Scott vetoes Miami-area trails

Gov. Rick Scott on veto day, June 23, 2015
The governor vetoed several projects that didn’t go through the ordinary evaluation process.

Gov. Rick Scott slashed $6.7 million in legislative appropriations for trails in Miami-Dade County this week, though $25 million for a statewide SunTrail network appears to have escaped his veto pen. Scott struck off:

  • $3 million for the proposed Ludlam Trail,
  • $2 million for the Underline project upgrading the M-Path,
  • $1.5 million for the Biscayne-Everglades Greenway connecting our area’s two national parks
  • $1 million for a 174th Street pedestrian bridge in Sunny Isles, and
  • $200,000 for section 8 of the Black Creek Trail.

By the time he finished, the governor had knocked $461 million off the budget passed in the Legislature’s recent special session. The final budget totals $78.2 billion. That includes $25 million for the SunTrail network, a sum expected to be raised from a new motor vehicle registration fee.  Here’s the full veto list.

The SunTrail projects, adding to the state’s Greenways and Trails System, are to be carried out by the Florida Department of Transportation.  Except for short connectors between trails and parts of the Overseas Heritage Trail in the Florida Keys, all these projects are to be off-road trails.

The governor said he vetoed the Ludlam, Underline, Biscayne-Everglades, and Black Creek items because they circumvent the FDOT work program process.

In another veto of interest to bicycle riders, he knocked out $1 million intended for an upgrade of the aging St. Johns River Ferry, a Jacksonville-area link in the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway. He noted that $1 million had been appropriated for the same purpose earlier and that  this item sidestepped the seaport and economic development process.