Thursday, May 24, 2007

Crist Uses Veto Pen to Cut $459,167,584 from Budget: $4,780,000 from Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties

Gov. Charlie Crist used his line item veto pen to cut a record number of projects from the budget. The total of $459,167,584 beat the previous record set by Gov. Jeb Bush by about $10 million.

In that total list of projects (available here), I identified $4,780,000 for projects directly benefitting Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, i.e., not including statewide projects.

While it is always disappointing to see budget items removed that would have benefitted one's home area, including $150,000 for a restoration project for Dunedin's railroad station, I was particularly disappointed to see improved transportation infrastructure take a bit of blow.

Gov. Crist recently signed legislation creating the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority. Legislators agreed to set aside $1 million for the authority to carry out its mission of developing and implementing plans to improve the transportation infrastructure in the greater Tampa Bay area.

Well, one cannot help but notice that exactly $1 million for said Authority was cut by Crist.

While I have mixed feelings about the Authority and am concerned that we could see more toll roads appear, I also know that was need improved transportation infrastructure, including commuter rail, if Tampa Bay is to avoid becoming an Atlanta/Los Angeles-esque traffic nightmare.


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