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More than $66M Awarded to Idalia-Impacted Areas

Funding through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund (JGGF) is aimed at infrastructure improvements and workforce development in the Big Bend region, the governor’s office said.

LIVE OAK, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced an award of more than $66 million to Hurricane Idalia-impacted communities, including more than $9.2 million to the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners, Madison County and Big Bend Technical College through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund (JGGF) for infrastructure improvements and workforce education expansion.

Another $50 million, through the Hurricane Idalia Recovery Grant Program, is aimed at assisting impacted communities with building repairs, debris removal and infrastructure projects, and $6.8 million, through the Florida Department of Transportation, will assist rural counties with road resurfacing and widening projects.

Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly said the funds support site-ready infrastructure that will inspire new business growth.

“Strategic investments in key infrastructure growth paired with Florida’s booming talent pipeline makes it possible for businesses to relocate and expand in Florida—benefitting Florida’s economy and the families in these communities for years to come,” he said.

The awards will help complete projects that were put on hold following Hurricane Idalia and create more than 390 new high-wage jobs and 180 new advanced manufacturing-trained graduates in north Florida, the governor’s office said.

The awards also build on more than $6 million awarded to support Hurricane Idalia recovery in the Big Bend region in addition to more than $1.9 million previously awarded through JGGF and $9.6 million awarded through the Rural Infrastructure Fund Program.

The following is a summary of the awards:

Workforce Education Job Growth Grant Fund

  • Big Bend Technical College ($5,000,000) — to assist in workforce recovery by offering postsecondary and dual-enrolled instruction and training, among other specialized continuing workforce training, by building a 10,000 square foot advanced manufacturing teaching facility.

Infrastructure Improvement Job Growth Grant Funds

  • Suwannee County ($2,218,000) — to support four new business opportunities and two expansion projects by constructing a wastewater plant at the Suwannee County Catalyst Site.
  • Madison County ($1,999,633) — to widen and resurface Bisbee Loop and construct an associated turn lane on CR 255, allowing for tractor trailers and other commercial traffic to have easy access to this rapidly growing area.

Hurricane Recovery Grant Program

The governor also announced the award of $50 million through the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s Hurricane Recovery Grant Program. These funds are awarded for 13 projects across 10 rural counties hit by Hurricane Idalia and projects include debris removal, beach renourishment, infrastructure repairs and waterway dredging. Funds are awarded to:

  • City of Crystal River - $275,000
  • Dixie County - $10,105,596
  • Hamilton County - $1,560,000
  • Hamilton County - $150,000
  • Hernando County - $350,000
  • Jefferson County - $3,225,000
  • Lafayette County - $1,425,000
  • Lafayette County - $1,500,000
  • Madison County Emergency Management - $14,700,000
  • Madison County Hospital - $2,200,000
  • Pinellas County - $7309,404
  • Suwannee County Sheriff - $2,150,000
  • Taylor County - $5,050,000

Small County Outreach Program

The governor also announced the award of $6.8 million through the Florida Department of Transportation’s Small County Outreach Program. These awards will be used for road resurfacing, pavement and road widening projects. Awardees include:

  • Taylor County ($2.2 million to resurface and widen a portion of 1st Avenue near Steinhatchee.)
  • Levy County ($1.5 million to address pavement needs on County Road 330.)
  • Madison and Suwannee Counties ($1.2 million to each county to for road resurfacing and widening)
  • Jefferson County ($769,000 to resurface and widen a portion of County Road 149.)

Individual home and business owners are also eligible for state assistance through the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program, which provides funds for repairs, insurance deductibles and down payments.

In addition to the state funding, the Florida Realtors® Disaster Relief Fund also provides financial assistance for storm victims. The application period for Hurricane Idalia relief has closed, but Florida Realtors members (as well as brokerage staff and employees with local boards and associations) impacted by the severe weather in the Panhandle area on Jan. 9, 2024, can apply. In addition, the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) Realtors Relief Foundation provided a $100,000 grant to Florida Realtors to help any Panhandle residents with housing issues resulting from the January storm. The application period for both closes July 9, 2024.

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