Vetoed: These Tampa Bay projects got cut by the governor

Gov. Rick Scott's veto pen scratched these bay area projects from the state budget. Pinellas County, and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, suffered several cuts.
Published March 16, 2018|Updated March 19, 2018

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 BUZZ: Gov. Scott signs $88.7 billion election-year budget with meager veto list

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."

THE BUZZ: Lawmakers took millions from big school districts and steered the money to smaller ones

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."

FROM 2017: 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

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

Pinellas County

• 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

Hillsborough County

• School Sidewalks and Safety Enhancement Project: $2 million

• Orient Road: $2 million

• Coalition for Medicinal Cannabis Research in Moffitt Cancer Center: $150,000

Pasco County

• Morningside Drive Extension in Dade City: $4.7 million

Citrus County

• Historic Hernando School Restoration: $396,400

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the county for the Historic Hernando School Restoration.