The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced last week $8.6 million in funding is available to rural communities in Florida through the Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF) grant program.
The RIF, administered by DEO, provides funding to local governments for infrastructure projects in rural communities to encourage job creation and business investment, as well as to strengthen and diversify rural economies.
“Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature continue to champion programs that help Florida’s rural communities generate sustainable economic growth through infrastructure, which will attract businesses and support a highly-trained workforce,” said Dane Eagle, the executive director of DEO, said on Thursday. “Our team looks forward to working with Florida’s rural communities to help improve the lives of Floridians by investing in and transforming local economies.”
To facilitate access to and maximize the use of state, federal, local and private resources, the Department may award RIF grants up to 50 percent of the total infrastructure project costs related to specific job-creation or job-retention opportunities. Eligible uses of funds include: public infrastructure for industrial or commercial sites; access and availability of broadband Internet service; improvements to inadequate infrastructure that has resulted in regulatory action; upgrades to or development of public tourism infrastructure; and planning and preparation for infrastructure.
$5 million in funding is available only to a six-county region impacted by Hurricane Michael in Northwest Florida through a competitive application cycle. Local governments and municipalities in Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington Counties have until November 30, 2020, to apply for infrastructure project funding. $3.6 million is dedicated to eligible rural local governments throughout Florida to apply for through June 20, 2021, or until all available funds are awarded.
Rural communities can learn more about the Rural Infrastructure Fund and how to apply at www.Floridajobs.org/RIF.