February 12, 2021
Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, ENV SP, LEED AP
President, Chen Moore and Associates
Last week: Last week, the water supply of Oldsmar, Florida, population 15,000, was briefly in jeopardy when a hacker used a remote access program shared by plant workers to briefly increase the amount of lye — sodium hydroxide in the water — by a factor of 100. This wasn’t immediately dangerous (the chemical reaction would have taken over a day) and there are many safety checks in the system to catch water that isn’t of correct quality, but this is another incidence of underfunded infrastructure systems that are vulnerable to age and intrusion. Let’s properly fund these programs before someone gets hurt.
Looking ahead: As budget negotiations build in Tallahassee, trying to close the $6 billion gap between the governor’s first proposal and the legislature’s opening discussions, it will be interesting to see how the differences get addressed. Will Florida, which voted for Trump, get its share of Biden stimulus, which could be $8-$15 billion? Will Florida tap some easy revenue sources, like internet sales tax or finally settling the gambling compact with the Seminole Tribe? Will Florida cut its way to an even budget? All of these options are on the table as we try to keep our economy rolling while preparing for potential future down years.