DeSantis Vetoes Mobility Hub Funds; Coral Gables Still Secures Record $2.525 Million In State Funds

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
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The City of Coral Gables Mayor and Commission made it a priority to lobby Tallahassee for state funds to push some of its priorities this Legislative Session. The Legislature approved $3.5 million for seven different projects for the City of Coral Gables.

Three different visits to Tallahassee by members of the Commission and a meeting locally between the Governor and the Mayor helped secure a record amount of funds for the City, $2,525 million.

On Thursday, June 2nd, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved the state budget, but he used his veto pen to remove $3.132 billion from the $112.1 billion budget.

$2.525 Million Approved

Six of the City’s projects survived the veto pen to a tune of $2.525 million, however, the $975,000 of matching funds for the controversial Mobility Hub were struck down by the Governor. (Click here to see the full veto list).

Approved and funded by the State will be:

  • $750,000 for the restoration of historic Gondola Building sponsored by State Senator Ileana Garcia and State House Speaker Pro Tempore Bryan Avila. Requires a 50% City match.
  • $500,000 for the City’s Stormwater Master Plan sponsored by State Senator Ileana Garcia and State Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera. Requires a 50% City match.
  • $500,000 for the Legacy System Repair and Replacement Project sponsored by State Senator Ileana Garcia. Requires a 50% City match.
  • $375,000 for the Citywide Septic to Sewer Conversion Assessment sponsored by State Senator Ileana Garcia and State Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera. Requires a 50% City match.
  • $200,000 grant for the Blue Road Neighborhood Park.
  • $200,000 grant for the Toledo & Alava Neighborhood Park.

Mayor’s Statement

“This year has been our most successful legislative session to date,” said Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago. “Together with my colleagues on the city commission, we traveled to Tallahassee and engaged directly with our legislators. I believe our success was due to showcasing our city’s conservative fiscal approach and explaining the importance of our requests in person. We thank Governor Ron DeSantis and our sponsors Senator Ileana Garcia, Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera, Representative Bryan Avila, Representative Nick Duran, and Senate and House leadership or working together on behalf of our 50,000 residents. These projects will positively impact the quality of life for our residents, businesses and visitors.”

Mobility Hub

The veto by the Governor of the Mobility Hub is just another blow to City Manager Peter Iglesias’ self-acclaimed “legacy project.” Since the project was proposed, the cost of building the parking garage has increased from $28.9 million to over $62 million. Even Iglesias has come to grips with the fact that the Hub, as designed, is far fetched. At the April 12th City Commission meeting, Iglesias stated that “now is not the time to build.”

The City will proceed with its plans of seeking federal funds to complete the Mobility Hub. The Mayor is scheduled to visit Washington, DC this month to meet with members of Congress to seek funds for the Hub.


6 thoughts on “DeSantis Vetoes Mobility Hub Funds; Coral Gables Still Secures Record $2.525 Million In State Funds

  1. A Big thank you to Governor DeSantis for supporting the right items and Not the “mobility hub” which has no place design wise in our City Beautiful.
    The audacity of attempting to build a towering structure with none of the Mediterranean design elements the city requires of its citizens is typical. As is their disregard for our voting record supporting less big development.
    Now let’s hope the money received from the state gets spent wisely and not lost to cronyism and kickbacks.

    Thank you to Mayor Lago for his steadfast advocacy on behalf of the historic Gondola Building and his commitment to restoring the structure. The budget says $1.5 million.
    Now there is a 50% relief from the State. Make it happen Coral Gables!

    The proposed 10-story mobility hub needs to be reconsidered now not only for its escalating costs but also for the impending need to reduce embodied carbon within the very near future.

    Did you know that building construction and operations are responsible for approximately 40 percent of human produced carbon emissions worldwide? These emissions are cumulative, remaining in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

    Demolishing the existing Garage 1 structure [releasing decades of embodied carbon] only to build a new parking garage sounds environmentally antiquated. According to recent statistics, “Cities worldwide are cutting back on parking requirements,” yet our city continues its move to increase its parking footprint. Adapting and upgrading what is already there is the most environmentally friendly decision our city can make and one that will align with its sustainability policies.

    An excerpt from the National Trust for Historic Preservation puts in context how new construction adversely affects our planet: “Arguments that promote a practice of disposable real estate are unsustainable at best and at worst environmentally catastrophic. New buildings…will likely never offset the carbon cost of their construction. We don’t have time to simply build our way to a sustainable future.”

    A demolition of the present structure to make way for new construction is proven to be environmentally costly let one financially prohibitive. Adaptive reuse is the process of reusing an existing building and adapting it to meet new needs. Let’s adapt what is already here for earth’s sake.

    May the Governor’s snub end the hub.

  4. Thanks, Ariel for giving us ALL the facts, not just the good ones. I had just finished reading the press release from the City and lo and behold realized that the Mobility Hub funds didn’t go through. What did the Communications people think? I guess they still haven’t accepted the fact that Coral Gables residents can’t be snowed under. Well, let’s hope that this will be the last time that they try the smoke and mirrors technique!

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