Policy & Transportation Digest

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

Transportation funding races past healthcare and education in budget: The Tampa Bay Times noted this week that state transportation funding has grown by 55% since Gov. Rick Scott took office. That is compared to education’s 6% growth, and healthcare keeping up with the rate of inflation and additional Medicare recipients. In raw numbers, about $5 billion more has been put into transportation and natural resources in the 2016 budget, versus what Gov. Charlie Crist signed in 2010. While Florida’s growth post-recession gets credit for much of the increase in funding, 13,000 state jobs and millions in health and education have also been cut during Gov. Scott’s term.

Gov. Scott has focused on Florida’s ports as part of his economic development efforts. One example of that are the cranes that floated under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge this morning on their way to Port Tampa Bay docks. The cranes are part of the Port’s growing container business, which is increasing following the opening of the bigger Panama Canal. The Governor referenced the Port as a reason for Amazon’s success at their Ruskin facility this week.

Enterprise Florida’s future in doubt: Following the Legislature’s decision to not fund Enterprise Florida, the agency’s executive director stepped down on Monday, and Gov. Scott ordered an audit to find $6 million in savings out of a $9 million budget. Despite support across the state from business organizations, including the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the State House’s position against $250 million in incentives for EFI puts the organization on a new path.

The Business of Transportation: The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is continuing a community conversation on transportation with “The Business of Transportation.” This five-minute video explains how Tampa was built by transportation options, and why Tampa needs more of those options to support businesses and families. Following the video, you can take this short survey to tell the Chamber how transportation impacts your daily commute.

Upcoming events:

Legislative Wrap-Up, April 8, 11:30am: The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce invites you to join us for our 2016 Legislative Wrap-Up at Maestro’s Restaurant at the Straz Center. Our state senators and representatives from Hillsborough County will discuss the outcome of the 2016 Legislative Session and the Chamber Legislative Agenda. Visit the event page to register, and for more information.

Face The Chamber – 2016 Mayor’s Luncheon, April 15, 11:45am: Join us for the Mayor’s annual address to the Chamber and Leadership Tampa Alumni membership including the popular “Face the Chamber” segment. Check out our website for more information.


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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.