Would a President Jeb Bush finally finish what he started as Gov. Jeb Bush? In a blueprint for how he would manage federal lands, Bush says he would "expedite funding, studies and permitting for water infrastructure, especially water storage projects."
Water storage is key to Everglades restoration and this year became the center of a bitter fight over how the state should spend - or not spend - millions approved by voters to buy sensitive land.
As governor in 2000, Bush helped broker a massive deal with President Bill Clinton to help fix Florida's ailing marshes. The plan, now expected to cost $10 billion, remains mired in politics and bureaucracy. The Everglades is still waiting.
In his blueprint, Bush points to the deal as a shining example of the kind of collaboration he would deploy as president.
"I secured a full and equal partnership with the federal government in restoring the Everglades," Bush writes. "It is the world’s largest intergovernmental watershed restoration effort and the most ambitious ecosystem restoration effort in history. I brought stakeholders, businesses and conservationists together with state and federal agencies, forging a fair and equal coalition to ensure the Everglades would be conserved for generations to come."
The state and feds were supposed to split costs 50-50. But according to its last update, the National Academy of Sciences reported that when budget cuts forced Florida to fall behind on its share, the feds also scaled back spending. This year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded two contracts to begin restoring the Kissimmee River basin and just this month began field tests on pumping water into Everglades National Park. But that's a small fraction of the 60 projects covered by the plan.