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The purpose of the Rural Infrastructure Fund Grant is to facilitate the 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. The three types of grants available under the program are as follows:

  1. Total Project Participation Grants - Up to 30 percent of the total infrastructure project costs related to specific job-creating opportunities; and up to 40 percent of the total infrastructure project costs related to specific job-creating opportunities for projects located on a designated catalyst site.
  2. Infrastructure Feasibility Grants - Funding for infrastructure feasibility studies, design, and engineering or other planning and preparation activities that will help facilitate the location or expansion of specific job-creating opportunities. Grant awards are dependent on the number of jobs a business commits to create; and project location.
    • $50,000 (max.) for projects creating at least 100 jobs
    • $150,000 (max.) for projects creating at least 300 jobs
    • $300,000 (max.) for projects in a Rural Area of Opportunity (RAO)
  3. Preclearance Review Grants - This grant is used to help local governments access resources available pursuant to section 403.973(18), Florida Statutes, (Expedited permitting; comprehensive plan amendments). Grants may be used for surveys, feasibility studies and other activities related to the identification and preclearance review of land use modifications. Available funding and the required match is dependent on the location of the project and the degree to which administrative and consultant expenses are minimized.
    • $75,000 (max.) with a 50 percent local match
    • $300,000 (max.) with a 33 percent local match for activities in a RAO.

Florida Panhandle Specific Appropriation 2314

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. On January 10, 2020, Governor Ron 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.

Important Note

Feasibility Grants may be used in conjunction with Total Project Participation Grants. The total of both grants may not exceed 30 percent, or 40 percent for catalyst site projects, of the total project cost. Grant funds may not be used to cover administrative costs.

For more information about the Rural Infrastructure Fund, please email RIF@deo.myflorida.com.

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