(1)(a) The department, in consultation with the Department of Economic Opportunity, may make and approve expenditures and contract with the appropriate governmental body for the direct costs of transportation projects. The Department of Economic Opportunity and the Department of Environmental Protection may formally review and comment on recommended transportation projects, although the department has final approval authority for any project authorized under this section.
(b) As used in this section, the term:
1. “Governmental body” means an instrumentality of the state or a county, municipality, district, authority, board, or commission, or an agency thereof, within which jurisdiction the transportation project is located and which is responsible to the department for the transportation project.
2. “Transportation project” means a transportation facility, as defined in s. 334.03, which the department, in consultation with the Department of Economic Opportunity, deems necessary to facilitate the economic development and growth of the state. (2) The department, in consultation with the Department of Economic Opportunity, shall review each transportation project for approval and funding. In the review, the department must consider:
(a) The cost per job created or retained considering the amount of transportation funds requested;
(b) The average hourly rate of wages for jobs created;
(c) The reliance on any program as an inducement for determining the transportation project’s location;
(d) The amount of capital investment to be made by a business;
(e) The demonstrated local commitment;
(f) The location of the transportation project in an enterprise zone as designated in s. 290.0055; (g) The location of the transportation project in a spaceport territory as defined in s. 331.304;
(h) The unemployment rate of the surrounding area; and
(i) The poverty rate of the community.
The department may contact any agency it deems appropriate for additional information regarding the approval of a transportation project. A transportation project must be approved by the department to be eligible for funding.
(3)(a) The department must approve a transportation project if it determines that the transportation project will:
1. Attract new employment opportunities to the state or expand or retain employment in existing companies operating within the state.
2. Allow for the construction or expansion of a state or federal correctional facility in a county having a population of 75,000 or fewer which creates new employment opportunities or expands or retains employment in the county.
(b) The department must ensure that small and minority businesses have equal access to participate in transportation projects funded pursuant to this section.
(c) In addition to administrative costs and equipment purchases specified in the contract, funds for approved transportation projects may be used for expenses that are necessary for building new, or improving existing, transportation facilities. Funds made available pursuant to this section may not be expended for the relocation of a business from one community to another community in this state unless the department determines that, without the relocation, the business will move outside the state or determines that the business has a compelling economic reason for the relocation, such as creating additional jobs.
(4) A contract between the department and a governmental body for a transportation project must:
(a) Specify that the transportation project is for the construction of a new or expanding business and specify the number of full-time permanent jobs that will result from the project.
(b) Identify the governmental body and require that the governmental body award the construction of the particular transportation project to the lowest and best bidder in accordance with applicable state and federal statutes or rules unless the transportation project can be constructed using existing local governmental employees within the contract period specified by the department.
(c) Require that the governmental body provide the department with quarterly progress reports. Each quarterly progress report must contain:
1. A narrative description of the work completed and whether the work is proceeding according to the transportation project schedule;
2. A description of each change order executed by the governmental body;
3. A budget summary detailing planned expenditures compared to actual expenditures; and
4. The identity of each small or minority business used as a contractor or subcontractor.
(d) Require that the governmental body make and maintain records in accordance with accepted governmental accounting principles and practices for each progress payment made for work performed in connection with the transportation project, each change order executed by the governmental body, and each payment made pursuant to a change order. The records are subject to financial audit as required by law.
(e) Require that the governmental body, upon completion and acceptance of the transportation project, certify to the department that the transportation project has been completed in compliance with the terms and conditions of the contract between the department and the governmental body and meets the minimum construction standards established in accordance with s. 336.045.
(f) Specify that the department transfer funds to the governmental body not more often than quarterly, upon receipt of a request for funds from the governmental body and consistent with the needs of the transportation project. The governmental body shall expend funds received from the department in a timely manner. The department may not transfer funds unless construction has begun on the facility of a business on whose behalf the award was made. A contract totaling less than $200,000 is exempt from the transfer requirement.
(g) Require that funds be used only on a transportation project that has been properly reviewed and approved in accordance with the criteria set forth in this section.
(h) Require that the governing board of the governmental body adopt a resolution accepting future maintenance and other attendant costs occurring after completion of the transportation project if the transportation project is constructed on a county or municipal system.
(5) For purposes of this section, Space Florida may serve as the governmental body or as the contracting agency for a transportation project within spaceport territory as defined by s. 331.304.
(6) Each governmental body receiving funds under this section shall submit to the department a financial audit of the governmental body conducted by an independent certified public accountant. The department, in consultation with the Department of Economic Opportunity, shall develop procedures to ensure that audits are received and reviewed in a timely manner and that deficiencies or questioned costs noted in the audit are resolved.
(7) The department shall monitor the construction or building site for each transportation project that receives funding under this section, including, but not limited to, the construction of the business facility, to ensure compliance with contractual requirements.