New Florida Gov. Rick Scott has put several major transportation projects on hold while he reviews the state’s spending pattern.
All pending contracts over $1 million are being scrutinized, including a $3 million job to repave U.S. 19 near 22nd Avenue in St. Petersburg and a $4.2 million contract for work on a connection between I-4 and the Selmon Expressway in Tampa, which has already started. In total, approximately $500 million of Florida DOT projects are now under the microscope.
“We’re reviewing all contracts,” Scott said. “The reason I did this is I believe the state needs to spend its money better.
“We’ll make sure that the contracts that should go forward will go forward. My job is to watch how this money is spent and I’m going to do it.”
There is no word on when projects will be cleared, but the executive order for the work stoppage is effective for the next three months.
The move has received nothing but jeers from state Democrats, who are puzzled over the order after Scott built his campaign around the slogan of “Let’s Get to Work.” By putting contracts on hold, approximately 14,000 jobs are in limbo.
“With more than 1 million Floridians out of work, the last thing this state can sustain is the prospect of throwing even more people into the ranks of the unemployed or stopping others from getting hired,” Senate Democratic leader Nan Rich said in a statement. “It’s time to move ‘Let’s Get to Work’ from bumper stickers into practice and allow these projects to begin.”