Biden's Infusion to States and Cities Already Totals $105 Billion
Amanda Albright Thursday, 20 May 2021 07:53 AM
The U.S. Treasury Department has already doled out $105.3 billion of aid to state and local governments from President Joe Biden’s $350 billion relief package for them under the American Rescue Plan legislation.
That means the federal government has handed out about 30% of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to more than 1,500 entities since it was launched on May 10, according to a statement from the Treasury Department Thursday.
The massive infusion of money heading to states and local governments will help them fight the pandemic, replace lost revenue and stoke economic recovery. Tens of thousands of governments are eligible for the funding.
“This state and local aid program is going to provide transformative funding to communities across the country, and our Treasury team is focused on getting relief to these communities as quickly as possible,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the statement. “In the past 11 days, almost a third of the funding has gone out the door, and I’m hopeful communities will be able to rehire teachers and help businesses re-open much sooner than otherwise.”
Biden administration officials say the aid will help states and cities avoid the budget-cutting that weighed on the economic recovery in the years after the 2008 downturn. The scale of the state and local aid is so vast that it will in many cases more than make up for any lost revenue, providing governors, mayors and other officials with an opportunity to jolt their economies.
Last week, the Treasury Department detailed broad potential uses of the money by governments, such as using it to rehire workers who have been laid off or to send stimulus payments to their own residents.
Treasury officials have been conducting outreach efforts with states and local government officials on the funding, the statement said. A contact center affiliated with the funds has had more than 600 interactions with individuals seeking information on the funds and how to apply for them have used.
Over the past few weeks, public officials have been releasing plans around how they’d like to use the money. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper offered his recommendations to state legislative leaders on Wednesday. He said he’d like the state to use the funds to expand broadband access, provide college scholarships and fix the state’s water and wastewater systems, among other uses.
“This pandemic brought us a once-in-a-generation challenge,” he said in a statement. “And these funds have brought us a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”