(1) There is created a public transit block grant program which shall be administered by the department. Block grant funds shall only be provided to “Section 9” providers and “Section 18” providers designated by the United States Department of Transportation and community transportation coordinators as defined in chapter 427. Eligible providers must establish public transportation development plans consistent, to the maximum extent feasible, with approved local government comprehensive plans of the units of local government in which the provider is located. In developing public transportation development plans, eligible providers must solicit comments from regional workforce boards established under chapter 445. The development plans must address how the public transit provider will work with the appropriate regional workforce board to provide services to participants in the welfare transition program. Eligible providers must provide information to the regional workforce board serving the county in which the provider is located regarding the availability of transportation services to assist program participants.
(2) Costs for which public transit block grant program funds may be expended include:
(a) Costs of public bus transit and local public fixed guideway capital projects.
(b) Costs of public bus transit service development and transit corridor projects. Whenever block grant funds are used for a service development project or a transit corridor project, the use of such funds is governed by s. 341.051. Local transit service development projects and transit corridor projects currently operating under contract with the department shall continue to receive state funds according to the contract until such time as the contract expires. Transit corridor projects, wholly within one county, meeting or exceeding performance criteria as described in the contract shall be continued by the transit provider at the same or a higher level of service until such time as the department, the M.P.O., and the service provider, agree to discontinue the service. The provider may not increase fares for services in transit corridor projects wholly within one county without the consent of the department.
(c) Costs of public bus transit operations.
All projects must be consistent, to the maximum extent feasible, with the approved local government comprehensive plans of the units of local government in which the project is located.
(3) The following limitations shall apply to the use of public transit block grant program funds:
(a) State participation in eligible capital projects shall be limited to 50 percent of the nonfederal share of such project costs.
(b) State participation in eligible public transit operating costs may not exceed 50 percent of such costs or an amount equal to the total revenue, excluding farebox, charter, and advertising revenue and federal funds, received by the provider for operating costs, whichever amount is less.
(c) No eligible public transit provider shall use public transit block grant funds to supplant local tax revenues made available to such provider for operations in the previous year; however, the Secretary of Transportation may waive this provision for public transit providers located in a county recovering from a state of emergency declared pursuant to part I of chapter 252.
(d) The state may not give any county more than 39 percent of the funds available for distribution under this section or more than the amount that local revenue sources provide to that transit system.
(4) To remain eligible to receive funding under the public transit block grant program, eligible public transit providers must comply with the requirements of s. 341.071(1) and the requirements of s. 341.071(2) and must comply with the provisions of paragraph (2)(b) relating to existing transit corridor projects.
(5) The department shall distribute 15 percent of the funds designated for the public transit block grant program into the Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund for distribution to community transportation coordinators as provided by the rules of the Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged.
(6) The department shall distribute 85 percent of the public transit block grant funds to “Section 9” and “Section 18” providers designated by the United States Department of Transportation. The funds shall be distributed to “Section 9” providers, and to “Section 18” providers that are not designated as community transportation coordinators pursuant to chapter 427, according to the following formula, except that at least $20,000 shall be distributed to each eligible provider if application of the formula provides less than that amount for any such provider:
(a) One-third shall be distributed according to the percentage that an eligible provider’s county population in the most recent year for which those population figures are available from the state census repository is of the total population of all counties served by eligible providers.
(b) One-third shall be distributed according to the percentage that the total revenue miles provided by an eligible provider, as verified by the most recent “Section 15” report to the Federal Transit Administration or a similar audited report submitted to the department, is of the total revenue miles provided by eligible providers in the state in that year.
(c) One-third shall be distributed according to the percentage that the total passengers carried by an eligible provider, as verified by the most recent “Section 15” report submitted to the Federal Transit Administration or a similar audited report submitted to the department, is of the total number of passengers carried by eligible providers in the state in that year.
(7)(a) Any funds distributed to an eligible provider pursuant to subsection (6) which cannot be expended within the limitations of the block grant program shall be returned to the department for redistribution to other eligible providers pursuant to that subsection.
(b) The department may consult with an eligible provider, before distributing funds to that provider pursuant to subsection (6), to determine whether the provider can expend its total block grant within the limitations of the block grant program. If the department and the provider agree that the total block grant cannot be expended, the provider may agree to accept a block grant of less than the total amount, in which case the funds that exceed such lesser agreed-upon amount shall be redistributed to other eligible providers pursuant to subsection (6).
(c) If an audit reveals that an eligible provider expended block grant funds on unauthorized uses, the provider must repay to the department an amount equal to the funds expended for unauthorized uses. The department shall redistribute such repayments to other eligible providers pursuant to subsection (6).
(8) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (5), (6), and (7), the department may supplement an eligible provider’s block grant allocation if funds are available; if requested by the M.P.O. or, if there is no M.P.O., by the county with jurisdiction; and if the department concurs in the request. Any supplement of a transit provider’s block grant shall be specifically identified in the tentative work program submitted by the department to the Legislature. The provisions of subsections (2) and (3) shall apply to total block grants as supplemented by allocations made under this subsection.