Budget conference: House moves on road projects, but deal on jobs program elusive
a lot of money - a million US dollars in cash

a million bucks
A deal for $50M in Camp Blanding funding, though, has fallen through.

The road to a budget deal is paved with transportation project money, and the House took a step along it by offering significant funding for a series of road projects favored by the Senate.

In some cases, the House went from not funding a project to overshooting what the Senate preferred. For instance, the Senate had $3 million for improvements to the Wauchula Municipal Airport, but the House offered $10.5 million. The Senate’s $2 million for the Melbourne Orlando International Airport operations center was boosted to $5 million by the House, which didn’t fund the project in its initial budget.

Rep. Alex Andrade, a Pensacola Republican and the House’s top transportation budget negotiator, said the chambers were in agreement on the total amount of transportation projects, at $250 million.

The Senate accepted nearly all of those transportation project funding levels, but two major projects in the region of House Speaker Paul Renner’s district in northeast Florida remain unresolved. The House wants $62.7 million for the Matanzas Woods Parkway Extension Loop Road. The Senate has no funding for it. There’s also $49.9 million in the House budget for the Palm Coast Parkway Extension Loop Road, which is also unfunded by the Senate.

On other programs there remain big differences. The House is stuck at $56 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund; the Senate wants $75 million. And while the chambers reached an agreement Wednesday to spend $50 million on improvements at Camp Blanding, the training center for the Florida National Guard, the Senate’s latest offer moves the funding down to $31 million.

Also, despite the agreement to give $80 million to VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing agency, the Senate is pushing to direct it to spend $5 million on marketing for “nature-based tourism and trail towns,” which the House is resisting.

The chambers are also still at odds on cultural and museum grants, where the House wants $32 million and the Senate prefers $20 million.

Gray Rohrer

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 29, 2024 at 3:11 pm

    I thought Mexico was going to pay for training the Florida National Guard, so why is that even a budget line item?

Comments are closed.


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