(1) There is created within the Department of Transportation the Small County Outreach Program. The purpose of this program is to assist small county governments in repairing or rehabilitating county bridges, paving unpaved roads, addressing road-related drainage improvements, resurfacing or reconstructing county roads, or constructing capacity or safety improvements to county roads.
2(2) For the purposes of this section, the term “small county” means any county that has a population of 170,000 or less as determined by the most recent official estimate pursuant to s. 186.901. (3) Funds allocated under this program, pursuant to s. 4, ch. 2000-257, Laws of Florida, are in addition to any funds provided pursuant to s. 339.2816, for the Small County Road Assistance Program.
(4)(a) Small counties shall be eligible to compete for funds that have been designated for the Small County Outreach Program for projects on county roads. The department shall fund 75 percent of the cost of projects on county roads funded under the program.
(b) In determining a county’s eligibility for assistance under this program, the department may consider whether the county has attempted to keep county roads in satisfactory condition, which may be evidenced through an established pavement management plan.
(c) The following criteria shall be used to prioritize road projects for funding under the program:
1. The primary criterion is the physical condition of the road as measured by the department.
2. As secondary criteria the department may consider:
a. Whether a road is used as an evacuation route.
b. Whether a road has high levels of agricultural travel.
c. Whether a road is considered a major arterial route.
d. Whether a road is considered a feeder road.
e. Information as evidenced to the department through an established pavement management plan.
f. Other criteria related to the impact of a project on the public road system or on the state or local economy as determined by the department.
(5) The department is authorized to administer contracts on behalf of a county selected to receive funding for a project under this section. All projects funded under this section shall be included in the department’s work program developed pursuant to s. 339.135. (6) Funds paid into the State Transportation Trust Fund pursuant to s. 201.15 for the purposes of the Small County Outreach Program are hereby annually appropriated for expenditure to support the Small County Outreach Program. (7) Subject to a specific appropriation in addition to funds annually appropriated for projects under this section, a municipality within a rural area of opportunity or a rural area of opportunity community designated under s. 288.0656(7)(a) may compete for the additional project funding using the criteria listed in subsection (4) at up to 100 percent of project costs, excluding capacity improvement projects. 2Note.—
A. Section 97, ch. 2016-62, amended former paragraph (2)(b) “[i]n order to implement Specific Appropriation 1890 of the 2016-2017 General Appropriations Act.”
B. Section 126, ch. 2016-62, provides that “[i]f any other act passed during the 2016 Regular Session of the Legislature contains a provision that is substantively the same as a provision in this act, but that removes or is otherwise not subject to the future repeal applied to such provision by this act, the Legislature intends that the provision in the other act takes precedence and continues to operate, notwithstanding the future repeal provided by this act.” Section 45, ch. 2016-239, amended subsection (2) using language substantively similar to s. 97, ch. 2016-62, and did not include a repeal provision.