Gov. Rick Scott's road to free publicity

8:45 PM, Feb 18, 2014   |    comments
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Road construction along U.S. 19 in Clearwater
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St. Petersburg, FL -- In recent weeks Gov. Rick Scott has been announcing millions of dollars for road, port and airport projects along the I-4 corridor.

Scott has also been involved in jobs announcements like 3,500 new openings at Universal Studio due to the new Harry Potter attraction.

When placed on a map, you quickly notice a pattern: announcements all along the politically critical I-4 corridor.

"It's not coincidental," said Peter Schorsch of SaintPetersBlog.com. "Smartly -- maybe cynically -- Rick Scott is campaigning via the budget."

Yet Schorsch notes Scott is not the first politician to do this and he says it's a way for the Governor to get some good press while his potential opponent in the fall is getting free airtime too.

"It's kind of interesting, it's a battle of earned media between Charlie Crist's book tour and Rick Scott's budget announcements."

Even so, some Democrats say they don't like it the idea of playing politics with these projects.

"I think it's just a... bit disingenuous. After all, 19 and 118th Street have been on the state traffic plan for years and years and years," said Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long.

For his part, Scott has insisted he isn't playing politics. Scott says he's just increasing transportation spending to help create jobs, improve state roads and get Florida ports ready for the expansion of the Panama Canal.

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