Transportation and Economic Development


Over the past several years, Florida has taken the brunt of several destructive hurricanes, including Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew, Irma and Michael. Although our state was prepared and responded immediately to limit the loss of life and property, the power of these storms continues to impact a great number of Floridians. Many of our communities and their citizens are only beginning to recover from hurricane damage and need assistance with a number of issues such as rebuilding their homes, finding other affordable housing, and getting their businesses up and running again. Assisting our fellow Floridians will require significant efforts across several programs and agencies. For the two most recent hurricanes to strike Florida - Irma and Michael - the State of Florida is projected to spend $1.7 billion on hurricane preparedness and recovery: $636.6 million for Hurricane Irma, and $1.1 billion so far for Hurricane Michael. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget recommends significant funding be directed towards hurricane recovery efforts through multiple state agencies. Programs that would be implemented with these funds include:

Division of Emergency Management

Open Federally Declared Disasters – Funding to Communities - $1.9 billion. Federal funding is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) so that communities can respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies as well as mitigate against future disasters or emergencies. Currently, there are a total of 137 hazard mitigation projects and over 35,000 public assistance worksheets open under various disasters and additional hazard mitigation projects and public assistance worksheets under federal review for recent disasters. Open Federally Declared Disasters – State Operations - $92 million. A portion of the federal assistance received from FEMA provides funds to leverage the work associated with the state operations relating to federally declared disasters for the Public Assistance, Hazard Mitigation, and Disaster Activity programs.

Department of Economic Opportunity

Housing Repair - $273.3 million. Rehabilitation or replacement program for low- and moderate-income families impacted by Hurricane Irma. Workforce Affordable Rental New Construction Program: Leveraged Financing - $44 million. Partnership between the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) to manage the construction of new affordable rental housing in areas impacted by Hurricane Irma. Funds would be leveraged with Low Income Housing Tax Credits, local or state Tax-Exempt Bond Financing in limited high-cost areas or other local financing to produce new affordable housing rental units. Workforce Affordable Rental New Construction Program: Small Rental Developments - $20 million. Stand-alone or the primary source of funds to finance development in rural areas impacted by the storm where leveraging of funds is not feasible. Funds will be provided as zero-interest, forgivable loans. This program is designated for rural and small communities and may be used to finance up to 100 percent of the cost of new construction or rehabilitation for small properties with less than 50 units. Land Acquisition for Affordable Workforce Housing - $20 million. Funding to purchase land for the development of affordable housing. DEO, in partnership with FHFC, will manage a program that will provide funding for the purchase of land with a priority for formal public/private commitments to develop affordable housing. Voluntary Home Buyout Program - $75 million. To encourage risk reduction through the acquisition of residential property in high flood risk areas. DEO will hire a contracted team to work with counties who are interested in pursuing the buyout projects to support and provide appraisals, title and legal services, environmental review, and related buyout processes. Recovery Workforce Training - $20 million. DEO, through its Division of Workforce Services, will utilize existing programs to implement a hurricane recovery workforce training program throughout the state of Florida. Business Recovery Grant - $60 million. DEO will create a grant program for eligible business owners who are seeking reimbursement for the cost of replacing equipment and inventory damaged by Hurricane Irma. Business Assistance to New Floridians from Puerto Rico - $6 million. DEO will implement a public assistance program for new businesses and entrepreneurs who have migrated from Puerto Rico. This program can include business plan guidance, information about specific regional market, accounting and legal assistance, licensing and permitting guidance, along with seminars and other forms of assistance. Unmet Needs - $185.6 million. For additional Workforce Affordable Rental Housing and other recovery needs, based on pending approval from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Hurricane Irma Marine Debris Removal - $4.5 million. This federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will help to remove trapped debris, displaced and derelict vessels, and other marine debris. Hurricane Irma Marine Fisheries Disaster Recovery - $44.4 million. This anticipated federal funding, also from NOAA, will provide relief to the fishing community in Florida-details are still being finalized between FWC and NOAA.

Ensuring Housing Availability for Working Families

Since the end of the Great Recession, Florida has enjoyed a level of economic growth and prosperity that is the envy of many other states. Although this growth has included the recovery of Florida’s construction industry and the creation of housing throughout the state, the fact remains that many Floridians find it difficult to find homes and apartments that are affordable within their family budgets. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget provides $338.4 million to fully fund Workforce and Affordable Housing Programs. Full funding of the program has not occurred in over a decade, since FY 2007-2008. This amount includes $95.4 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program and $242.9 million for the State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) Program. Both programs are administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), from a portion of the revenues received from documentary stamp taxes on real estate transfers. The SAIL Program, funded by the State Housing Trust Fund, provides low-interest loans on a competitive basis to developers of affordable rental housing. SAIL funds serve to bridge the gap between development primary financing and the total cost of the development, which allows developers to obtain the full financing needed to construct or rehabilitate affordable multifamily units. The SHIP Program, funded by the Local Government Housing Trust Fund, provides funds to local governments on a population-based formula as an incentive to produce and preserve affordable housing for very low, low, and moderate-income families. SHIP funds are distributed on an entitlement basis to all 67 counties and to 52 Community Development Block Grant entitlement cities in Florida. SHIP funds may be used to fund emergency repairs, new construction, rehabilitation, down payment and closing cost assistance, impact fees, construction and gap financing, mortgage buy-downs, acquisitions of property for affordable housing, matching dollars for federal housing grants and programs, and homeownership counseling.


Florida’s ability to be able to grow and prosper is due in no small part to having one of the best transportation systems in the country. From our top-ranked roads to our record setting seaports and international airports, our state’s transportation system allows for the safe and timely movement of people and goods from one place to another. Still, the nature and speed of Florida’s growth means we must continue to make significant investments in our transportation infrastructure to relieve traffic congestion, ensure efficiency and improve safety. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget provides $9.92 billion for the State Transportation Work Program. The Work Program is based on a five-year plan for the implementation and completion of transportation infrastructure projects throughout the state. The Fiscal Year 2019-20, Work Program includes: $3.2 billion to expand transportation system capacity which includes 102 new lane miles. $2.7 billion for highway construction. $160.8 million in seaport infrastructure improvements. $277.4 million for aviation improvements. $1.1 billion for scheduled repairs of 85 bridges and replacement of 22 bridges. $1.1 billion for maintenance and operation of existing facilities. $667.9 million for transit program improvements. $229 million for additional safety initiatives.

Increased Employment through Rapid Development of a Skilled Workforce and Improved Infrastructure for Key Priorities

While Florida has and will continue to experience a high level of job creation and economic development, it is wise to continue our policy of investing in infrastructure projects and workforce training initiatives that allow our economy to diversify and support the kinds of 21st Century businesses and jobs that will increasingly be created. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget includes $85 million for the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund provides funding for job training and public infrastructure projects that support growth and employment in Florida. Specifically, the program is designed to support economic diversification, economic recovery, or economic enhancement in targeted industries. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI), both identify projects, solicit proposals, and make funding recommendations to the Governor. Projects will be primarily focused on increased workforce training investments to rapidly develop a more highly-skilled workforce and on initiatives that can rapidly improve our water quality and supply projects such as “green” infrastructure.

Maintaining a Foundational Industry

While Florida continues to grow and diversify economically, it is undeniable that the tourism industry is one of our state’s economic foundations. Florida’s prosperity in recent years is due in no small part to the economic activity generated by over 100 million visitors to Florida every year. Although our state has much to offer, we cannot rest on our laurels and hope that our tourism success will continue without a strong state-level marketing program. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget recommends $76 million for VISIT FLORIDA, the same amount as in the current fiscal year. VISIT FLORIDA serves as the state's official tourism marketing corporation and Florida's official source for travel planning to visitors across the globe. The organization, along with its partners, facilitates tourism industry participation through various domestic and international marketing opportunities (e.g. domestic and international trade shows and consumer shows and media missions.) to top global visitor markets. VISIT FLORIDA also works closely with tour operators, travel agents and event planners as part of its marketing activities. In addition, the state’s five Official Welcome Centers are staffed by VISIT FLORIDA. At this proposed level of funding, we can be assured that Florida will set another record for the number of tourists visiting our state.

Ensuring Fair and Free Elections

It is no secret that because of close elections Florida is often the subject of intense scrutiny. Although Florida elections are administered at the local level, the state plays an important role in ensuring elections are conducted fairly and accurately and helps to make sure that Florida’s voting and registration systems are safe from cybersecurity threats. Currently, Florida’s Division of Elections within the Department of State is partially funded with federal dollars provided under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). However, federal HAVA funding is expected to end in Fiscal Year 2019-20. The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget recommends $12.2 million for state-level election oversight activities, with a focus on cybersecurity enhancements to Florida’s election system. $1.3 million will be used for five cyber security specialists and one project manager who will provide Supervisors of Elections with support and recommendations to combat cyber-security threats. A total of $3 million will be available to Supervisors of Elections to continue cybersecurity initiatives and improvements to their systems.

Ensuring Entrepreneurs and Businesses can Count on Us

The Division of Corporations within the Department of State administers important filing and record keeping functions on behalf of Florida’s companies and businesses. The Division serves as the state’s central depository for a variety of commercial activities, and processes over 400,000 new business filings and registrations per year. The Division currently maintains more than 8 million records, annually performs 5 million activities, and collects over $358 million in revenue. If any issues with maintaining this system occur, not only would the state experience a significant revenue loss, but there would be significant negative impacts on Florida’s business community, law enforcement agencies, the general public, and other agencies which depend on the Division’s commercial data and business activities.

The Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget recommends $12 million for replacement of the current commercial registry with a new cloud-based information technology system. The new system will be customer friendly, ensure the ongoing security of Florida’s business filings, and will have the capacity to accommodate an ever-increasing number of filings as the number of companies and businesses with a presence in Florida continues to grow.