USF Marine Science Center may get second life after Governor DeSantis' veto

Governor Ron DeSantis shocked local leaders earlier this month when he vetoed funding for a USF marine science hub that would have brought dozens of high-paying jobs to St. Pete.

DeSantis cited a record number of line-item vetoes as a fiscal conservative necessity due to a looming recession.  

Now a change in tune… Allison Barlow with St. Pete’s Innovation District tells FOX 13 USF had a productive meeting with the governor this past week – and it’s looking like the $75 million in state money for the project will come, though - next year.  

"I was excited when I heard the governor say he’s interested in looking at this for next year. We were optimistic that that would be the case -- and it’s great to hear him say that," Barlow told FOX 13.  

The center is a top priority for USF and would be on St. Pete’s waterfront.  

It would house multiple programs under the same roof and be called USF’s Environmental and Oceanographic Research Program.   

"It brings together marine science, biology oceanography, hopefully, engineering and journalism into one place," Barlow explained.  

Funding the project has support from both democrats and republicans…  

Barlow and other key players say while it’s a delay they weren’t expecting… onward they go.  

"We are optimistic," she said.