Cuomo vetoes millions earmarked for LaValle Stadium expansion

Shoreham-Wading River High School football plays a championship game at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

Citing “unconstitutional alterations” to the state budget, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed millions in appropriations for stadium upgrades at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium earlier this month.

The vetoes include a $22 million appropriation in the 2015-16 state budget, originally intended to build a computational biomedicine visualization and drug development magnet facility at Stony Brook before it was altered to fund improvements to the stadium named for the local state senator, according to the Governor’s office.

The second veto rejected an additional $2 million set aside for an indoor practice facility and exam center at the university, which was also originally earmarked for the computational biomedicine visualization and drug development magnet facility, the Governor’s office stated in a press release earlier this month.

On Monday, Sen. LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said the appropriations, which were initially allocated in the state’s 2008-09 University Budget, were altered at the request of university officials, who have turned their focus to upgrading the stadium in order to grow the athletic program.

“[The biomedicine visualization and drug development magnet facility] became a project that was no longer relevant to the university at this time,” Mr. LaValle said. “University needs have changed. The expansion of the stadium became a priority for the university. At some future time they will need expanded seating to fulfill requirements that will allow them to go to a new conference. Number two, the scholar athletes look at the facility and that is a key element in their choosing of one university over another.”

Mr. LaValle said he had been in talks with the governor’s office along with the director of the division of budget since the fall of 2014 about this project.

“The governor’s office said during the discussion that if the Assembly and the Senate are on board it would be OK’ed,” he said. “Part of the budget process is that people can have short-term memories about what transpired.”

Governor Cuomo did not respond to requests for additional comment.

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