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2023 Florida Statutes (including 2023C)

Local government transportation infrastructure mitigation requirements.
F.S. 373.4139
373.4139 Local government transportation infrastructure mitigation requirements.
(1) The Legislature finds that environmental mitigation for the impact of transportation projects proposed as part of a coordinated multijurisdiction initiative undertaken with substantial funding from a discretionary sales surtax levied under s. 212.055 may be more effectively achieved by long-range mitigation planning by a responsible government rather than on a case-by-case basis.
(2) As used in this section, the county levying the surtax must be the government responsible for developing, permitting, and implementing the long-range mitigation plans, unless the county chooses not to be the responsible government and a responsible government is otherwise designated by an interlocal agreement executed by and between all local governments participating in the transportation initiative. This environmental mitigation process is not mandatory but may be initiated by the county levying the discretionary sales surtax, upon notice to the appropriate water management districts.
(3) The responsible government must develop its long-range mitigation plan for multijurisdictional transportation initiatives as follows:
(a) By May 1 of each year of the transportation initiative, the participating governments shall prepare an inventory of all wetland and surface water resources, subject to this part and 33 U.S.C. s. 1344, which may be impacted in the next 3 years of the participating government’s plan of construction for each transportation project and shall submit the environmental inventory to the responsible government. The environmental inventory shall include the information required in s. 373.4137(2)(b).
(b) Upon receipt of the environmental inventory, the responsible government shall develop a mitigation plan in consultation with the other participating governments, as well as with the appropriate water management districts, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and other appropriate federal and state governments. The responsible government shall submit the mitigation plan to the water management districts having jurisdiction over the mitigation or impact areas.
(c) The water management district having jurisdiction over the impact area shall review the mitigation plan for compliance with rules adopted pursuant to this part. When more than one water management district has responsibility for regulation of the transportation initiative, the water management districts shall enter into an agreement pursuant to s. 373.046(6) to designate a single water management district to review and approve the mitigation plan.
(d) The responsible government shall submit the mitigation plan to all appropriate federal agencies that require permitting or approval of wetland and surface water mitigation. The responsible government shall seek to obtain formal approval of the mitigation plan from the federal agencies.
(e) Specific transportation projects may be excluded from the mitigation plan and shall not be subject to this section upon agreement by the responsible government and the participating governments if the inclusion of the project would hamper the efficiency and timeliness of the mitigation planning and permitting process or the responsible government is unable to identify mitigation that would offset the impacts of the project.
(4) Upon the water management district’s approval, the mitigation plan shall be deemed to satisfy the mitigation requirements under this part and any other mitigation requirements imposed by local, regional, and state agencies for impacts identified in the environmental inventory. The approval of the appropriate water management district authorizes the environmental mitigation activities proposed in the mitigation plan, and no additional state, regional, or local permit or approval is necessary.
(5)(a) Concurrent with, or subsequent to, the approval of the mitigation plan, the participating governments shall make any necessary permit applications to the appropriate water management district that will be solely responsible for review and final action on the application required by this chapter. The responsible government must ensure that mitigation requirements specified by 33 U.S.C. s. 1344 are met for the impacts identified in the wetland inventory by implementing the mitigation plan approved by the water management district to the extent that the funding is provided by the participating governments.
(b) This section does not eliminate the need for the participating governments to comply with requirements to implement practicable design modifications, including realignment of transportation projects, to reduce or eliminate impacts of the transportation projects on wetlands and other surface waters as required by rules adopted pursuant to this part.
(6) To fund the long-range mitigation plan, the responsible government shall create an escrow account. The participating governments shall deposit funds into the account to pay for the environmental mitigation phase of projects budgeted for the current fiscal year. The responsible government shall maintain the escrow account for mitigation purposes only. Any interest earned from the escrow account may be used to offset the cost of the mitigation plan and must be credited to the participating governments’ transportation projects. The responsible government shall reimburse the water management district the actual costs it incurs in reviewing the mitigation plan.
(7) The mitigation plans shall be updated annually to reflect the most current plan of construction of the participating governments and may be amended throughout the year to anticipate schedule changes or additional projects that may arise.
History.s. 5, ch. 2003-409.