Big budget deficits have brought some hard reality to the idealistic plan for the state to purchase 181,000 acres of U.S. Sugar’s land in a bid to restore the river of grass from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades.
Some sources say the original $1.75 billion price tag set in June is out of bounds given current budget restraints. Reporting by the Miami Herald suggests that negotiations are now underway between Governor Crist and U.S. Sugar to reduce the size and cost of the land deal. The sources suggest the state is now looking at purchasing no more than approximately 75,000 acres of U.S. Sugar land at a price of around $500 million.
A spokesperson for U.S. Sugar confirmed that discussions were underway with the state, but gave no details.