Gov. Rick Scott’s veto ax hit South Florida deeply Tuesday, cutting projects with both local support and others that were priorities for local government.
Scott cut a record total of $461 million from the $78.7 billion state budget and made the deepest local cut to Florida International University. The state school lost $5 million intended for a land swap that would allow it to move into a portion of a county park currently occupied by the Miami-Dade Youth Fair.
FIU has offered to move the fair, but negotiations are at an impasse as fair executives insist the cost of the project will be several times more than the $40 million estimated by supporters. Last year, Scott approved $10 million in state funds toward the move, but this year the governor appeared to side with fair executives and said the spending was not acceptable because “a total project cost had not been established.”
The veto disappointed members of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation, which pushed for the funding as a top priority.
The governor left intact, however, two local university projects related to autism — $1.7 million for the University of Miami’s Center for Autism and $750,000 for the Dan Marino Foundation. He also agreed to steer $965,000 to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and $500,000 to Camillus House to serve sexually exploited adolescent girls.
The governor, however, cut several urban parks and bike trails because they “circumvent the Transportation Work Program.” Among them: $2 million for the Underline Linear Park and Urban Trail in Miami, a 10-mile linear park running under the county's elevated Metrorail system from Miami to Dadeland.