FHREDI is helping to solve the mobility challenges of an economically disadvantaged region of rural Florida; a 5,000-square-mile area with low-density population and almost no public transportation services. FHREDI recognizes the need for programs for getting employees to and from the workplace, and the underprivileged population and the aging population to everyday necessities and conveniences.
To that end, FHREDI assisted in formalizing the first rural transit planning process, which allows for the collaboration between rural public transit and rural economic development. Now rural public transit has an opportunity to directly improve job creation and job retention.
The region, being hamstrung by lack of major East West and North South corridors, recognized the strength in their partnership and created a Transportation Committee made up of Commissioners from the six counties on the FHREDI board. Each year, this committee presents Florida DOT with a regional priority list for funding along with interlocal agreements providing their commitment to the transportation needs of the greater group.FHREDI and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) agreed to the mutual development and implementation of a Heartland Rural Mobility Plan with the help of the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida.