Budget panel to approve $175M in local projects

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The $175M will go to 238 local projects around the state.

The Florida Legislative Budget Commission (LBC) is poised to sign off on $175 million in local spending projects as part of a fund set up in the budget allowing the 14-member panel to finance special projects after Gov. Ron DeSantis made his vetoes.

Some of the projects are similar to projects vetoed by DeSantis, including the largest, which sends $15 million to the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus for a flood hub and applied research facility. DeSantis vetoed $75 million in the budget for USF’s Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences Research and Training facility.

Known as Local Support Grants, the $175 million fund was included in Florida’s record $109.9 billion budget, which includes $20 billion in reserves and came after DeSantis’ $3.1 billion in vetoes.

Of the top 10 costliest projects, four went to Pinellas County, home of House Speaker Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor; two went to Pasco County, home of Senate President Wilton Simpson of Trilby; and three went to Bay County, home of House budget chief Rep. Jay Trumbull of Panama City.

Overall, 238 projects were selected out of 971 requests made by lawmakers.

The LBC meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday in the Capitol.

Here’s a look at the top 10 projects, and here’s a link to the full list:

— $15 million, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research & Innovation Facility (Pinellas County)

— $13.5 million, Agricultural Learning Center at the Academy (Pasco)

— $7.22 million, Tinker K-8 Gymnasium (Hillsborough)

— $6 million, Lullwater Lake Basin water quality restoration in Panama City Beach (Bay)

— $5 million, One More Child Sarasota Campus for Children and Families (Sarasota)

— $4.5 million, Wauchula Airport Runway Extension (Hardee)

— $3 million, Miami Lakes NW 59th Avenue roadway extension and redevelopment bridge project (Miami-Dade)

— $3 million, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office High Liability Training Center (Pinellas)

— $2.8 million, Florida State University, Health Panama City Academic Research Center (Bay)

— $2.75 million, Sarah Vandenberg Tennis Center (Pasco)

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