Sunday, May 22, 2022

Here’s a Quick Overview of Virginia’s American Rescue Plan Funding and What it Means For You

Gov. Ralph Northam speaks during a news conference in Richmond in June. (AP file photo)
Gov. Ralph Northam speaks during a news conference in Richmond in June. (AP file photo)

STATEWIDE — On Monday, August 9, Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement on the passage of HB 7001, which distributes $4.3 billion in federal assistance from the American Rescue Plan.

“Leaders in the General Assembly have worked hand-in-hand with my team to build our roaring economy—and it’s paying off. Our unemployment rate remains below our neighbors and is significantly lower than the national average, we have avoided devastating cuts to state government and critical services, and our Commonwealth has an historic $2.6 billion surplus,” Northam said in a released statement.

According to the release, HB 7001 allocates approximately $3.5 billion of the $4.3 billion in funding provided by the American Rescue Plan. The remaining $761 million remains available for programming in light of the evolving pandemic, and will be considered by the General Assembly when they convene next January.

So far, funds have been allocated towards the following initiatives:

  • Businesses are protected from tax hikes to replenish the unemployment fund so they can invest in their workforce instead.
  • $114 million in federal and state funding will support public safety initiatives.
  • More Virginians will have access to the high-quality behavioral health care they need, including strong community-based services.
  • $111 million is being allocated to make high education less expensive and more achievable for Virginians.
  • $411.5 million is going toward updating storm water and waste water infrastructure to reduce water pollution and protect drinking water.
  • $485 million in federal and state funding for Virginia’s behavioral health system. The plan includes targeted investments to alleviate pressure on state mental health hospitals, strengthen community-based services, and increase support for substance abuse treatment and prevention programs.
  • All families, schools, and businesses across our Commonwealth will have access to broadband by 2024 with a $700 million investment to increase access to universal broadband.
  • Children in public schools will breathe cleaner air thanks to a $500 million investment to improve air quality in schools. 

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Biden back in March. It is a $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan that includes $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments. For more information about the American Rescue Plan Act, click here.

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