WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman David W. Jolly called on members of the U.S. House April 9 to support the Senate version of the recently-passed Water Resources Reform and Development Act that would extend the federal authorization of the 50-year ongoing renourishment project in Treasure Island.
“Like many of the infrastructure projects Congress takes on, our nation has made a long-term investment in the safety and prosperity of our Pinellas community through this project, and similar projects up and down the coastline,” Jolly said in a press release. “Stable beaches protect public and private infrastructure along our coastline, and the communities that call them home. Beach renourishment provides a flood buffer, which is vital for protecting both lives and property during severe storms and hurricanes.”
Beach nourishment funding in Pinellas County also provides for the district’s economy by ensuring Pinellas beaches remain a sought-after destination for visitors from around the world.
Tourism is one of Florida’s most important economic drivers, with an estimated 38.4 million out-of-state visitors heading to Florida beaches each year. For a county that is surrounded by water, and a state with more beach visitors than all of the U.S. National Parks combined, allowing Florida coastlines to deteriorate would translate into jobs and revenue lost, as well as economic uncertainty.
“The Senate version of the Water Resources Reform and Development allowed for reauthorization of beach renourishment projects and it is my hope that the House will support the Senate’s effort in this regard as they work toward an agreement in the Conference Committee,” Jolly continued. “A major driver of the Florida economy is tourism. In Pinellas County alone, tourism officials estimate that visitors bring a $7.3 billion economic impact annually - our community simply cannot afford to have our beaches deteriorate from coastal erosion.”
The benefits of well-protected coastlines extend far beyond Pinellas County and the state of Florida. When it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program for example, which benefits the entire nation, Florida remains a major donor, in part due to the security provided by the ongoing beach construction program.
“Just as Congress supports national infrastructure projects in other regions, like maintaining ports and waterways and flood control along rivers and streams, we need Congress to make sure that our country’s 50-year investment in our Pinellas coastal community remains protected,” Congressman Jolly said.