Fla. Contractors Hope Gov. Scott Will Veto Raid on Road Fund
For the second year in a row, Florida legislators have raided the state�s transportation trust fund in order to help close a multi-billion-dollar budget gap, and again the state�s governor is apparently considering vetoing the measure.
This year’s legislature, which finalized work on May 6, included a “sweep” of $150 million from the trust fund’s cash reserves into the general budget. That was nearly identical to the $160 million that state politicians raided from the road fund last year, only to have former Gov. Charlie Crist (R) veto the action after lobbying from the transportation construction industry.
Robert G. Burleson, president of the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, Tallahassee, hopes his group can convince Gov. Rick Scott (R) to follow suit and veto this year’s raid.
“The Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA) could not be more disappointed with the tone and actions of Florida’s lawmakers,” Burleson said in a May 6 press statement. “Gov. Rick Scott campaigned on a job-creation platform and we are confident he will consider a veto of this anti-jobs legislation.”
Lane Wright, information officer in Gov. Scott’s office, said the governor is considering the proposed sweep “very carefully,” but has not made a decision.
The proposed $150-million reduction in cash reserves would delay approximately $334 million in projects because of their multi-year funding, according to Dick Kane, public information officer for the Florida Dept. of Transportation in Tallahassee. FDOT was preparing a list of projects that could be impacted by the sweep.
“Maybe if we get (the sweep) vetoed this year, they’ll leave (the trust fund) alone,” Burleson said. “We’re hopeful.”FTBA was promoting an online petition urging the governor to veto the raid, and had received more than 1,000 “signatures” in support.