Florida communities prepare for sea level rise, potential costs to local economy
Imagine: $16 billion of local coastal property permanently underwater, including up to 30,000 homes. Property tax rolls slashed by more than $250 million. Tens of thousands of coastal jobs displaced or lost, cutting upwards of $161 billion from the Tampa Bay regional economy. Waterfront parks and infrastructure washed away or made obsolete.
“It’s a statement of the problem,” explains Brady Smith, a planner at the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. “One could say the problem is sea level rise. What does that mean, exactly? What are our vulnerabilities?”
“The Cost of Doing Nothing,” a study released earlier this year by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, paints a striking economic portrait of how rising sea levels might transform the area’s economy by 2060 if Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee county communities fail to take more measures to reduce their flood risk.
The idea behind the report? To equip local communities with a more tangible understanding of what may be at stake as seas rise.