Jay Collins wants to bring home 286 million pieces of bacon

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His requests would fund everything from public safety and workforce development to feeding those in need, boosting workforce housing and improving local infrastructure.

Sen. Jay Collins, who represents the Tampa-based Senate District 14, has filed more than 60 appropriations requests this Legislative Session, representing more than $286 million in funding for local projects.

Collins’ requests span a variety of different priorities, causes and projects, from road improvements and health care programs to higher education and feeding the area’s hungry.

His top ask is $50 million for an Interstate 4 “intercity passenger rail” improvement. For those uninitiated to the I-4 corridor, there isn’t any rail.

Collins’ appropriation request seeks to change that.

“It is in the strategic interest of the state and the traveling public to extend passenger rail from Orlando to Tampa,” the request (LFIR 2147) reads.

“Incorporating a modest scope of additional structure work into the Moving Florida Forward program enables the future implementation of an intercity passenger rail within the corridor and will minimize future disruption to traffic while optimizing the cost of infrastructure within this critical transportation corridor.”

The Moving Florida Forward program is an infrastructure initiative of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) approved in the 2023 Legislative Session to advance construction on critical infrastructure projects throughout the state. The Legislature dedicated $4 billion to the program.

The requested funds would “allow construction to proceed concurrent with the I-4 US 27-Osceola Parkway project to achieve simultaneous completion of highway and structure scope within the project corridor, minimizing the disruption to the traveling public,” according to the request. It adds that the funds “and improvements will be used to attract federal and private funds to accelerate a passenger rail connection from Tampa to Orlando.”

Collins’ next biggest ask also relates to transportation with a $35 million request for the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit authority. That request (LFIR 2360) to help fund a new Heavy Maintenance facility for the agency, which “will serve as a leverage to draw down additional federal and local funds for the project.” Collins also notes in his request that the facility would serve “as emergency fueling for FDOT, the County, Tampa International Airport, and other first responders.”

The request anticipates more than $5 million in federal matching funds and $3,5 million each from the state and local governments.

Collins is also requesting $30 million for a project well outside of his district, for a Florida State University Veterans Legacy Complex.

The proposed facility would be more than 56,000 square-feet and would “consolidate and amplify Florida State’s military-related initiatives into a distinct, synergistic, and inspirational facility for education, research, leadership training, and support services.” The request offers as examples of FSU’s military-related initiatives its Student Veterans Center, Army & Air Force ROTC and the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience.

The project received $10 million in the current fiscal year budget.

Collins is also requesting $25 million for a Tampa General Hospital-backed workforce housing development.

The project would provide approximately 160 units, including one, two and three bedroom apartments, for those earning between 80% and 120% of the area median income, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development puts at $89,400. Priority for units would be given to those who work for Tampa General Hospital or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, including USF Health. The development would also include space for childcare services and other amenities standard in modern multi-family living complexes.

The requested funds would be used for the architectural design, civil engineering, planning, permitting and construction of the project.

Collins has four requests for $10 million, including for a Tampa Museum of Art expansion project; a veterans, military families and first responder services complex at the University of South Florida; a surface water treatment plant expansion design report for Tampa Bay Water; and for genetic research and equipment for USF Health.

Collins also seeks $8 million for three projects: a digital dome and theater at the Museum of Science and Industry; the Florida Institute for National Security program at the University of Florida (not in the district); and hardening at the Northwest Regional Reclaimed Water Facility in north Hillsborough County to construct a 15,000 square-foot Category 5 hurricane-rated facility for critical personnel.

Other appropriations requests from Collins include:

$5.5 million for cybersecurity improvements at Hillsborough County Public Schools.

$5 million for a training center for wounded veterans with wrap-around services to aid in speedy recovery and reintegration.

$5 million to restore Centro Asturiano de Tampa.

$4 million for Florida’s cattle industry “to expand uses of beef and beef products.”

$3 million to expand Gracepoint Behavioral Health Hospital, a 32-bed women’s behavioral health facility, to 64 beds.

$3 million for the city of Tampa to improve Harbor Island access.

$3 million for a psilocybin study testing efficacy among veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.

$2.95 million for workforce development in high school classrooms.

$2.5 million to renovate an ACTS building built in 1966 in Hillsborough County that is used for psychiatric care.

$2.5 million to renovate another ACTS building in Hillsborough used as a therapeutic group home for children with serious mental illness.

$2.5 million to establish curriculum as part of a “Leadership in Crisis Recognition and Intervention” graduate certificate program for law enforcement at the University of South Florida’s College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.

$2.01 million for Feeding Tampa Bay.

$2 million for Home Base Florida to expand access to PTSD and other needed treatments for veterans.

$2 million for the Ronald McDonald House St. Joseph’s Hospital expansion.

$2 million for military hearing protection.

$2 million to expand the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Digital Forensic Center of Excellence, which trains state, local and federal agencies to combat human trafficking, respond to fentanyl overdoses and deploy disaster recovery.

$2 million for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis — spinal cord and traumatic brain injury research.

$2 million for the city of Tampa to improve access to MacDill Air Force Base.

$2 million for the city of Tampa for a flooding relief project.

$1.99 million to expand Feeding Tampa Bay’s fleet.

$1.59 million for the statewide expansion of the Hope Line for First Responders.

$1.5 million for the Little Manatee River-South Fork Bridge Project in Hillsborough County.

$1.44 million for Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s hurricane ready operations.

$1.38 million to expand current training for veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses through CareerSource Tampa Bay.

$1.35 million for venous and lymphatic medicine training through the USF Morsani College of Medicine, which would create the first medical education program of its kind in Florida.

$1.23 million for the No More Foundation to expand human trafficking programs.

$1.25 million to expand agricultural education in Florida.

$1.2 million for the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital-Chronic Complex Clinic.

$1.2 million for the city of Tampa for Gray Street resurfacing and multimodal improvements.

$1 million for Building Homes for Heroes.

$1 million for a critical infrastructure mapping pilot program.

$1 million for the city of Tampa for Ballast Point neighborhood resurfacing.

$1 million for a grant program to establish mobile veterans’ service units in five counties to provide care to veterans in rural or under-served areas.

$900,000 for Focus Forward to enhance services for young people with developmental disabilities.

$800,000 for the Hillsborough County Intensive Family Service Team.

$750,000 for West Tampa Fire Rescue State upgrades.

$700,000 for financial literacy education and tools for K-12 teachers and students.

$693,742 for the Phoenix House Florida to establish an 85-bed residential program in Hillsborough County near the Orient Rd. jail.

$600,000 for F3 Foundation Funding to help find missing kids.

$525,000 for preventative security at the Tampa Jewish Community Center.

$520,000 for Hillsborough Habitat for Humanity’s Resilient Homes for Heroes program.

$509,060 for Feeding Tampa Bay’s FRESHforce workforce development program.

$494,600 for 22ZERO Follow Me to serve more veterans and first responders.

$485,000 for Task Force Dagger Special Operation for its rehabilitative adaptive events and Dagger Dive.

$400,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay’s workforce readiness program.

$400,000 for the Tampa Firefighters Museum exhibit enhancement.

$395,585 for the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology.

$325,000 for the Hillsborough County High Risk Adoption Support program.

$300,000 for the Florida AgrAbility program.

$300,000 for the Tampa Police Department for officer wellness.

$200,000 for the Allied Forces Foundation Florida.

$51,293 for Metropolitan Ministries Healthy Food Choices cold storage.

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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