Virginia has distributed approximately $304.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to 190 towns, according to a release from Gov. Ralph Northam.
These payments represent the first half of funding provided by the U.S. Treasury for Non-Entitlement Units of local government, with the same amount to be provided in June 2022. These funds are in addition to $2.3 billion available to Virginia’s 133 counties and cities directly from the federal government, as well as $4.3 billion that Governor Northam and the General Assembly will allocate during a special session beginning August 2.
“Our Administration is committed to ensuring that communities of all sizes get the assistance they need to recover from the impacts of the pandemic—that’s why we expedited the distribution of funding for Virginia’s towns,” said Northam. “These federal dollars represent an unprecedented opportunity to meet local response needs while also making transformative investments to support broad-based, equitable growth in every corner of the Commonwealth. We encourage collaboration across localities to maximize these funds for the benefit of all Virginians.”
“ARPA funding will provide significant assistance to state and local governments in a wide range of areas,” said Secretary of Finance Joe Flores. “We have worked diligently to ensure that all localities receive the funds designated for them, and we are excited to see the positive outcomes that will result for communities across Virginia.”
The ARPA established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (CSLFRF) to assist states and eligible units of local and tribal government with COVID-19 recovery and infrastructure improvements. Within the categories of eligible uses, recipients have broad flexibility to decide how best to use this funding to meet local needs. Eligible uses of CSLFRF funds include:
*Supporting public health expenditures, including COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral health care, and certain public health and safety staff;
*Addressing economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector;
*Replacing lost public sector revenue, providing government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic;
*Providing premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors; and
*Investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and expand access to broadband internet.