TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Rick Scott announced Jan. 24 that local defense partners in Pinellas County were awarded $200,000 through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure Grant.
Pinellas County was one of eight counties to receive a Defense Infrastructure Grant, which allotted $1.6 million to eight governments statewide.
Scott said, “These investments are critical to the continued growth and protection of Florida’s military sector. This $200,000 investment will allow Pinellas County to address encroachment and buffering, transportation and access, and security issues. Across Florida, our military servicemen and women are dedicating their lives to protect our state and nation, and we must continue to fund these vital programs and protect the over 758,000 jobs the military and defense industry supports in Florida.”
Florida’s military and defense industry is responsible for $73.4 billion, or 9.4 percent, of Florida’s gross state product, which translates to jobs for more than 758,000 Floridians.
In Pinellas County, the military and defense industry is credited with $3.61 billion in in economic impact and 39,702 jobs. This grant has been utilized for more than 15 years as a key tool in maintaining Florida’s reputation as the most military-friendly state in the nation.
Sen. Jack Latvala said, “Local military installations have long been an important part of our lives in Pinellas County. The grant funds will be put to good use building the pedestrian walkway at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.”
Sen. Jeff Brandes said, “Gov. Scott and the Legislature know the importance of supporting our military families and I applaud them for awarding $200,000 to Pinellas County.”
Rep. Ed Hooper said, “The impact of Florida’s military bases is often overlooked as an economic driver for the state. More than $70 billion in inserted annually into our economy by more than 750,000 personnel living in our state and, as a result, nearly 40,000 jobs have been created right here in Pinellas County. These grants go a long way to help preserve this economic asset.”
Rep. Larry Ahern said, “The grant will help our military bases with much needed infrastructure improvements. These improvements will keep both military personnel and local citizens safe and secure. I applaud Gov. Scott and our Legislature for addressing this need.”
Rep. Jamie Grant said, “These grants go a long way in helping preserve the economic impact our military bases and families have on Florida. I sincerely thank Gov. Scott and the Legislature for continuing to support the military in Pinellas County and across the state.”
Rep. Kathleen Peters said, “Florida’s military sector continues to be among the strongest in the nation thanks to critical funding from these two programs. Gov. Scott and the Legislature continue to support these programs and, in turn, allow us to keep more than $3.6 billion in economic impact here in Pinellas County. I thank them for awarding this funding to our community.”
Mike Meidel, director of Pinellas County Economic Development said, “Pinellas County is honored to be able, with our partners, to enhance the campus of the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater at the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) through this Defense Infrastructure Grant.
“Clearwater is the largest and busiest Air Station in the Coast Guard, and with this grant we will address safety concerns and improve pedestrian access. The USCG Air Station Clearwater, the U.S. Army Reserve and the Florida National Guard employ over 700 personnel at PIE, and generate nearly $60 million annually in direct and indirect earnings in Pinellas County.”
The Florida Defense Grants Programs are administered by Enterprise Florida Inc. The grants are awarded annually, on a project-prioritized basis, to communities hosting military installations.