How much money in is Gov. Scott’s budget for transportation?

Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget, rolled out Tuesday morning, sets aside nearly $11 billion for transportation in the state for the coming year.

A Florida Department of Transportation news release lays out a bullet-pointed list of how the money would be spent, if state lawmakers give the budget the OK as-is:

• $4.1 billion for construction of highway projects
• $178.2 million in seaport infrastructure improvements
• $257.8 million for aviation improvements
• $300.8 million for scheduled repair of 61 bridges and replacement of 16 bridges
• $978.2 million for maintenance and operation
• $618 million for public transit development grants
• $175.6 million for safety initiatives
• $82.7 million for bike and pedestrian trails

Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Florida Gov. Rick Scott

“Gov. Scott’s transportation budget provides the record funding necessary to maintain and repair existing infrastructure and prepare for future growth,” said outgoing state Transportation Secretary Jim Boxold. “Florida’s roads, seaports, airports, railways and trails will continue to meet the growing needs of Florida’s families.”

Spotlighted in the FDOT news release: plans for $43.2 million for work on Southern Boulevard from the entrance of the new Arden community to Forest Hill Boulevard. The state plans to add one lane in either direction along the stretch of Southern, along with adding bike and pedestrian paths. Read more here about that project.

The budget does include some disclaimers on how the money can be spent, with specific instructions for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority — which oversees Tri-Rail — and ports that might consider doing business with Cuba.

 

 

 

Gov. Scott’s budget would tighten state control over Tri-Rail money

Gov. Rick Scott has waded into a growing debate over Tri-Rail funding, and it could mean less money for the agency responsible for the trains.

Amid debate over a controversial contract awarded last week, Scott’s budget proposal released this morning includes a paragraph that would crack down on the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority’s spending.

Passengers board the Tri-Rail train at the West Palm Beach station, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Joe Forzano/The Palm Beach Post)
Passengers board the Tri-Rail train at the West Palm Beach station, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Joe Forzano/The Palm Beach Post)

The state and the authority, which operates Tri-Rail, have been at odds for months over how the authority spends its money. The issue came to a head in recent weeks as the authority awarded a $511 million contract for operating services for the next seven years to the highest bidder – something Politico Florida reports that rival bidders say is unfair, while the authority argues the contractor, Herzog Transit Service, was the only company to correctly submit a proposal meeting the authority’s requirements.

Under the Florida Department of Transportation’s section of Scott’s proposed budget, there is a paragraph saying the SFRTA is to be given no money until it has terminated the contract with Herzog and submitted in writing to the state a new procurement and contract for the operating services.

The section goes further to change how state money is distributed to the SFRTA in the future. Right now, the authority is dispensed money and then submits expenses. The proposed budget would change that, so that “no funds shall be provided to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority by the department without the prior review and written approval by the department of the authority’s proposed expenditures.”

The Legislature must ultimately approve the governor’s budget, but lawmakers have been closely overseeing state agency spending — VisitFlorida and Enterprise Florida are just two agencies that have come under close scrutiny in recent months.

Read Scott’s budget proposal.

 

 

 

 

What does OneWeb, company Trump said will bring 3,000 jobs to U.S., do?

President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday afternoon that OneWeb, a company with offices in Florida, California and Virginia, will create 3,000 jobs in the United States.

Speaking to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Trump also said Sprint will bring 5,000 jobs back to the U.S.

President-elect Donald Trump pauses with Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of SoftBank, at Trump Tower on December 6, 2016 in New York City. Trump announced that SoftBank has agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States and create 50,000 new jobs. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
President-elect Donald Trump pauses with Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of SoftBank, at Trump Tower on December 6, 2016 in New York City. Trump announced that SoftBank has agreed to invest $50 billion in the United States and create 50,000 new jobs. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“So we have a combination of Sprint with 5,000 jobs and that’s coming from all over the world, they are coming back from the United States, which is a nice change, and also OneWeb,” Trump said.

According to CNBC, Trump said the deal “was done through” Japanese company SoftBank, which announced earlier this month it was investing more than $1 billion in OneWeb, giving it a nearly 40 percent share in the company. SoftBank also owns a majority share — about 80 percent — of Sprint, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Here’s a look at OneWeb, what it does and why Trump’s announcement was already known by many in the tech community.

What is OneWeb? The company is building a network of low-Earth orbit satellites to provide fast, cost-effective internet service anywhere in the world. “With more than 10 terabits per second of new capacity, it will extend the networks of mobile operators and ISP’s to serve new coverage areas, bringing voice and data access to consumers, businesses, schools, healthcare institutions and other end users,” the company said in a recent news release.

Where will the 3,000 jobs be? Some may be in Florida. The company announced earlier this month that its satellite arm, OneWeb Satellites LLC, is building what’s billed as “the world’s largest high volume satellite manufacturing facility” in Exploration Park, at Kennedy Space Center. That facility will create about 250 jobs, OneWeb founder Greg Wyler said at a news conference announcing the manufacturing plant. OneWeb Satellites is a partnership between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space.

Are positions available now? Yes. According to OneWeb’s website, jobs are open in Melbourne, Florida, and Arlington, Virginia. Open positions include accountants, software engineers and developers. However, the company’s website does not say if the jobs are tied to the $1 billion SoftBank investment.

Why did some people know about this before Trump’s announcement? SoftBank said when it announced its investment in OneWeb that it would create about 3,000 U.S. jobs, The Wall Street Journal reports. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son had promised Trump after a meeting at Trump Tower that SoftBank would pour $50 billion into the U.S. economy and create 50,000 U.S. jobs. When SoftBank announced its deal with OneWeb, it called it “the first step” in fulfilling that pledge to Trump, CNBC reports.

Who else is involved in OneWeb? Sitting on the company’s board of directors are several big names in communication and space exploration, including Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul E. Jacobs, Airbus CEO Thomas Enders and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

 

 

 

 

Ike Perlmutter: 5 things to know about Marvel CEO who met with Trump

It may sound like an unlikely meeting: Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter sitting down with President-elect Donald Trump as the latter plans his transition into the presidency.

But the comic book mogul is a known Trump supporter. Both are part-time Palm Beach residents, with Perlmutter’s condo just a few miles away from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.

President-elect Donald Trump stands at the entrance of Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Palm Beach. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President-elect Donald Trump stands at the entrance of Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Palm Beach. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The pair met Wednesday at Mar-a-Lago as Trump and his transition team continue the process of interviewing candidates for cabinet vacancies.

Here are five things to know about Perlmutter.

1. His wife is on Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Laurie Perlmutter is helping plan Trump’s inauguration, along with producer Mark Burnett and casino owner Steve Wynn.

2. He’s worth nearly $4 billion. Forbes estimates his net worth as $3.9 billion as of Dec. 28.

3. Just try finding a photo of him. He’s notoriously private — he reportedly attended the 2008 premiere of Marvel’s “Iron Man” incognito — to the point that when The Hollywood Reporter needed a current photo of him to use with an August article, Perlmutter’s publicists rebuffed their request. So the entertainment news giant got creative: They had an artist create an illustration of Perlmutter instead. Reuters grabbed a photo of him during his meeting with Trump on Wednesday, with Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein tweeting the image with the caveat that it was taken “through glass, obscured by wrought iron & dim light.”

4. He’s credited with many for the meteoric rise of Marvel Entertainment. He engineered Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Marvel, and has led the charge to bring comic-book lore into the popular consciousness.

5. He ate Thanksgiving dinner with the Trump family this year. According to The New York Post, Perlmutter was at Mar-a-Lago for the holiday meal, along with fellow Palm Beach County resident Don King and romance novel heart-throb Fabio.

RNC 2016: Florida speaker’s business in question

Michelle Van Etten delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Michelle Van Etten delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention. (Getty Images)

Michelle Van Etten of Brandon held the spotlight for a few minutes as she spoke at the Republican National Convention.

But as she spoke on stage, people on social media were talking about reports her business was not as large as billed by the Republican Party and that her business may be a pyramid scheme.

While her bio on the Republican National Convention website says she employs 100,000 people, Van Etten told The Guardian that is incorrect — and that she actually has no employees.

Van Etten said she is an independent retailer for Youngevity, a company that sells supplements and is endorsed by radio host Alex Jones.

Van Etten told The Guardian she sells the company’s womenswear line and her income is under $1 million annually.

Youngevity has come under fire for its structure of independent retailers who recruit more sellers to buy into the company.

Read more from The Guardian.

 

 

 

 

Gov. Scott adds Lee and Palm Beach counties to state of emergency over algae

Gov. Rick Scott has expanded a state of emergency already issued for Martin and St. Lucie counties because of an algae bloom to include Lee and Palm Beach counties.

In a news release, Scott said he was extending the state of emergency to two more counties to drive “every available resource to address the needs of these communities following yesterday’s emergency declaration.”

Boats at Central Marine in Stuart sit surrounded by algae Thursday afternoon June 30, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Boats at Central Marine in Stuart sit surrounded by algae Thursday afternoon June 30, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A massive blue-green algae bloom in recent weeks has expanded from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie River in Martin County and extended along the county’s oceanfront, leading officials to temporarily close some beaches where the algae was reported. A blog about the size of two fists was found earlier this week on a Jupiter beach, and blue-green algae also has been reported at other locations in Palm Beach County.

Scott also announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is activating a virtual emergency operations center to determine the effect the algae bloom is having on local businesses.

The DEO’s program will survey any businesses that are affected the algae bloom and share the results with local and state agencies to implement any assistance needed. Scott asked that any businesses that have been affected by the algae complete a survey that will be used to determine which support programs might be most helpful. Click here for that survey. Under “Event/Incident,” choose “Lake Okeechobee Discharge – Algal Blooms.”

» Complete coverage of the algae bloom

 

Man chases down fake social media accounts; Donald Trump has 200-plus

 

You just stumbled across Donald Trump’s Facebook page and you can’t wait to tell him how much you love him.

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during a Republican presidential debate March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

But is it really Donald Trump?

An Indiana man has made a living working for celebrities to identify, and get taken down, pages on Facebook and other platforms in which people pretend to be the celebrities.

While Kevin Long and his socialimposter.com haven’t yet been hired by the part-time Palm Beacher, Long says a little bit of work on his part uncovered more than 230 fake Trump pages. And more than 200 for Hillary Clinton.

Long, during a visit last week to West Palm Beach, said  there almost assuredly are more; he searched only one spelling. He checks multiple alternative spellings for each of his clients.

Long
Long

Long has removed more than 26,000 phony accounts.

Long leaves alone obvious parody pages, “fan pages” or “community pages” independent pages created for people who either like or dislike a celebrity, and pages for people with the same names as celebrities. But he has plenty of material. In 2012, Facebook reported 83 million of its accounts were fakes.

Long did his searches manually for two years before developing an algorithm. He says only that his more than two dozen clients pay a monthly retainer of from $300 to “several thousand.”

Why do people do it? Maybe just because they can. Maybe it’s for kicks. Or to post lies such as “I eat puppies” to damage the reputation or a celebrity they don’t like. Or, in the extreme, to fraudulently solicit money.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.40.57 AM

“Even when it’s harmless, it’s still noise,” Long said.

Kenneth Copeland Ministries is one of the few clients Long has permission to identify. He says people posing as Copeland were urging people to help them do God’s work by sending money. But the dollars were going elsewhere; sometimes overseas.

“They would get emails from their legitimate followers (saying) ‘it doesn’t look right,’ ” Long said. He said another evangelist client, who he will not identify, had more than 100 phony social media pages.

Another client: the University of Alabama. He said often fans of other schools will post fake Alabama comments just before the big game to create bulletin board material for their own teams.

 

Trump Steaks: Trademark was canceled in 2014, report says

After Mitt Romney knocked Donald Trump over his defunct Trump Steaks line of beef cuts, Trump touted his steaks at a March 8 news conference in Jupiter, saying, “I have very successful companies.”

Trump later joked with a crowd of supporters gathered at the event that they could take one home for “50 bucks a steak. No, I’m only kidding.”

Steaks are removed from display after republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump held a news conference at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida on March 8, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Steaks are removed from display after republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump held a news conference at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida on March 8, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

Since then, The Palm Beach Post found that the steaks presented at that news conference were not, in fact, Trump Steaks. Rather, they came from Bush Brothers Provisions Co., a West Palm Beach-based supplier that sells steaks to several Trump properties.

Now, NBC News reports that the trademark on Trump Steaks was canceled in December 2014.

Read the full NBC News report.

Trump University: This Florida man says he lost $26,000 to course

There was a time, nearly a decade ago, when Charles Jacobson believed in Donald Trump.

That was before Jacobson spent $26,000 on a “Trump University” real estate course he says was nothing more than a scheme to make money off ordinary people hoping for tips from the celebrity mogul. That was before the bankruptcy and before a horrific medical diagnosis.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump holds a media conference announcing the establishment of Trump University May 23, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images)
Real estate mogul Donald Trump holds a media conference announcing the establishment of Trump University May 23, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images)

Now, Jacobson says the sound of Trump’s voice makes him “nauseous.”

And afraid.

Jacobson said he’s worried his story and the story of others who say they were victimized by Trump is emerging too late to stop him from becoming the Republican Party’s nominee and, eventually, president.

Read the full story.

GOP debate: Economy and jobs on table; how does Florida stack up?

Looks like Florida Gov. Rick Scott got his wish.

Earlier Thursday, before the Republican debate in Miami, Scott told a group of reporters he hoped the presidential candidates talked about jobs and the economy — two topics that took center stage as GOP candidates debate trade with China.

» RELATED: Read our full GOP debate coverage

“Our country is in serious, serious trouble,” said front-runner Donald Trump.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks with the media before the Republican presidential debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks with the media before the Republican presidential debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Scott has touted his efforts to create 1 million jobs in Florida since taking office in 2011. He said at a stop of his “Million Miles for a Million Jobs” tour in Boca earlier this year that cutting taxes and regulations were key in those efforts.

In January, Palm Beach County got two bits of good news: foreclosures dropped to pre-Recession levels, and the county’s jobless rate was its lowest since 2007. A study this month from the U.S. Department of Labor found Palm Beach County has the highest wages in Florida — but at rates still below the national average.