In that huge omnibus expenditures bill passed the U.S. Senate late on a Saturday night a couple of weeks ago, was almost $180 million in projects that directly benefit the Tampa Bay area.
An additional $72,448,000 came into the area in bills that were passed earlier in the year.
The credit for that largesse of $252,263,420 -- which was not pork when you examine the list of 113 items -- goes to Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R., Largo) who, as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, wielded strong influence on the budget.
If nothing else, Young's long service in the House which elevated him to a position of great influence is a strong argument against term limits.
Heading the list of projects is the $34 million earmarked for the Belleair Causeway bridge that connects Belleair Bluffs and Belleair Beach.
Had Young's money not come through there was a big question when the long talked about bridge would become anything close to reality.
The county was planning on spending half the projected $36 million cost out of Penny for Pinellas funds with hopes of getting the remainder from the state or federal government.
Now that Young has come through, everyone is breathing easier with faces wreathed in smiles.
The second biggest outlay coming to the area is the almost $23 million for construction of family housing units at MacDill Air Force Base in South Tampa.
Many of the Young-generated funds went to St. Petersburg College, University of South Florida and Eckerd College.
Lots of the projects are in the $300,000 to $500,000 range.
Money was made available for beach renourishment in the area, PSTA bus replacement program, widening the Tampa Bay ship channel, hospitals in the area and a wide variety of programs and projects.
Young will leave his chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee with the end of the 109th Congress but will still be a strong voice in the House where he is greatly respected by both sides of the aisle.
Someone tagged Young with the soubriquet as a "one-man redevelopment program." A sentiment pretty much on target as far as Tampa Bay area folks are concerned.
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