Barge canal historic 2

This historical photo shows the section of the Cross Florida Barge Canal along U.S. 19.

• May 1933: Canal Authority of the State of Florida was created to construct and maintain a deep-water ship canal across Florida.

• July 1942: Congress authorized construction of the Cross Florida Barge Canal.

• February 1964: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction.

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• Jan. 19, 1971: President Richard Nixon signed an executive order suspending further work on the canal. When halted, the project was one-third complete and about $74 million had been spent on land acquisition and construction.

• 1979: Bills filed in Congress to deauthorize the canal failed to pass.

• May 22, 1990: A revised federal bill was filed in the U.S. Senate by Senators Bob Graham and Connie Mack providing, among other things, for a minimum 300-yard wide greenway corridor to be maintained along the former Barge Canal route. This bill was agreed to by the entire Florida Congressional delegation.

• May 31, 1990: The Florida Legislature enacted a deauthorization bill conforming to the consensus bill filed in the U.S. Senate. Most of the provisions were not effective until Congress deauthorized the project.

• Oct. 27, 1990: Senate Bill 2740 was passed by Congress and sent to the president for signature. The bill deauthorized the Cross Florida Barge Canal project upon acceptance by the governor and state cabinet.

• Nov. 28, 1990: President George Bush signed State bill 2740 into law deauthorizing the Cross Florida Barge Canal project and changing the purpose of the lands to recreation and conservation.

• Jan. 22, 1991: The governor and cabinet signed a resolution agreeing to the terms of the federal bill, which officially deauthorized the Cross Florida Barge Canal project. This action ultimately led to the creation of the Cross Florida Greenway State Recreation and Conservation Area.

• 1998: The Cross Florida Greenway was officially renamed the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in honor of Marjorie Harris Carr, who led the fight to stop the Cross Florida Barge Canal project.

— Source: Wikipedia

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or To see more of his stories, visit