Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed more than $461 million of projects of the state’s nearly $80 billion budget this morning, but the University of South Florida’s two pet projects survived his veto pen.
That includes $17 million for relocating USF’s Morsani College of Medicine to its expected downtown Tampa home on the corner of Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive, and $12.3 million for completing the construction of USF St. Petersburg’s Kate Tiedemann College of Business. Both items were part of the $300 million in spending that the Legislature included in its list of local projects that were added to the state budget last week.
USF was disappointed last week to learn that a second part of the medical school move to developer Jeff Vinik’s new development in downtown Tampa, nearly $16 million for a Heart Health Institute, was not included in the final list. The total costs to locate both buildings into downtown is estimated to be at $157 million.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn personally traveled to Board of Governors meetings earlier this year to lobby them on the soundness of the project. He has called the USF additions to downtown as “transformative” and a “game-changer.”
USF St. Petersburg has previously received $15 million in state funds for the Kate Tiedemann College of Business. The funding is necessary to complete a new building for the college behind the existing Piano Man building on the west side of the campus.