(1) There is created within the Department of Transportation the Small County Road Assistance Program. The purpose of this program is to assist small county governments in resurfacing or reconstructing county roads.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the term “small county” means any county that has a population of 75,000 or less according to 1990 federal census data.
(3) Beginning with fiscal year 1999-2000 until fiscal year 2009-2010, and beginning again with fiscal year 2012-2013, up to $25 million annually from the State Transportation Trust Fund may be used for the purposes of funding the Small County Road Assistance Program as described in this section.
(4)(a) Small counties shall be eligible to compete for funds that have been designated for the Small County Road Assistance Program for resurfacing or reconstruction projects on county roads that were part of the county road system on June 10, 1995. Capacity improvements on county roads shall not be eligible for funding under the program.
(b) In determining a county’s eligibility for assistance under this program, the department may consider whether the county has attempted to keep county roads in satisfactory condition, including the amount of local option fuel tax imposed by the county. The department may also consider the extent to which the county has offered to provide a match of local funds with state funds provided under the program. At a minimum, small counties shall be eligible only if the county has enacted the maximum rate of the local option fuel tax authorized by s. 336.025(1)(a). (c) The following criteria must be used to prioritize road projects for funding under the program:
1. The primary criterion is the physical condition of the road as measured by the department.
2. As secondary criteria the department may consider:
a. Whether a road is used as an evacuation route.
b. Whether a road has high levels of agricultural travel.
c. Whether a road is considered a major arterial route.
d. Whether a road is considered a feeder road.
e. Whether a road is located in a fiscally constrained county, as defined in s. 218.67(1).
f. Other criteria related to the impact of a project on the public road system or on the state or local economy as determined by the department.
(5) The department is authorized to administer contracts on behalf of a county selected to receive funding for a project under this section. All projects funded under this section shall be included in the department’s work program developed pursuant to s. 339.135.