Jackie Toledo’s funding requests survived the Governor’s veto pen
Photo via Florida House.

Jackie Toledo on House floor
$5.4 million still in the budget is for Toledo-sponsored projects.

While a lot of attention is centered on what Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed Friday in his first Florida budget, Tampa state Rep. Jackie Toledo is celebrating what wasn’t.

Of the state’s nearly $91 billion 2019-20 budget that will take effect July 1, $5.4 million is for Tampa Bay area projects that Toledo sponsored.

“I commend the Governor for his leadership and prioritizing Florida’s unique needs in this year’s state budget,” Toledo said.  

“I am excited Tampa Bay is a significant recipient of state funding, from transportation to the environment, the projects funded represent a significant investment into our region.”

Toledo’s biggest budget victory was securing $2.5 million for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority. That’s $1 million more than the agency originally requested.

It’s the first time the agency has received substantial funding since the Florida Legislature voted to overhaul the agency from a transportation group that provided limited services included a vanpool into a regional planning entity tasked with working across county lines and lead on transit initiatives.

Of the total funding, about $1.5 million will go toward staff, administration and operations. The remaining $1 million will allow TBARTA to begin working on its mission.

The Legislature reprioritized TBARTA’s mission to include a broader focus on regional transit.

Those funds can be used for things like feasibility studies for alternative transit options. St. Petersburg state Sen. Jeff Brandes, who sponsored the appropriations request for the agency in the Senate, had in mind things like hyperloop, a technology developed by Elon Musk.

Toledo also secured $1 million for crisis stabilization unit beds for mental health treatment as well as $500,000 each for the Florida Holicaust Museum in St. Petersburg for security enhancements and for the Florida Aquarium’s Coral Green House.

She also sponsored funding requests the Governor approved providing $400,000 for a Florida Israeli Business Accelerator, $350,000 for the Anita Subdivision in Tampa for flood mitigation and $200,000 for ZooTampa’s Panther habitat and medical facility.

“The $1 million allocation for Crisis Stabilization Unit beds in Hillsborough County will save taxpayers many more dollars later on by keeping those in need of care out of hospitals and our judicial system,” Toledo said. “I will continue to advocate for mental health services in Hillsborough County as the population grows and needs of our residents change.”

Toledo also played a key role in securing $12.4 million in the state budget to complete the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute in downtown Tampa.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


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