Policy & Transportation Digest

By Michael Maurino, Director of Government Relations, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce


Moffitt part of White House’s “moonshot” to cure cancer: Executives with Moffitt Cancer Center were in Washington Thursday as President Obama signed a memorandum creating a White House task force on cancer. The effort will be led by Vice President Biden, who called for a “moonshot” to cure cancer by marshalling all levels of government, similar to the efforts to put a man on the moon in the 1960s. Moffitt director Dr. Thomas Sellers contacted Biden’s office in November, following Biden’s announcement that he wanted to take on cancer research following the death of his son Beau to brain cancer. Biden has already made an impact by securing from Congress a $264 million increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute. He also mentioned working with Moffitt during his appearance at the Davos World Economic Forum.

Legislature releases budget proposals: The Florida House and Senate each released their budgets Friday. The Senate has the largest of the two budgets, proposing $80.9 billion. The House is at $79.9 billion. The Senate would increase public school spending by 3-percent, and is slightly larger than Gov. Rick Scott’s and the House’s proposal. Rep. Dana Young has submitted the request for USF’s Morsani College of Medicine downtown campus, which was one of the few requests that survived the Governor’s veto pen last year. The Senate budget would also use general revenue funds for healthcare to offset losses from the reduction of funds from the federal Low Income Pool.

Ridesharing bills on collision course in capitol: The Florida House passed legislation 108-10 that would prevent local authorities from regulating ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber. It would also set minimum insurance requirements for ridesharing companies. The Florida Senate would also create minimum insurance requirements, but local authorities could still regulate service providers, which is opposed by ridesharing companies.

Miami & Orlando building the projects Tampa Bay dreams of: As Tampa Bay drivers endure the final year of 275’s reconstruction, driving to Orlando and Miami would reveal a future beyond the interstate. Both of those seats are embarking on major highway and transit projects in 2016. In Orlando’s case, the second anniversary of SunRail means extensions on both ends of the line, and the associated transit oriented development. Miami Beach is pushing forward on a rail link to the mainland, while All Aboard Florida’s service from Miami to Orlando moves closer to reality.

In Tampa Bay, there is optimism we could have the same thing in 2040. But, Tampa Bay is moving ahead with a regional transit fare system, and a new way to get from the mainland to Clearwater Beach.

“Boundless” promotes Florida’s business climate: Enterprise Florida released Florida: The Future Is Here as the state’s new business campaign. Each advertisement is a play on “boundless”: boundless markets, boundless innovation. More are available at www.enterpriseflorida.com/thefutureishere/

Military Appreciation Banquet: Join us on Wednesday, Feb. 24 for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce 2016 Military Appreciation Banquet, presented by Bright House Networks! Registration is now open for corporate tables and individual tickets. We are over 90% capacity and will sell out!

Join us as we honor those who serve in our community, and defend our nation. Visit our website for more information, and to purchase tickets.

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About Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit business membership organization that helps promote the businesses and business interests of our members. We come from diverse backgrounds: from small businesses, big corporations, government bodies and the military. United, we become a single, unifying force with the power to shape the future of Tampa Bay.