Legislation aimed at giving Florida businesses located near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center additional federal contracting opportunities was introduced March 6 in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

The Shuttle Workforce Revitalization Act of 2012, sponsored by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) would designate Florida’s Brevard County as a “historically underutilized business zone,” or HUBZone, now that the shuttle program has ended, according to a Nelson press release.

The designation gives small businesses in economically challenged areas preference in government procurement. The bill’s sponsors say designating Brevard a HUBZone would help attract new businesses to the county.

To qualify as a HUBZone, an area must have a low median income, a high poverty rate or a high unemployment rate. Qualifying companies must have a principal office in a HUBZone and 35 percent of their employees must live in the designated area. Currently, only parts of Brevard County are designated as a HUBZone, according to the press release.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Sandy Adams (R-Fla).