Gov. Scott vetoes UCF downtown campus funding
The Florida Legislature giveth, and Gov. Rick Scott taketh away.
Vetoing $461 million in state spending, Scott slashed the $15 million previously allocated to UCF's downtown campus.
"I think it's important to note that, despite the actions today, we are not giving up on UCF Downtown," UCF spokesman Grant Heston said. "We think the project is too important to the Central Florida community. We have too much local support for it to do anything expect continue to move forward."
Just last week, the Florida Legislature approved this money — a small sliver compared with the initially requested $58 million. University spokeswoman Christine Dellert called the funds "a wonderful start," and only time will tell if Scott's red pen brings the project to a halting stop.
"We appreciate the efforts our many supporters across Central Florida made to advance these projects," UCF President John C. Hitt said in a statement Tuesday morning. "These are important to students, our economy and community and we will continue working on moving them forward. Time will tell what shape our efforts take, but we are not giving up."
As noted by the 2015 veto list, this money would have been put toward Building A of the downtown campus. Previously, the project had been proposed in four stages, two of which were expected to be completed by August 2017.
Moving forward, UCF will join with partners to plan what's next for the campus' funding.
"What we'll do in the next few weeks is put our heads together with our partners — that would be city of Orlando, Valencia College, Creative Village and others — and determine what our options are and then pursue the options that gives us the best chance to make this a reality," Heston said.
He added that it's too early to tell whether the timeline for downtown's plans will be delayed.
The Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center expansion is also on hold with the requested $5 million vetoed from the state budget.
Missing from the veto list is the University of South Florida's downtown medical school. After receiving $17 million from the State Legislature for the project, Scott approved the funding to move the Morsani College of Medicine to a new downtown Tampa location. However, the Bulls were denied $850,000 for "Special Categories - Transfer To The University Of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee."
The University of Florida, Florida State, Florida Atlantic and Florida International also graced the veto list. In total, public state universities were rejected $42.7 million. Scott also vetoed about $7.6 million for private Florida schools, including Barry University, University of Miami, University of Tampa, Jacksonville University, Nova Southeastern and Bethune-Cookman.
Read the full 2015 veto list here.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Caroline Glenn is the Content Manager for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @bycarolineglenn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marina Guerges is the Editor-in-Chief at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @marinaguerges or email her at MarinaG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.