Florida Considers Abandoning Roads and Homes to Rising Seas


The Miami Herald reports that Monroe County Florida is considering abandoning low lying roads in the Florida Keys that will be extremely expensive to continually raise above the encroaching sea.

While this might seem like a mostly local problem, it really brings home the cost of global warming–something that many dismiss as a problem for the distant future that will mostly affect other people. It comes more into focus if it costs Florida taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, a cost that will rise exponentially along with the sea level.

The county has 314 miles of road to care for — or choose to abandon. Half of them are susceptible to sea rise in the next 20 years. The cost to keep them dry has county government officials openly questioning whether the math is worth it.

“Are we really going to spend $128 million to elevate three miles of road where 30 people live? It’s not up to me, but I don’t think so,” said Rhonda Haag, Monroe County’s head of resilience.

In cases where the costs of flood-proofing the roads overcome the benefit of keeping communities dry, Monroe officials said, the answer is buying out homes.

It hardly needs to be mentioned that Florida is the largest swing state and much of the population lives on low lying coastal land.

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