Tag Archive | "Paula Dockery"

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Stimulus Facts Are Stubborn Things

July 26, 2012

By:  Paula DockeryFloridaVoices.com

The term stimulus has become a hot potato in today’s divisive political climate. The truth is that stimulus spending has been employed by both parties to help jumpstart the economy in times of recession and high unemployment. From massive public work projects to improving existing infrastructure, stimulus spending has historically been an effective means of strengthening the economy when implemented correctly.

Unfortunately, so much rhetoric and spin has been applied to the discussion that the facts seem to be lost. My purpose is not to persuade you one way or the other on the use of tax dollars to spur the economy, it is simply to provide the facts on Florida’s use of stimulus funds. Love them or hate them, both parties have appropriated them and decided how they will be used. And it’s somewhat disingenuous to say stimulus dollars are bad, but then vote for a budget that includes them.

My analysis covers the period of 2006 to 2012 — under Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack Obama. During that seven-year period, the Florida House and Senate were in Republican control and the two governors, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott, were both elected as Republicans.

Read complete article:  http://www.floridavoices.com/columns/paula-dockery/stimulus-facts-are-stubborn-things

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FDOT

Future Corridors: planning or payola?

Future Corridors - Corncerns

July 20, 2012

Published by Florida Voices  – Senator Paula Dockery continues to serve Floridian by providing an insider’s look of the Future Corridors program.

By: Paula Dockery

Florida needs an integrated and well-maintained transportation system.

But the cost of building and maintaining roads far exceeds the money the state has for that work. We have an infrastructure deficit. Despite not having the necessary funds through tolls and general revenue dollars to proceed with the projects already included in the work program, well-connected landowners have applied political pressure to purchase rights-of-way and build new toll roads to direct development near their land.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) describes this plan, the Future Corridors, as a cooperative effort with the Florida Transportation Commission to work with statewide, regional, and local partners to identify corridors that will be significantly improved, transformed or built over the next 50 years.

Wow, that sounds pretty good.  Could this be a visionary plan or simply a way to direct road building to people with the right political connections?

Well, let’s look at some of the major players and their roles in how this program got started and how it weathered three gubernatorial administrations.

The Future Corridors Program generally refers to at least four toll roads that would crisscross the state’s rural areas to spur economic growth. Over the past six to eight years, a well-hatched plan was put into motion often with the Legislature and FDOT taking action that got little or no scrutiny. Some examples:

The Need for a State Report:

A group of politically influential landowners primarily based in the state’s interior organized to devise a plan. With the help of lobbyists and a few like-minded legislators, they urged Gov. Jeb Bush to support their plan to acquire right-of-way and to start planning highway projects.  “Florida’s Future Corridors Action Plan” was released in 2006 by FDOT “in cooperation with its partners.”

The Legislature designates areas of critical state concern:

Read the complete article: http://www.floridavoices.com/columns/paula-dockery/future-corridors-planning-or-payola

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