I-Team reveals Tampa Bay state money approved by the House

Posted at 12:37 AM, Jun 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-10 00:37:25-04

Every year, state lawmakers approve tens of millions of dollars to fund local projects in Florida. Lawmakers compete for funding, but something was different this year. House Speaker Richard Corcoran made representatives put their names on their requests.

So how did Tampa Bay do?

The I-Team has been pouring through budget records revealing the winners and losers of this years annual scramble in Tallahassee.

When it comes to which State House Reps in Tampa Bay have pull, Rep. Danny Burgess ranks at the top this year. He racked in nearly $28 million in house approved appropriations.

Second, was Rep. Chris Latvala who got more than $12 million in funding projects.

Freshman newcomer Amber Mariano got almost $4.5 million approved.

Last place was Rep Carry Pigman. We found Pigman requested more than $82 million worth of projects, the most by far out of anyone locally. But he only raked in $209 thousand of that.

To check out the list of how local legislators' requests did click here

As for which local project got the most money, Legislators approved $15 million for the I-75 and Overpass Road interchange project in Pasco county.

Many were denied funding.

Joe Berger in Pasco county tells us his house gets flooded every year.

"I just can't believe the state would say no. It's a known problem! It's a known issue!  It's not something new that happened one time it's every single year," he says.

Legislators denied funding for his neighborhood, despite the fact the county was declared a state of emergency last year following major floods.

When asked how much flood damages have cost Joe over the years re replied, "Oh god! Roughly $50-$60 thousand."

There were at least 6 requests for flood relief funding in Pasco totaling more than $10 million that the House considered. All but one were denied and Pasco only got $400 thousand for that flooding project.

"It magnifies the type of money we can use and we can do more projects if we get that state funding", says Pasco's EMA Director Kevin Guthrie.

The city of Tampa only had one request for fixing storm drainage issues. It was for South Tampa, near Interbay. It was denied.

"Certainly we're disappointed we're always interested in going after funding opportunities and it is a disappointment when we don't get those funds," says Jean Duncan Director of Transportation and Stormwater Services for the city.

USF Professor Kevin Kip walks away disappointed. He was trying to get $500 thousand to help alternative treatment for veterans with PTSD. His treatments include Brazilian Ju Jitsu, Yoga, and other therapies.

"We have reason to believe some of these newer methods could be more effective," Kipp tells us.

But hold your horses. Arcadia got $500 thousand approved in the House for facilities for their yearly rodeo. Apollo Beach got $3.5. million for a new fish hatchery. And approval was granted to fund $2.5 million towards the World Rowing Championship in Sarasota County.

Bob McClure is CEO of the James Madison institute in Tallahassee, a non partisan research organization, he says overall this year there weren't many pet projects raising serious concerns .

"You're always gonna have people fighting for their own special projects or thinking about their next political office. But generally leadership at the state level has been really good on those things," McClure states.

Governor Scott did veto the $500 thousand Arcadia rodeo project amongst many others.

For the entire veto list click here.