Gov. Rick Scott left nearly $69 million of this year’s state budget on the cutting room floor, but various projects throughout Pasco and Hillsborough counties were given a reprieve.
In signing the budget Monday, Scott and the state Legislature has earmarked a little more than $234 million for local projects, primarily road construction projects that affect the Veterans Expressway, State Road 54 and Interstate 75. However, it also puts in place $37.8 million for Pasco-Hernando State College, including $10 million needed for a performing arts center.
“This budget includes historic funding levels for K-12, state colleges and universities in Florida,” Scott said in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner. ” We have remained focused on equipping Florida’s education system with the resources necessary to provide every student a world-class education.”
The biggest allocation to this region is $60.9 million planned for the widening of Veterans Expressway between Sugarwood Mainline Plaza to Van Dyke Road. It’s part of an overall widening and reconstruction project of the Veterans, which includes eliminating cash tolls along the route that connects the Tampa Bay region with counties to the north like Pasco, Hernando and Citrus.
The area’s other sizable road project is State Road 54 from Curley to Morris Bridge roads, which will cost just under $27 million. That joins a separate State Road 54 project from east of the Suncoast Parkway to Land O’ Lakes Boulevard that will come in just shy of $18 million.
Pasco County administrator Michele Baker said the 2014 Legislative session was a good one for the county.
“Pasco County sis a growing county, and we will continue to have additional needs as we grow and provide valuable services to our residents in the coming years,” she said, in a release. “We still have needs for additional roads and improvements to existing roads, and cultural needs so our citizens can enhance the quality of life as more people are expected to move here in the coming years.”
Local projects earning funding in this year’s budget include:
• Veterans Expressway widening project between Sugarwood Mainline Plaza to Van Dyke Road — $60.9 million
• Workforce Development — $30.5 million
• Pasco-Hernando State College — $27.8 million
• State Road 54 construction project from Curley Road to Morris Bridge Road — $26.8 million
• State Road 54 construction project from east of Suncoast Parkway to west of U.S. 41 — $17.9 million
• U.S. 301 construction project from State Road 39 to south of County Road 54 — $16.6 million
• Pasco-Hernando State College performing arts education center — $10 million
• Interstate 75 construction project north of State Road 54 to north of State Road 52 — $8 million
• State Road 56 resurfacing project west of Interstate 75 to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard — $5.6 million
• Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Surface Transportation Program — $5 million
• Bruce B. Downs Boulevard construction project from Pebble Creek Drive to County Line Road — $4.6 million
• Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Public Transit Block Grant Program — $4.3 million
• U.S. 301 resurfacing project from north of Geiger Road to north of Kossik Road — $3.1 million
• State Road 52 construction project from Bellamy Brothers Boulevard to East of Old Pasco Road — $2.7 million
• Water projects — $2.7 million
• State Road 52 resurfacing project east of Smith Road to west of Center Avenue — $2.4 million
• State Road 54 resurfacing project east of Lake Crystal Boulevard to West of Flint Street — $2.1 million
• State Road 52 resurfacing project from east of U.S. 41 to west of Bellamy Brothers Boulevard — $1.2 million
• County Road 54 construction project from U.S. 301 to Wire Road — $1 million
• Metropolitan Ministries Pasco Housing Initiative — $1 million
Other funding includes $50,000 for Lighthouse for the Blind, $250,000 for Memory Mobile, $874,500 for Nurse-Family Partnerships, $60 million for Florida NCI Cancer Centers, $2.8 million for community-based care, $5 million for Family Intensive Treatment teams, $300,000 for substance abuse, $150,000 for veterans crisis intervention, and $250,000 for Ready4Work Reentry Program.
The performing arts center at PHSC was one of nearly $120 million in budget “turkeys” recently identified by Florida TaxWatch. It was the only Pasco County project to make the list.
-Updated 6/3/14 to include statement from Pasco County administrator Michele Baker.