Tallahassee, Florida – Governor Ron DeSantis announced a substantial funding initiative last week, granting over $24 million to sixteen rural areas in Florida through the Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF). This funding effort includes specific allocations for five communities that were affected by Hurricane Michael, with the goal of enhancing public infrastructure and boosting job opportunities for both businesses and residents in these rural areas.
In a further effort to support communities impacted by natural disasters, Governor DeSantis revealed an additional $5 million in RIF funds dedicated to areas affected by Hurricane Idalia. The deadline for applications is set for February 5, 2024, at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Anyone interested in learning more can visit this link.
Governor DeSantis emphasized the state’s commitment to its rural regions, stating, “We are committed to providing Florida’s rural communities with the resources they need to support long-term economic growth.” He underscored that these financial inputs are intended not only to enhance infrastructure but also to attract new businesses and boost the state’s growth.
The breakdown of the RIF awards reveals targeted investments in several communities, especially those hit by Hurricane Michael. For instance, the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners is set to receive $4,633,000 for critical water and roadway infrastructure improvements. $1,469,500 for the City of Bonifay to enhance its wastewater treatment plant and drinking water supply, a move expected to create 120 new jobs and bring in over $20 million in capital investments.
Similarly, the City of Quincy will benefit from two separate grants totaling $1,187,810 for extending a road and assessing the capacity of its wastewater treatment plant for future development. The City of Blountstown will receive $217,943 to improve and extend its waterlines, enhancing operational efficiency and reliability.
Additional communities are also recipients of these awards, with projects ranging from traffic and safety improvements in Columbia County to infrastructure extensions in Baker County. The City of Arcadia, Hamilton County Development Authority, Waccasassa Water and Wastewater Cooperative, and several other entities are set to receive funds for various infrastructure and development projects.
FloridaCommerce is scheduled to host a Technical Assistance Webinar on January 9, 2024. This webinar aims to provide an overview of the application process and offer guidance to potential applicants, ensuring that they can effectively utilize the available funds. To discover more about the RIF program and its impact, anyone interested can access further information here.