Regional Planning Councils Awarded $2.5 Million
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida General Planning Support Program awarded three regional planning councils $2.5 million in grants to develop regional and statewide resiliency plans.
“The resiliency of the state of Florida remains a top priority for my administration as we approach the two-year anniversary of my executive order to achieve more now for Florida’s environment,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I’m pleased to build on our environmental achievements with this first-of-its-kind, mitigation program that will provide Florida’s communities the opportunity to become more resilient to future storms.”

The following regional planning councils were awarded grant funds:
  • East Central Florida Regional Planning Council ($1,499,000) – to work in coordination with Florida’s regional planning councils to develop a statewide approach to flood planning that will transfer models and planning efforts developed in coastal areas to inland areas to provide a regional framework.
  • Northeast Florida Regional Council ($700,000) – to develop a comprehensive regional resilience plan for the healthcare industry in 18 counties in Northeast Florida.
  • Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council ($350,000) – to develop a regional food security plan across seven Southwest Florida counties.
Apalachee RPC Expands Revolving Loan Fund Program
The Apalachee RPC expanded its Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program, with the addition of two new funds totaling just over $1.5 million. Active since 1984, the Council’s legacy RLF program relied on outstanding loan principal being repaid before having funds to process new loans. New federal funding became available via the Hurricane Michael Disaster Supplemental Act and the CARES Act and the Apalachee RPC Economic Development team took action. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded the Council an $800,000 grant which was matched with a $200,000 investment by the Tallahassee-Leon Office of Economic Vitality. Together these funds were used to establish the Regional Economies Vested in Vital Enterprises (REVIVE!) program. REVIVE! will assist to grow small businesses and create more jobs within Leon County and the City of Tallahassee. 

The EDA also provided the Apalachee RPC a separate award of $580,000 to support the CARES Act RLF. This RLF provides businesses in Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Liberty, and Wakulla counties with gap financing to help them survive and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
To date, two CARES Act revolving loans have been processed. Loan recipients include the Telogia Trading Post, a locally owned convenience store in Liberty County and the Norris Smokehouse, a meat-processing and retail sausage producer in Calhoun County. Staff continues to work promoting the REVIVE! RLF and CARES Act RLF programs to small business owners within the Apalachee Region and guiding loan applicants through the application process. For more information visit:
South Florida RPC Assists with
COVID-19 Travel Behavior Trend Analysis
The South Florida RPC is undertaking a COVID-19 Travel Behavior Trend Analysis for the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization (TPO). As a result of the pandemic, major shifts in economic activity affected Southeast Florida’s economic sectors such as the hospitality industry. The nature of these shifts needs to be examined for the long-term effects on the transportation network and the ability of regional economy to adapt and thrive. The Trend Analysis will be multi-modal and include an analysis of vehicular traffic, as well as pedestrian, bicycle, freight, seaport, and airport activity.

The goal of the work is to identify changes in travel patterns that have occurred due to the pandemic and assess whether those trends will have long-term impacts on the use of the transportation network. The data collection portion of the study is expected to be completed by mid-February and is primarily provided by the TPO. Additional data sources such as the Florida Department of Transportation and Google Analytics will also be used. The results will be reviewed using literature and GIS analysis.

The Miami-Dade County Long Range Transportation Planning process addresses mobility, safety, security, resiliency, and sustainability within a twenty-year horizon while also considering the impact of emerging technologies and innovation on the County’s existing and future transportation infrastructure. The results of the Council’s analysis will ultimately assist the TPO in its multi-modal, long range transportation planning for Miami-Dade County for decades to come. For more information contact: Christina Miskis, Regional Planner,
Northeast Florida RC Establishes
Economic Resilience Taskforce
The Northeast Florida RC recently established the “Northeast Florida Economic Resilience Taskforce” to assist the region in responding to economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy group, which convened for the first time in October of 2020, is focused on both immediate solutions and long-range economic resilience planning. In ensuring that community perspectives are accounted for throughout the process, membership is comprised of subject matter experts from across the region; with representation from local governments, elected official commissions, economic development agencies and the private sector. The Northeast Florida RC, which serves as the designated Economic Development District for Northeast Florida, will work closely to align the priorities of this initiative with the goals and objectives of the Region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. 

The official charge of the Taskforce is to comprehensively assess the conditions with which local communities in Northeast Florida are dealing. Once context is established, and baseline economic conditions are clearly understood, the Taskforce will recommend actionable strategies to assist member governments and communities in meeting short-term economic recovery objectives relating to the coronavirus pandemic. In developing these recommendations, Taskforce members will review existing economic damage surveys, data and reports; and will make inventory of available strategies that can increase the region’s resilience to disruptions. Following implementation of a ‘Coronavirus Economic Recovery Action Plan,’ the Taskforce will expand its scope to address challenges relating to long-range economic resilience planning.”

The Northeast Florida Economic Resilience Taskforce was made possible by a 2020 CARES Act Supplemental Award provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. For more information, and to sign up for an interested parties list, please visit: