For years, Palm Beach County, Florida, has invested in beautifying roads throughout the region. Their planning organizations would normally set aside more than $400,000 every year for these jobs. They love their landscapes. So people were shocked by a new state policy limiting how much can be spent on landscape projects.
This year, state legislators said that the Florida Department of Transportation can only spend 1.5 percent of their construction funding on landscaping. To comply, several projects planned to improve roads were eliminated. The few that are left have to involve major gateways and corridors but can’t include items such as shrubs, flowers, or ground cover.
The city of Boca Raton lost $800,000 of state funding toward improving the landscape of Glades Road and Interstate 95. They are hoping to get it back by designated the project as a "gateway".
Riviera Beach has also had to cut back on their efforts to improve State Road 710. Originally, they had planned to have irrigation, ground cover, and St. Augustine sod. Now they have to settle for Bahia sod without irrigation. Riviera Beach’s city manager sent a letter to FDOT officials expressing "profound concern" for the new design and asked for the state's cooperation to ensure a more "aesthetically appealing" project.
Both Boca Raton and Riviera Beach have offered to pay to enhance the landscape and maintenance of their respective towns.