BOSTON — Organizations representing municipal, county and state governments this week sent a letter to U.S. House of Representatives leadership urging passage of legislation that would give them additional flexibility for spending allocations from the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund created in the American Rescue Plant Act.
ARPA and the CLFRF provided $3.4 billion in aid to Massachusetts cities, towns and counties, but some municipal officials said this week that they are waiting to spend that money until they know if they might be able to piggyback off additional state support.
Cities, through organizations like the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities, are also asking Congress to loosen the constraints on their ARPA allocations.
"Since the enactment of ARPA, we have been working collaboratively with our respective memberships, the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to implement the $350 billion provided under the law. We believe that this new legislation would both streamline and strengthen this historic program," a collection of seven organizations wrote to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday.
They were referring to a bill (S 3011) that passed the U.S. Senate on Oct. 19. Its companion bill (HR 5735) is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which does not add new spending or create new mandates on city or state spending, would allow counties and municipalities nationwide to use a total of over $27 billion for new transportation and infrastructure projects and over $17 billion for government services, according to the National Association of Counties.
"America's state and local governments have been engaged in our nation's response to COVID-19 since the earliest days, and providing these governments with flexible, essential financial resources is the surest way to see that our nation's preparedness and responsivity continues," the groups wrote.