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House considers contentious Tampa International Airport audit

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Budget language filed in the Florida House Saturday morning would OK a controversial state audit of Tampa International Airport. As reported by Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida, Brandon Republican Sen. Tom Lee unexpectedly filed an amendment last week on the Senate floor, which proposes an audit of TIA’s renovation master plan. Lee’s amendment raised concern with two other Tampa Bay-area Senate Republicans — appropriations chair Jack Latvala of Clearwater and Dana Young of Tampa. The Senate rejected the amendment. Pensacola…

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Top line tourism, economic development money closed out, chair says

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Don’t expect any movement in the budgets for Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA at the conference committee level. “I’m authorized to negotiate quite a few things in this budget and there’s a few things I’m not, and those would be among the things I’m not,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, the St. Petersburg Republican chairing the Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations conference committee. The panel met again at 8 a.m. Saturday. Earlier this week, legislative leadership agreed on roughly $83 billion…

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Tampa Bay officials OK with TBARTA bill, now before full Senate

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Officials had high hopes for a bill to reconfigure Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA). Those same officials are now expressing some contentment following an amendment from the bill’s original sponsor, Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala. The legislation would change TBARTA’s name from the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority to the Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority, and reduce the number of counties involved in addressing the region’s traffic issues. It has been a top priority of the Tampa Bay area business establishment,…

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Business leaders lobby Tampa Bay-area lawmakers on regional transit

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As for discussion over a proposed Senate regional transit bill for the Tampa Bay region, it’s all about timing. A group of a dozen local business executives arrived for a lobbying trip to Tallahassee just one day after a contentious Senate committee meeting where three Tampa Bay lawmakers clashed over a bill seeking to overhaul the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA). The nonprofit Tampa Bay partnership arranged the trip. The Tampa Bay Times reported that in a heated…

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Senate votes to allow beer ads in theme parks, ‘merlot to go’

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Florida senators passed a bill Wednesday that would allow advertising by beer companies in the state’s theme parks. The measure (SB 388), sponsored by Republican Sen. Travis Hutson of Elkton, received only one ‘no’ vote from Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Lakeland Republican. It eases the state’s “tied house evil” law by allowing ads, which could include a beer company sponsoring a concert or festival within a park. Universal Orlando has supported the bill. Some beer industry representatives had privately complained. However, they “fear being extorted…

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After four years of debate, bill regulating ride-sharing companies will go to Rick Scott’s desk

in Statewide by

After years of intense debate, the Florida Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to create statewide regulations for transportation network companies. The measure (HB 221) cleared the upper chamber on a 36-1 vote. The bill now heads to Gov. Rick Scott for his consideration. “Today we sent a strong message that Florida embraces transportation innovation. The future of transportation options includes a focus on shared mobility, and as we move closer to autonomous vehicles on our roadways, the future of ride-sharing…

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Janet Long doubtful about supporting $14 million CRA request for St. Pete Pier

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The St. Petersburg City Council is poised to vote for a final time this week on approving another $14 million for the city’s plan for a new Pier. If approved, the Council will then approach Pinellas County about re-allocating $14 million in tax increment financing, or TIF funds, to the $66 million Pier project, boosting the price tag overall to $80 million. Commission Chair Janet Long says she’s not likely to support the request. “The City Council themselves are not united, number…

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