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Program Summary

The purpose of the Rural Infrastructure Fund Grant is to facilitate the planning, preparing and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities which will encourage job creation, capital investment and the strengthening and diversification of rural economies. The RIF program is intended to facilitate access of rural communities to infrastructure funding programs, such as those offered by the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), United States Department of Agriculture - Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the United States Department of Commerce - Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Grant Categories

Total Project Participation Grants:

To facilitate access and maximize the use of state, federal, local and private resources, grants may be awarded for up to 50 percent of the total infrastructure project costs related to specific job-creating or job-retention opportunities. Eligible uses of funds include:

  • Improvements to public infrastructure for industrial or commercial sites;
  • Upgrades to or development of public tourism infrastructure;
  • Improvements to access and availability of broadband Internet service; and
  • Improvements to inadequate infrastructure that has resulted in regulatory action. 

 

Project Planning and Preparation Grants:

To facilitate timely response and induce the location or expansion of specific job creating opportunities, grants may be awarded for infrastructure feasibility studies, design and engineering activities, or other infrastructure planning and preparation activities. Grants awarded under this category may be used in conjunction with Total Project Participation grants provided the total amount of both grants does not exceed 30 percent of the total project cost. Maximum amounts of grants:

  • $50,000 for employment project with a business committed to create at least 100 jobs;
  • $150,000 for employment project with a business committed to create at least 300 jobs; and
  • $300,000 for a project in a rural area of opportunity.
 

Preclearance Review Grants:

To enable rural communities to access the resources available under the Expedited Permitting – Preclearance Review Process (Section 403.973(18), Florida Statutes), grants may be awarded for surveys, feasibility studies, and other activities related to the identification and preclearance review of land which is suitable for preclearance review. Maximum amounts and match requirements:

  • Projects located outside a Rural Area of Opportunity - $75,000 with 50 percent local funds match.
  • Projects located within a Rural Area of Opportunity - $300,000 with 33 percent local funds match.
  • Projects located within a catalyst site (as defined in Section 288.056, Florida Statutes): maximum amounts same as above with local funds match requirement waived.

 

FY 2020-2021 RIF Legislation and Appropriation

The 2020 Florida Legislature passed legislation amending certain sections of the RIF statute (Section 288.0655, F.S.) and appropriating funds for the FY 2020-2021 RIF program. Statutory changes are summarized as follows:

  • Grants may be awarded for up to 50% of the total infrastructure project cost (previously 30%).
  • Removes language allowing up to 40% grant award for projects specific to funding for a catalyst site.
  • Eligible projects and uses of funds may include improving access to and the availability of broadband Internet service.
  • Eligible uses of funds shall include improvements to broadband Internet service and access in unserved or underserved rural communities.
    • Improvements to broadband Internet service and access must be conducted through a partnership(s) with one or more dealers registered with the Department of Revenue as a provider of communications services in Florida.
    • Partnership(s) must be established through a competitive selection process that is publicly noticed.
  • Removes projects located in an enterprise zone as a factor for evaluation of funding applications.
  • Adds specific information/terms that must be included in contract/agreement language.
  • By September 2021, DEO shall reevaluate existing RIF guidelines and criteria governing submission of applications for funding, review/evaluation of applications, and approval of funding.

FY 2020-2021 RIF total appropriation - $8.6 million

  • $3.6 million in RIF base funding
  • $5 million in Florida Panhandle Specific Appropriation

FY 2020-2021 Grant Application Cycles

$3.6 Million RIF base funding appropriation: The application cycle will open September 30, 2020 and is open-ended through June 30, 2021, or until all available funds are awarded. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.  Awards will be recommended based on application completeness, eligibility and statutory factors for funding consideration.

Eligible Applicants are units of local government within an area designated as a Rural Area of Opportunity or a rural county or community as defined by the Rural Economic Development Initiative (pursuant to Section 288.0656, Florida Statutes).

$5 Million Florida Panhandle Specific Appropriation 2280: The competitive application cycle will open on September 30, 2020 and closes on November 30, 2020.  Applications will be reviewed upon closing of the application cycle and awards will be recommended based on application completeness, eligibility and statutory factors for funding consideration.  Any unawarded funds may be made available for additional application cycles during the FY 2020/2021.

Eligible Applicants are local governments of Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington counties and all municipalities within their boundaries.

Interested applicants must REGISTER to receive a personalized link to the online RIF FY 20/21 Application. Each application to be submitted must be registered separately. 

Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) 23687223.
RIF FY 2020/2021 Online Application Instructions

FY 2020-2021 Grant Application Workshop Webinar

  • The Rural Infrastructure Fund FY 2020/2021 Grant Application Workshop webinar was held on October 8, 2020, at 2 p.m., E.T. The webinar provided an overview of the RIF grant program and detailed instructions to complete and submit the grant application.
  • RIF FY 2020/2021 Application Overview PowerPoint Presentation

Application Information and Documents

Additional Information and Resources

For questions or requests for technical assistance regarding the RIF program, proposed projects, or completion and submission of applications, please email RIF@deo.myflorida.com.

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