Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday vetoed $625,000 in state funding for two separate Gainesville city projects while at the same time greenlighting millions in spending on other local initiatives.
The two projects vetoed are a Community Resource Paramedic (CRP) program and a bus transfer station on the east side of the city.
State Rep. Yvonne Hinson, D-Gainesville, sponsored two separate bills requesting an appropriation for each. Both are proposed as multi-year projects requiring anywhere between $3 million and $10 million.
The City of Gainesville requested $325,000 to support increases in capacity and scalability for CRP’s telehealth program and other community health organizations.
Specifically, the amount was requested to purchase a mobile clinic (known as an advanced life support ambulance) for $280,000, diagnostic equipment and related technology for $25,000 and an electronic health record management system for $20,000.
The city requested an additional $300,000 to purchase land needed to develop a transfer station on the east side of Gainesville. These funds covered construction, renovation and land planning of the property.
There is currently no transfer station, although a large portion of RTS users are residents of this area; many of them rely on public transit to travel to work, classes and health services that are either located on campus or in other areas in Gainesville.
This transfer station would also allow RTS to shorten the cycle time and in turn increase the frequency of bus routes that service this region. Design and construction jobs would be created with the implementation of this project.
As for what did get funded, the North Central Florida Regional Sports Complex and an Alachua County CINS/FINS Youth Shelter Replacement survived the governor’s state budget. Both bills were proposed by State Rep. Charles Clemons, Sr., R-Newberry.
Alachua County’s local government will receive $2.5 million to support a sports event center that is capable of hosting NCAA track and field events. The county says that the sports complex will increase tourism to benefit the community as well as local hotels and hospitality industries.
In total, the cost of this sports complex is $68.5 million and is expected to begin hosting events in January 2023.
The Alachua County Youth Shelter Replacement will create a safe place for children in danger or crisis. For instance, runaways, truants and victims of human trafficking or domestic violence are welcome at this facility.
The facility is also expected to manage services that include meals, individual or group counseling, life and employment skills and educational support. Alachua County requested $600,000 for this part of the project.