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UCF Downtown Campus Funds Vetoed

Creative Village is  the site of UCF's proposed  downtown Orlando campus. Photo: Matthew Peddie / WMFE
Creative Village is the site of UCF's proposed downtown Orlando campus. Photo: Matthew Peddie / WMFE

The University of Central Florida says it’s not giving up in its quest for a downtown Orlando campus, after Governor Rick Scott vetoed $15 million in state funding for the project.

Governor Scott vetoed a record $461 million worth of projects as he signed a $78 billion state budget Tuesday.

University spokesman Grant Heston said losing the state money for the downtown campus is a setback.

“We’re not giving up," said Heston.

"We think these projects are too important to let them go by the wayside, so we’re going to gather with our many supporters across the region and figure out the best way to move forward.”

The university had originally asked for $60 million for the campus. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer said he was disappointed. He said the campus will boost the local economy with the addition of 4,000 jobs.

Senate President Andy Gardiner said he worked for a year to try to secure funding for the campus, which he described as a "game changer" for downtown Orlando.

He said the UCF funding veto caught him by surprise. And he was unhappy the Governor vetoed funding for free and charitable clinics, while also refusing to support the Senate’s plan to take Federal healthcare money. That he says will push more people into hospital emergency rooms.

“I think most of the members were very surprised when they saw the veto list, a lot of projects, like I said a lot of projects that he had supported last year that he turned around and vetoed this year, that was surprising.”

Also disappointing to Gardiner- the governor vetoed funding to help children with special needs attend college. He said there are "families who have had their dreams shattered" by the vetoes.

Other Central Florida projects vetoed include $5 million for the Doctor Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

The budget was praised by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, whose president Mark Wilson said Scott is doing the right thing by putting money back in the pockets of Floridians. The Restaurant and Lodging Association, and the Retail Federation also give the budget high marks, as did Space Florida president Frank DiBello. DiBello said the budget shows Florida is the right place for companies who need the highly skilled workforce and the supply chain for space and aerospace.

Governor Scott said his budget is helping drive down the cost of bureaucracy, and he said it returns more than $427 million to Florida taxpayers.

Click on the link below to hear 90.7's Crystal Chavez and Matthew Peddie discussing the budget vetoes.

[audio mp3="http://wmfeimages.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/06-23-15-Budget-Veto-2way.mp3"][/audio]



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