Governor Ron DeSantis announced $900,000 in funding for infrastructure projects in two rural communities in Northeast Florida this week. Administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF) provides funding to local governments for infrastructure projects in rural communities to encourage job creation and business investment and to strengthen and diversify rural economies.
“Rural communities are vital to the development and growth of Florida’s economy and I’m committed to helping them thrive,” said DeSantis. “Infrastructure improvements made available through the Rural Infrastructure Fund will help rural communities be able to attract businesses and provide more resilient infrastructure for the future of their local economy.”
The grant is to facilitate planning, preparing, and financing of traditional economic development or nature-based tourism infrastructure projects that encourage job creation and capital investment in rural communities.
The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) may award up to 40 percent of total costs for catalyst site projects, and no more than 30 percent of total costs for projects in rural counties that are not located on designated catalyst sites.
Columbia County is set to receive $500,000 to assist in funding the construction of a natural gas main loop that will serve existing and new businesses along the Bell Road Corridor. This project will provide necessary infrastructure to the existing distribution center and allow for expansion of the transportation logistics industry in this vital development area.
The project is expected to attract more than $1 million in capital investment in Columbia County and create an estimated 43 new jobs.
White Springs is set to receive $400,000 to help fund construction, engineering and inspection services to improve sewer system transmission capabilities and correct issues that caused overflows during Hurricane Irma to the Town of White Spring’s more than 40-year-old core sewer system.
On January 10, DeSantis announced that more than $5.4 million was awarded for infrastructure projects in 15 rural communities in Northwest Florida affected by Hurricane Michael through the Rural Infrastructure Fund Special Appropriation 2314 press release.
In 2019, the Florida Legislature created a specific appropriation for the RIF (Section 288.0655(6), Florida Statutes) that is available only to the following counties and municipalities within their boundaries: Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington.