Tag: Rescue Funds

State Leaders: Focused Plan Needed for ARPA Money Allocations

The money is coming. But how it will be spent is still an open question.

Alabama leaders have a rare chance to use federal money to make significant improvements to the state’s broadband networks and other infrastructure systems, but leaders need to plan carefully for its spending in order to stay competitive with states that have the same opportunities, Alabama Finance Director Bill Poole told a panel of lawmakers Thursday.

“Every state in this country is going to spend an enormous amount of federal funds on broadband, on water and sewer infrastructure, on health care …,” Poole said during an update on the Alabama Rescue Plan Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, two federal laws that will infuse billions into the state.

Poole said the state’s objective “should recognize that we’re in a competition with other states and we have to take this opportunity of a lifetime to advance further than those other states do in their investments so that, when the dust settles, we’ve improved our competitive position. Read more.

JeffCo Commission Discusses Rescue Spending

The Jefferson County Commission is considering how to spend money coming in as part of Phase 1 of the American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The commission began that discussion Tuesday, although the federal government has not yet issued the final guidelines for spending under that act. County staff devised the current plan using the preliminary guidelines, Justin Smith, an assistant to the county manager, told commissioners.

“We’re trying to get some money out immediately pending the receipt of that final guidance using the interim guidance that has been provided by the Treasury,” Smith said. “We don’t want to put all our eggs into one basket this time because things are going to change once that final guidance comes out. Read more.

Also in the Jefferson County Commission:

Not Us: JeffCo Commissioners Not Responsible for JCCEO

New Law to Infuse Billions for Alabama Infrastructure

Alabama could get more than $6.8 billion in road and transportation funding in the recently approved $1.2 trillion Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act.

While broad outlines of how that money will be allocated are available, more federal direction is needed before specific projects are identified.

“We’re still waiting on the federal guidance on what exactly we can do with this money,” Tom Layfield, executive director of the Alabama Road Builders Association, told Alabama Daily News.

To see approximately what Alabama should expect from the infrastructure law over five years, read more.

Now or Later? What Will Happen With Remaining Rescue Funds?

Alabama lawmakers, particularly those on the General Fund budget committees, will have a larger task in the legislative session that begins in January. But it’s still unclear how much of the remaining about $1.6 billion American Rescue Plan Act will be allocated in the Legislature’s spring meeting.

“We’ve got a lot more to figure out than just the Education Trust Fund and General Fund,” Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, said about lawmakers’ normal annual budgeting process.

The state’s more than $2 billion in ARPA money comes in two tranches, about half this year and half likely in June 2022, according to the Department of Finance. By May, lawmakers have will already ended their 2022 session.

Whether they’ll allocate all the money in the spring session or wait to distribute the 2022 share is still being discussed. Read more.