonders when the region's governors, legislators, and economic development official will seize on the plan to restore the Great Lakes as a key component of their economic restructuring plans? So far, the connection hasn't been made.