Crist discusses his support of stimulus package

02/13/09 Arielle Stevenson
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While the stimulus package has passed in the house, and poised to pass in the senate tonight, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist spoke today in St. Petersburg about how the stimulus will help Floridians.

Crist met with Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Kopelouso,Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker to discuss the $1.3 billion that is being allotted to Florida’s transportation department.

While the governor supports the stimulus package, virtually all Republicans do not, including Sen. Mel Martinez and Congressmen C.W. Young, Gus Bilarakus, Adam Putnam and Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite, who all voted against the package today.

Crist says the legislation isn’t perfect, but he is confident in the jobs it will bring to the state. Although the governor has faced major backlash from his own party for supporting this package, Crist says he is more concerned about the state of Florida’s economy.

Crist says Florida should expect around $10 billion from the stimulus; it's a figure that is subject to change depending on today’s vote. That money will go to vital projects that will revamp the weakened construction market.

Transportation Secretary Kopelouso, says the discussion with both Mayor Iorio and Mayor Baker, was crucial to ensure that there are projects that are ready for state funding in order to begin construction. She says 30 percent of the funding the state receives will go to local governments to jumpstart those projects.

Iorio has emphasized mass transit. However she acknowledges that the stimulus bill will address road projects, and she’s content with that.

St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker says that while he may not agree with every part of the proposed stimulus package, he sees its potential in assisting out of work Floridians, especially in the area of construction.

Crist says this package is going to prevent Florida from having to significantly cut crucial state programs, something that was the only option on the table before this legislation was proposed.

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