TALLAHASSEE — The modest veto list hit Pinellas County a bit more often than most of Tampa Bay's other counties, as several projects were rejected for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus.
But USF St. Petersburg spokesman Matt Cimitile said that, overall, the college was grateful for the investment in higher education this year by the singing of SB4, which requires the USF System to consolidate its campuses into one university — but also provides more funding for the school as its performance metrics climb.
The top priority for Hillsborough County, $5 million for improvements to Big Bend Road, survived Gov. Rick Scott's veto pen. So did $885,000 for a special needs shelter for the New Tampa Cultural Arts Center.
But Scott vetoed a $2 million request to build sidewalks in parts of Hillsborough where courtesy bus service is ending, and he axed another $2 million for Orient Road.
Overall, though, "we came out very well," said Brandon Wagner, head of legislative affairs for Hillsborough County. "Certainly an improvement over last year."
Elsewhere in Pinellas, a $1 million project to reconstruct Rosery Road in the city of Largo was vetoed, as was $500,000 for a museum dedicated to the American arts and crafts movement in downtown St. Petersburg.
A project to renovate Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, a priority for disgraced former state senator Jack Latvala, was also vetoed. Latvala had resigned in December while facing allegations that he sexually harassed and grope several women, a public corruption investigation and possible expulsion.
A major education project for state Rep. Wengay Newton, D-St. Petersburg, called HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) stayed intact. It will provide about $4 million for parents to educate their 3 to 5-year-olds to read a book before they go to kindergarten.
In other notable vetoes, the governor also vetoed $270,000 to buy the Florida Quilt Museum in Gilchrist County.
And in a blast from the past, Scott vetoed $1.5 million for a proposal to extend the Suncoast Parkway north to the Georgia state line as a hurricane evacuation route. Scott said in his veto message that the study could be done without additional funds. Still, the state is pushing ahead with a controversial expansion of the toll road into Citrus County, which critics have called the "road to nowhere."
Here's the list of Tampa Bay projects that were vetoed:
USF St. Petersburg
• Paraprofessionals Receiving Program: $400,000
• Family Study Center: $300,000
• Greenhouse Project: $72,500
• Rosery Road NE Reconstruction, City of Largo: $1 million
• Mount Zion Early Education Pilot Program: $934,000
• American Craftsman Museum: $500,000
• Ruth Eckerd Hall expansion campaign: $500,000
• Great Explorations Children's Museum: $200,000
• School Sidewalks and Safety Enhancement Project: $2 million
• Orient Road: $2 million
• Coalition for Medicinal Cannabis Research in Moffitt Cancer Center: $150,000
• Morningside Drive Extension in Dade City: $4.7 million
• Historic Hernando School Restoration: $396,400
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the county for the Historic Hernando School Restoration.