MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The city of Miami is bracing for huge costs related to sea level rise. Some will come down the road, but the mayor is ready to spend a lot of money now.
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado is worried about sea level rise in his city and his newest proposed budget out Wednesday is evidence of that.
He's wants commissioners to vote yes and voters to pay for $192 million in spending on sea rise and flood prevention.
"I say three cheers for Mayor Regalado. It is time to put the money behind the ideas," said Caroline Lewis, a climate change expert.
Lewis with a panel of others met at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens Tuesday night.
The same day Miami administrators believe they'll eventually need $900 million to pay for all the drainage, road elevation and flooding pumps.
"What would you say to all the voters who don't want to fund something they don't believe in," CBS4's Vanessa Borge asked Lewis.
"I would say to every voter the role of a public figure is to be a public servant and this is in the public interests," Lewis responded.
They held the sea level rise meeting at Vizcaya – celebrating 100 years this year – because this ocean front property is literally on the front lines of the issue.
Miami Beach has already taken on the sea level issue.
"Where flooding use to occur we don't see flooding there anymore because there's areas where they are raising roads so transportation corridors are not interrupted," said Tiffany Troxler of FIU Solution Center.
And it's those kinds of projects that this group hopes more cities fund and execute.
"We have these great plans but we don't have the funding to implement them," Troxler said.
So will the iconic barge stay a beacon of beauty on our coast or a sunken ship under rising sea levels?
City leaders and communities are already making efforts to ensure Vizcaya and South Florida stay above the water. We'll see if voters agree.
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