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The Florida Statutes

The 2020 Florida Statutes

Title XXVI
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Chapter 338
LIMITED ACCESS AND TOLL FACILITIES
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F.S. 338.2278
338.2278 Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program.
(1) There is created within the department the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program. The purpose of the program is to revitalize rural communities, encourage job creation, and provide regional connectivity while leveraging technology, enhancing quality of life and public safety, and protecting the environment and natural resources. The objective of the program is to advance the construction of regional corridors that are intended to accommodate multiple modes of transportation and multiple types of infrastructure. The intended benefits of the program include, but are not limited to, addressing issues such as:
(a) Hurricane evacuation.
(b) Congestion mitigation.
(c) Trade and logistics.
(d) Broadband, water, and sewer connectivity.
(e) Energy distribution.
(f) Autonomous, connected, shared, and electric vehicle technology.
(g) Other transportation modes, such as shared-use nonmotorized trails, freight and passenger rail, and public transit.
(h) Mobility as a service.
(i) Availability of a trained workforce skilled in traditional and emerging technologies.
(j) Protection or enhancement of wildlife corridors or environmentally sensitive areas.
(k) Protection or enhancement of primary springs protection zones and farmland preservation areas designated within local comprehensive plans adopted under chapter 163.
(2) The program is composed of all of the following corridors:
(a) Southwest-Central Florida Connector, extending from Collier County to Polk County.
(b) Suncoast Connector, extending from Citrus County to Jefferson County.
(c) Northern Turnpike Connector, extending from the northern terminus of the Florida Turnpike northwest to the Suncoast Parkway.
(3)(a) Projects undertaken in the corridors identified in subsection (2) are tolled facilities and approved turnpike projects that are part of the turnpike system, and are considered as Strategic Intermodal System facilities.
(b) During the project development phase, the department shall identify opportunities to accommodate or colocate multiple types of infrastructure-addressing issues, such as those identified in subsection (1), within or adjacent to the corridors.
1(c)1. During the project development phase, the department shall utilize an inclusive, consensus-building mechanism for each proposed multiuse corridor identified in subsection (2). For each multiuse corridor identified in subsection (2), the department shall convene a corridor task force composed of appropriate representatives of:
a. The Department of Environmental Protection;
b. The Department of Economic Opportunity;
c. The Department of Education;
d. The Department of Health;
e. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;
f. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services;
g. The local water management district or districts;
h. A local government official from each local government within a proposed corridor;
i. Metropolitan planning organizations;
j. Regional planning councils;
k. The community, who may be an individual or a member of a nonprofit community organization, as determined by the department; and
l. Appropriate environmental groups, such as 1000 Friends of Florida, Audubon Florida, the Everglades Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the Florida Sierra Club, and the Florida Wildlife Corridor, as determined by the department.
2. The secretary of the department shall appoint the members of the respective corridor task forces by August 1, 2019.
3. Each corridor task force shall coordinate with the department on pertinent aspects of corridor analysis, including accommodation or colocation of multiple types of infrastructure, addressing issues such as those identified in subsection (1), within or adjacent to the corridor.
4. Each corridor task force shall evaluate the need for, and the economic and environmental impacts of, hurricane evacuation impacts of, and land use impacts of, the related corridor as identified in subsection (2).
5. Each corridor task force shall hold a public meeting in accordance with chapter 286 in each local government jurisdiction in which a project within an identified corridor is being considered.
6. To the maximum extent feasible, the department shall adhere to the recommendations of the task force created for each corridor in the design of the multiple modes of transportation and multiple types of infrastructure associated with the corridor. The task force for each corridor may consider and recommend innovative concepts to combine right-of-way acquisition with the acquisition of lands or easements to facilitate environmental mitigation or ecosystem, wildlife habitat, or water quality protection or restoration. The department, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, may incorporate those features into each corridor during the project development phase.
7. The Southwest-Central Florida Connector corridor task force shall:
a. Address the impacts of the construction of a project within the corridor on panther and other critical wildlife habitat and evaluate in its final report the need for acquisition of lands for state conservation or as mitigation for project construction; and
b. Evaluate wildlife crossing design features to protect panther and other critical wildlife habitat corridor connections.
8. The Suncoast Connector corridor task force and the Northern Turnpike Connector corridor task force shall evaluate design features and the need for acquisition of state conservation lands that mitigate the impact of project construction within the respective corridors on:
a. The water quality and quantity of springs, rivers, and aquifer recharge areas;
b. Agricultural land uses; and
c. Wildlife habitat.
9. Each corridor task force shall issue its evaluations in a final report that must be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by November 15, 2020.
10. The department shall provide affected local governments with a copy of the applicable task force report and project alignments. Not later than December 31, 2023, a local government that has an interchange within its jurisdiction shall review the applicable task force report and its local comprehensive plan as adopted under chapter 163. The local government review must include consideration of whether the area in and around the interchange contains appropriate land uses and natural resource protections and whether the comprehensive plan should be amended to provide such appropriate uses and protections.
(4)(a) Project construction in any corridor identified in subsection (2) is not eligible for funding until submission of the final report of the corridor task force for that corridor required in subsection (3) and completion of 30 percent of the design phase of any project within a corridor identified in subsection (2), except for project phases that are under construction or for which project alignment has been determined.
(b) Subject to the economic and environmental feasibility statement requirements of s. 338.223, projects may be funded through turnpike revenue bonds or right-of-way and bridge construction bonds or financing by the Florida Department of Transportation Financing Corporation; by advances from the State Transportation Trust Fund; with funds obtained through the creation of public-private partnerships; or any combination thereof. The department also may accept donations of land for use as transportation rights-of-way or to secure or use transportation rights-of-way for such projects in accordance with s. 337.25. To the extent legally available, any toll revenues from the turnpike system not required for payment of principal, interest, reserves, or other required deposits for bonds; costs of operations and maintenance; other contractual obligations; or system improvement project costs must be used to repay advances received from the State Transportation Trust Fund.
(c)1. Projects undertaken under this section are subject to the department’s delegated responsibilities under s. 334.044(34) for environmental review, consultation, or other action required under any federal environmental law applicable to review or approval of such projects. For projects that do not receive federal aid or projects that do not require federal action, the department must perform a project evaluation that considers the following:
a. Project purpose and need;
b. An alternatives analysis;
c. Existing conditions of the project area and potential impacts or enhancements the project may have on social, economic, cultural, natural, and connectivity issues and resources;
d. Anticipated permits identified during the project development and environmental study;
e. Opportunities for stakeholder and regulatory agency coordination; and
f. Public and agency comments and coordination.
2. At a minimum, for projects constructed under this section, decisions on matters such as corridor configuration, project alignment, and interchange locations must be determined in accordance with applicable department rules, policies, and procedures.
3. To the greatest extent practical, corridor configuration, project alignment, and interchange locations shall be designed so that project rights-of-way are not located within conservation lands acquired under the Florida Preservation 2000 Act as established in s. 259.101, and the Florida Forever program as established in s. 259.105.
(5) In accordance with ss. 337.276, 338.227, and 339.0809, the Division of Bond Finance may issue on behalf of the department right-of-way and bridge construction bonds, turnpike revenue bonds, and Florida Department of Transportation Financing Corporation bonds to finance program projects, as provided in the State Bond Act.
(6) To the maximum extent feasible, construction of the projects shall begin no later than December 31, 2022, with the corridors open to traffic no later than December 31, 2030.
(7) Funds that result from increased revenues to the State Transportation Trust Fund derived from the amendments to s. 320.08 made by this act and deposited into the fund pursuant to s. 320.20(5)(a) must be used as follows:
(a) For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, $45 million shall be retained in the State Transportation Trust Fund, and the remaining funds shall be transferred to the General Revenue Fund.
(b) For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, $90 million shall be retained in the State Transportation Trust Fund, and the remaining funds shall be transferred to the General Revenue Fund.
(c) For the 2021-2022 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, all of the funds shall be retained in the State Transportation Trust Fund.
(8) The amounts identified in subsection (7) by fiscal year shall be allocated as follows:
(a) For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, to the:
1. Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program, $12.5 million, to be used as specified in this section;
2. Small County Road Assistance Program, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 339.2816, with preference to projects in counties impacted by hurricanes;
3. Small County Outreach Program, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 339.2818, with preference to projects in counties impacted by hurricanes;
4. Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 427.0159; and
5. Workforce development program, $2.5 million, to be used as specified in s. 334.044(35).
(b) For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, to the:
1. Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program, $57.5 million, to be used as specified in this section;
2. Small County Road Assistance Program, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 339.2816, with preference to projects in counties impacted by hurricanes;
3. Small County Outreach Program, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 339.2818, with preference to projects in counties impacted by hurricanes;
4. Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 427.0159; and
5. Workforce development program, $2.5 million, to be used as specified in s. 334.044(35).
(c) For the 2021-2022 fiscal year, to the:
1. Small County Road Assistance Program, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 339.2816, with preference to projects in counties impacted by hurricanes;
2. Small County Outreach Program, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 339.2818, with preference to projects in counties impacted by hurricanes;
3. Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 427.0159;
4. Workforce development program, $2.5 million, to be used as specified in s. 334.044(35); and
5. The remaining funds under this paragraph shall be used for the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program, as specified in this section.
(d) For the 2022-2023 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, to the:
1. Small County Road Assistance Program, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 339.2816, with preference to projects in counties impacted by hurricanes;
2. Small County Outreach Program, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 339.2818, with preference to projects in counties impacted by hurricanes;
3. Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund, $10 million, to be used as specified in s. 427.0159; and
4. The remaining funds under this paragraph shall be used for the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program, as specified in this section.
(e) Funds allocated to the Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund in this subsection shall be used to award competitive grants to community transportation coordinators and transportation network companies for the purposes of providing cost-effective, door-to-door, on-demand, and scheduled transportation services that:
1. Increase a transportation disadvantaged person’s access to and departure from job training, employment, health care, and other life-sustaining services;
2. Enhance regional connectivity and cross-county mobility; or
3. Reduce the difficulty in connecting transportation disadvantaged persons to a transportation hub and from the hub to their final destination.
(f) The funds allocated as provided in this subsection shall be in addition to any other statutory funding allocations provided by law.
1(g)1. Except as provided in subparagraph 2., in each fiscal year in which funding provided under this subsection for the Small County Road Assistance Program, the Small County Outreach Program, the Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund, or the workforce development program is not committed by the end of each fiscal year, such uncommitted funds shall be used by the department to fund Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program projects. As provided in s. 339.135(7), the adopted work program may be amended to transfer funds between appropriations categories or to increase an appropriation category to implement this paragraph.
2. For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, funding provided under this subsection for the Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund under paragraph (a) which is uncommitted at the end of the 2019-2020 fiscal year may be used as provided in the General Appropriations Act.
(9) The department, in its discretion and for hurricane-impacted counties, may waive consideration of local matching funds under s. 339.2816, relating to the Small County Road Assistance Program, and may waive the match requirement of s. 339.2818, relating to the Small County Outreach Program, with respect to project awards funded by the allocations to those programs provided in this section.
History.s. 1, ch. 2019-43; ss. 90, 91, ch. 2020-114.
1Note.

A. Section 90, ch. 2020-114, amended paragraphs (3)(c) and (8)(g) “[i]n order to implement Specific Appropriation 1915 through 1929, 1929F through 1929J, 1943 through 1951, 1953 through 1962, and 1999A through 2011 of the 2020-2021 General Appropriations Act.”

B. Section 91, ch. 2020-114, provides that “[t]he amendments to s. 338.2278(3)(c) and (8)(g), Florida Statutes, by this act expire July 1, 2021, and the texts of those paragraphs shall revert to that in existence on June 30, 2020, except that any amendments to such text enacted other than by this act shall be preserved and continue to operate to the extent that such amendments are not dependent upon the portions of text which expire pursuant to this section.” Effective July 1, 2021, paragraphs (3)(c) and (8)(g), as amended by s. 91, ch. 2020-114, will read:

(c)1. During the project development phase, the department shall utilize an inclusive, consensus-building mechanism for each proposed multiuse corridor identified in subsection (2). For each multiuse corridor identified in subsection (2), the department shall convene a corridor task force composed of appropriate representatives of:

a. The Department of Environmental Protection;

b. The Department of Economic Opportunity;

c. The Department of Education;

d. The Department of Health;

e. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;

f. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services;

g. The local water management district or districts;

h. A local government official from each local government within a proposed corridor;

i. Metropolitan planning organizations;

j. Regional planning councils;

k. The community, who may be an individual or a member of a nonprofit community organization, as determined by the department; and

l. Appropriate environmental groups, such as 1000 Friends of Florida, Audubon Florida, the Everglades Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the Florida Sierra Club, and the Florida Wildlife Corridor, as determined by the department.

2. The secretary of the department shall appoint the members of the respective corridor task forces by August 1, 2019.

3. Each corridor task force shall coordinate with the department on pertinent aspects of corridor analysis, including accommodation or colocation of multiple types of infrastructure, addressing issues such as those identified in subsection (1), within or adjacent to the corridor.

4. Each corridor task force shall evaluate the need for, and the economic and environmental impacts of, hurricane evacuation impacts of, and land use impacts of, the related corridor as identified in subsection (2).

5. Each corridor task force shall hold a public meeting in accordance with chapter 286 in each local government jurisdiction in which a project within an identified corridor is being considered.

6. To the maximum extent feasible, the department shall adhere to the recommendations of the task force created for each corridor in the design of the multiple modes of transportation and multiple types of infrastructure associated with the corridor. The task force for each corridor may consider and recommend innovative concepts to combine right-of-way acquisition with the acquisition of lands or easements to facilitate environmental mitigation or ecosystem, wildlife habitat, or water quality protection or restoration. The department, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection, may incorporate those features into each corridor during the project development phase.

7. The Southwest-Central Florida Connector corridor task force shall:

a. Address the impacts of the construction of a project within the corridor on panther and other critical wildlife habitat and evaluate in its final report the need for acquisition of lands for state conservation or as mitigation for project construction; and

b. Evaluate wildlife crossing design features to protect panther and other critical wildlife habitat corridor connections.

8. The Suncoast Connector corridor task force and the Northern Turnpike Connector corridor task force shall evaluate design features and the need for acquisition of state conservation lands that mitigate the impact of project construction within the respective corridors on:

a. The water quality and quantity of springs, rivers, and aquifer recharge areas;

b. Agricultural land uses; and

c. Wildlife habitat.

9. Each corridor task force shall issue its evaluations in a final report that must be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by October 1, 2020.

10. The department shall provide affected local governments with a copy of the applicable task force report and project alignments. Not later than December 31, 2023, a local government that has an interchange within its jurisdiction shall review the applicable task force report and its local comprehensive plan as adopted under chapter 163. The local government review must include consideration of whether the area in and around the interchange contains appropriate land uses and natural resource protections and whether the comprehensive plan should be amended to provide such appropriate uses and protections.

* * * * *

(g) In each fiscal year in which funding provided under this subsection for the Small County Road Assistance Program, the Small County Outreach Program, the Transportation Disadvantaged Trust Fund, or the workforce development program is not committed by the end of each fiscal year, such uncommitted funds shall be used by the department to fund Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program projects. As provided in s. 339.135(7), the adopted work program may be amended to transfer funds between appropriations categories or to increase an appropriation category to implement this paragraph.