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Jackie Toledo asks for $26.4M for various Tampa Bay and state projects

That’s more than any of her Tampa Bay colleagues.

Tampa Rep. Jackie Toledo is asking the state for $26.4 million for various state and local projects.

Toledo filed a total of 22 appropriations project requests for the 2020 Legislative Session, more than any other Tampa Bay area representative.

The projects include water quality and environmental plans, education, transportation and public safety.

Here’s a rundown of what the South Tampa Republican is requesting.

— $5 million for Ecosphere Restoration Institute Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Statewide Restoration and Aquaculture program (HB 2141)

The request includes funds from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services for sea grass restoration that is important for the marine ecosystem because the submerged sea grasses serve as a breeding ground for marine life as well as protection to smaller fish and from larger predators. Sea grass beds are also important for water clarity and cleanliness because they absorb excess nutrients in the water like nitrogen and phosphorous. Reducing nutrient pollution could help reduce incidents of red tide.

— $4 million for The Straz Center for the Performing Arts master plan expansions (HB 2163)

The request is for funds from the Department of State for architectural design, planning engineering and early construction for the nonprofit’s facility expansion.

— $2 million for Hillsborough County School Sidewalks and safety enhancements (HB 2887)

Toledo is requesting funds for the Hillsborough County Public Works department for sidewalk improvements to provide additional safety for students walking to and from school.

— $1.5 million for Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority Operations (HB 2483)

The request from the Florida Department of Transportation would fund TBARTA staff, management and oversight and other general operations costs.

— $1.5 million for Monroe County Seagrass Restoration Project (HB 3111

This bill would use Department of Environmental Protection funds for sea grass restoration in the Florida Keys John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Seven Mile Bridge to improve water quality, enhance marine and fish habitats and reduce negative impacts to coral through the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida.

— $1.5 million for a Florida Aquarium Coral Research Laboratory and Visitors Center (HB 3115 )

Funds from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would be used for a 600 square-foot coral research lab, a 1,400 square-foot spawning chamber and 1,100 square-foot visitors center.

— $1.4 million for Social and Emotional Learning: Creating a Community of Care to Support the Whole Child program (HB 2797)

Florida Department of Education funds would go to Hillsborough County Public Schools for preventive programming to help build a positive school climate that aims to increase school safety. It would fund a Social Emotional Learning supervisor salary at $67,229 for three years as well as travel expenses for professional conferences, professional development resources and consultant to develop implementation guideline.

— $1.3 million for a Building a Better Tampa Bay STEM Workforce Initiative (HB 2161)

The Florida Department of Education would fund staff time, technology and supplies and contracted services from STEM professionals and educators to implement STEM programs both in and out of Hillsborough County Public Schools.

— $1.15 million for Tampa Museum of Art, Art on the House education and community outreach (HB 2559)

Under this bill, the Florida Department of Education would help fund remodeling and expanding the current 800 square foot facility at the Tampa Museum of Art to 12,000 square feet as well as provide travel costs to expand the program and a study evaluating the value of art education and interaction on children.

— $1 million for the Hillsborough Community College Fuse Program (HB 3305)

The Florida Department of Education funds would be used to increase educational attainment goals, accelerate college completion in undergraduate programs in key business sectors and increase retention and completion rates.

— $1 million for ZooTampa Panther Medical Habitat Facilities (HB 3307

A request for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission funding for Florida Panthers who are not well enough to be released back into the wild to be housed in an expanded facility at ZooTampa. The zoo currently has just one habitat for Florida Panthers.

— $1 million for a mission focused program for affordable housing for at-risk and foster children and senior citizens (HB 3549)

The funding from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to New Life Village would help pay for seven new buildings on the group’s existing 12-acre property to provide housing for low-income seniors and families who have suffered previous trauma.

— $714,000 for the Education 2 Employment and Preparing People with Disabilities for In-Demand Jobs project (HB 2485)

The bill would provide Florida Department of Education  funding to the MacDonald Training Center for student services personnel and instructional equipment and technology and curriculum.

— $600,000 for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority radio communication upgrades (HB 2601)

The Florida Department of Transportation would fund technology upgrades for HART to improve daily operations and security by enhancing voice quality of radio transmission by leveraging 17 cell towers in the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office network.

— $600,000 to expand the Florida Israel Business Accelerator in Southwest Florida (HB 2723)

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity would provide funds to the Tampa JCC for an executive director salary, a regional business development manager and administrative services and office expenses to expand the business accelerator for businesses within the Jewish community.

— $546,250 for a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team response vehicle (HB 2143)

Funds would come from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

— $500,000 for the Tampa Anita Subdivision Drainage Improvements phase II (HB 3113)

Toledo is requesting funds from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a new drainage system in the city of Tampa neighborhood.

— $300,000 for a Lois Avenue Complete Street Project (HB 3413

Florida Department of Transportation funds would help the city of Tampa pay for a new 12-foot multiuse trail along Lois Avenue from Kennedy Boulevard to  Boy Scout Boulevard as well as several pedestrian crossings along the corridor.

— $250,000 for Vision Health Center at Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research (HB 2661)

The Florida Department of Health funding would pay for vision screeners in schools.

— $207,000 for the Tampa Museum of Art Community Connections Art Education for Alzheimer’s and mental health program (HB 3077)

The Florida Department of Health funding would be paid to the Tampa Museum of Art for mental health outcome improvements.

— $200,000 for the Autism Society of Florida’s Drowning Prevention Scholarship Fund (HB 2067)

Florida Department of Health funds would be used to pay for water safety and swimming instruction to 500 children with autism.

— $150,000 for the Hillsborough County Swimmer Safety Initiative (HB 2165)

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity would provide funding to the Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department for transportation to and from a pool and pay for swim lessons for participating students.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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