FloridaCommerce Press Releases

Governor Ron DeSantis Champions Rural Communities Across the State by Recommending Unprecedented Funding for Infrastructure, Planning, and Economic Development in the State’s 2022-2023 Budget

Dec 10, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Today, Governor DeSantis took unprecedented action to continue supporting Florida’s rural communities by proposing more than more than $230 million in the Freedom First Budget for rural communities through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, Rural Infrastructure Fund, Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Program, Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund, and Technical Assistance, Planning and Site Development grants. These programs make substantial impacts and directly support critical infrastructure improvements, strategic community planning and development, workforce training, and economic sustainability in Florida’s rural areas throughout the state, which significantly contribute to advancing Florida’s overall economic stability and continue to provide meaningful opportunity for all Floridians. 

“I applaud Governor DeSantis for advocating for Florida’s rural communities by proposing monumental funding allocations that will allow businesses and communities to identify and fund the completion of vital expansion, workforce training, infrastructure, and planning needs,” said Dane Eagle, Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). “The development and growth of rural communities in Florida is important to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of all Floridians. This proposed funding by Governor DeSantis will provide many rural communities across the state with access to resources to help harden infrastructure, continue developing local economies, attract new businesses, and provide workforce training.”

Hear what Florida’s rural communities and organizations are saying about Governor DeSantis’ efforts to champion rural communities across the state:

Jim Dean, City Manager, City of Marianna, “After looking over the highlights of the budget, the City of Marianna is very excited about the funding levels in both the Rural Infrastructure Fund and the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, both of which the City has participated in. These programs provide an funding to better compete for economic opportunity and jobs in rural Florida.”

Ted Everett, Executive Director, Washington County Economic Development Council, “We are blessed to have a Governor that understands the needs of rural Florida and is committed to providing the resources we need to make sure our rural counties enjoy economic success.”

Tiffany Garling, Executive Director, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, and Jackson County Economic Development Council, “The Freedom First Budget released today by Governor DeSantis continues to prove his commitment to job creation in Rural Florida. The increased allocation to the Rural Infrastructure Fund and the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund will have a tremendous impact on our economic and community development efforts in Jackson County and throughout the state.”

Glenn Hunter, Director of Economic Development for Columbia County, “After hearing the possibility of the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund being raised to $100 million and the Rural Infrastructure Fund raised to $105 million, I wanted to reach out to the state and ask how we can support this effort. This would give Columbia County the opportunity to be competitive in our Catalyst Site and win the large manufacturing projects going to other states. This is truly a game changer for rural communities.”

Patricia Steed, Executive Director, Central Florida Regional Planning Council, “Rural communities are a vital part of Florida, and an infusion of infrastructure and workforce funding is important for providing opportunities for our future. This allocation of resources towards infrastructure will aid in replacing and enhancing our current structures and allow us to plan for expansion. We in rural areas work together to prepare for the future, and we look forward to continue working with Governor DeSantis and his administration to make sure that all of Florida succeeds.

Carol West, a leader in economic development in Dixie County, “Our Governor DeSantis’ budget reflects his commitment to rural Florida with today’s announcement of $100 million for infrastructure! This is critical to Dixie County economic development initiatives.”

Richard Williams, Executive Director, Opportunity Florida, “With his Freedom First Budget, Governor DeSantis has clearly shown he supports rural Florida and that his administration is committed to making sure rural Florida enjoys the same level of economic success he has brought to our state. We have additional companies and individuals seeking to move to rural Florida because of the policies of his administration, and the Governor’s Freedom First Budget gives us the tools we need to continue moving rural Florida forward.”

Governor DeSantis’ Freedom First Budget includes record funding for rural communities, including: 

  • $105 million for the Rural Infrastructure Fund, an increase of $100 million over the current year;
  • $100 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund;
  • $16 million to support the Rebuild Florida Revolving Loan Program in areas affected by Hurricane Michael;
  • $8.5 million for Technical Assistance, Planning and Site Development Grants primarily focused on rural areas; and
  • $1.17 million for the Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Program.

About DEO

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce, and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities, and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org.


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