Senate President Bill Galvano’s plan to start saving budget dollars for major corridor projects and rural roadways is gaining traction in the House.
The House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee advanced a bill Thursday that’s identical to the Senate version (SB 7068) — part of what Galvano, a Bradenton Republican, has identified as his vision for his first Session as Senate President.
The legislation would require lawmakers to start stashing money for three major highway projects: extending the Tampa-area Suncoast Parkway to the Florida-Georgia line, connecting the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway, and constructing the Southwest-Central Florida Connector between Polk and Collier counties.
Democrats on the House panel were concerned that money for the projects would be stripped from General Revenue (GR) before task forces — written into the legislation to study the viability of the plans — reported back to state leaders by summer 2020.
“We’re already starting immediately next year to start moving money out of GR,” said state Rep. Matt Willhite, a Wellington Democrat. He and South Florida Democratic Reps. Barbara Watson and Bobby DuBose cast the only “no” votes.
The legislation would use $45 million in the next fiscal