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Rural communities finally are given the attention they deserve in Florida Senate Bill 7068

I hate to say it but sometimes Florida’s rural communities get the short end of the stick. We typically have smaller communities, less hustle and bustle, and some may not consider us an economic engine for the state. 

But thankfully, Florida’s rural communities were given a seat at the table this past session with the passage of important legislation that will connect rural areas to metro areas throughout the state. The “Innovation in Infrastructure” Plan, or Senate Bill 7068, would speed up the planning and creation of multi-use corridors of regional economic significance that would accommodate multiple modes of transportation and other various infrastructure improvements, such as broadband and sewer access. 

Additionally, if signed into law, this legislation would authorize additional funding for the Small County Road Assistance Program, the Small County Outreach Program, and the Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund.

As this legislation is now in Governor DeSantis’ hands for his consideration, I ask him to keep in mind the much-needed and long-overdue revitalization this would bring to our rural communities. Our rural communities have some of the lowest populations in the state, having fallen behind during the last decade of economic growth. This plan would bring jobs and economic development to these areas and provide a new interconnectivity that would open up welcomed opportunities for prosperity.

Even more, if signed into law, this legislation would have positive impacts that would be felt well outside of our rural communities. By connecting our rural communities to metro hubs, the economic benefits of this legislation would be realized far and wide – all to the benefit of Floridians and the Sunshine State.

This legislation is more than just building new transportation corridors. It would also include water, sewer and broadband Internet – all of which are the building blocks of any successful and fruitful development.

With five million more people expected to make Florida their home by 2030, we need to promote job creation and economic development in rural communities in order to facilitate economic prosperity throughout all of Florida.

The “Innovation in Infrastructure” Plan, SB 7068, gives rural counties the attention they deserve and need. All of Florida should be prioritized – not urban areas over rural – and this legislation does just that. I ask Governor DeSantis to sign this positive measure into law.

Originally Published on The News-Press.


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