Lawmakers pass and Gov. Ivey signs final ARPA allocations

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:13 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Lawmakers passed, and Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill allocating the final round of federal pandemic relief funds. The rest of the American Rescue Plan Act funding will go to health care services, water and sewer infrastructure, and broadband access.

However, lawmakers’ concerns stem from how counties can put the money into action.

“Our small towns, they cannot afford that,” said Senator Rodger Smitherman, D-Jefferson County.

Smitherman’s last-minute amendment would help small counties apply for ARPA funds from state agencies. Any agency administering funds can’t deny a timely application with technical errors.

“Gives them some advice to help them so that they won’t lose the opportunity to get the grant,” said Smitherman.

The other amendment will require local municipalities to match at least 35% of ARPA funds for storm drain infrastructure.

“We got to do something to give the proper instruction. So these areas that have been in a hopeless situation, all these years, as much information as we could give them to tell them where their options are if they don’t have matching dollars,” said Rep. Mary Moore, D-Jefferson County.

The bill passed with both amendments in the Senate and the House. With the confirmation that the money will be spent equitably.

“I feel good about that because we’ve got transparency and a way to look at it and see what’s going on,” said Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter.

“We worked diligently to make sure this was a bipartisan effort. There are elements all across Alabama. No matter where you are, they’re going to be benefits for these ARPA funds,” said Senate Pro Tempore Greg Reed.

That money will now go to state agencies and be available through various application processes.

The regular legislative session will resume next Tuesday.

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