In his final day in office, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday effectively tapped the remaining dollars from a jobs fund by allocating $18.3 million to six regional projects. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund was created with an initial $85 million in 2017 after a legislative battle about Scott's request for economic-development money that could go directly to businesses.
Lawmakers during the 2018 session replenished the fund with $85 million for the current fiscal year, which began July 1. With the allocations Monday, Scott has used the fund for 56 projects across the state totaling $170 million, a news release from the governor's office said.
Scott will be replaced Tuesday by Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis. In the latest round of funding, Scott directed $5 million to the town of Callahan to provide water and wastewater service to an 1,841-acre industrial site; $4.7 million for Lakeland to develop two hangar facilities at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport; $2.3 million for Bradford County to build an access road through the Keystone Heights Airport; $1.7 million for Greenville to convert a building into a manufacturing facility and to construct a publicly owned building that would be leased as a grocery store; $971,500 for Avon Park to extend an industrial water and sewer system; and $3.6 million to create the State College of Florida Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.
The projects were selected from more than 100 proposals, seeking a combined $620 million in funding, submitted to the state Department of Economic Opportunity.