Edwards critical of plan to pay construction workers union wages - FOX 35 News Orlando

Edwards critical of plan to pay construction workers union wages

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards says a soccer stadium and other venues being built and proposed are costing millions more than they should.  He is upset over the inclusion of the Davis-Bacon Act in the deal. That act is a 1930s law designed to make sure anyone working on a federally funded construction project gets at least the prevailing union wage.

The city of Orlando included a provision in the venues deal that Davis-Bacon wages had to be paid, even though there is no federal funding of the projects.  Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards says that is a big problem for him.

"Based on everything I've looked at, it adds 5 to 8 percent to the construction cost, and these are construction projects that cost hundreds of millions of dollars."

Edwards tells FOX 35 he wants the language removed for what is left to construct of the Citrus Bowl and for the soccer stadium.

"It's going to drive up the cost. We have the Citrus Bowl, they're coming back where they are short 16 million dollars on a $175 million project, so, do the math."

Five percent of the price tag of those two buildings is in excess of $11 million.  We asked Edwards if he thought he could get the language removed before the Orange County Commission votes on $96 million of tourist tax funding for the venues that will include $20 million for a new soccer stadium, and an additional $12 million to boost the Citrus Bowl reconstruction?

"Well, whether its removed from the agreement or not, probable depends on whether there's five votes to support it the way it is.  So it will just come down to counting heads, and see how it is."

Edwards says he has not decided how he will vote on the soccer stadium. The Orlando Mayor's Office tells FOX 35 it put the Davis-Bacon labor clause in the deal so that the venues would not be built on the backs of city residents, and they believe workers building these projects should be paid a living wage.  Orlando has already approved the deal. 

The Orange County Commission votes on it October 22.

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