Road builders turn up pressure on Scottby John Kennedy | May 23rd, 2011
Road builders are upping the pressure on Gov. Rick Scott to veto the Legislature’s decision to pull $150 million out of the state’s transportation trust fund and scatter it across the budget, filling holes.
The Florida Transportation Builders Association delivered close to 3,600 petition signatures to Scott on Monday, urging he strike the fund shift. Builders say losing the money will hurt construction efforts and cost 8,400 jobs.
The association’s president, Bob Burleson, said in a letter to Scott the move “will only add to Florida’s strained unemployment compensation and healthcare systems.’
Joining Burleson in the pitch are six transportation building organizations, along with Associated Industries of Florida and Florida TaxWatch. The $69.7 billion budget now before Scott is almost certain the cause more layoffs in Florida economists warn, even as the state’s April unemployment level fell to 10.8 percent, its lowest level since September 2009.
Scott, though, has voiced little support for public spending as an economic driver. “I”m focused on building private sector jobs,” Scott said last week, when he raised the possibility of vetoing millions of dollars spending on university and college construction.
At the time, Scott said he worried about deepening the state’s debt — which may help road builders seeking to erase the $150 million trust fund shift. Those dollars are generated chiefly by motorists paying gas tax.