Virginia leaders share distribution plan for federal funding
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia’s governor and General Assembly have shared their distribution plan for the more than $4.3 billion in federal assistance the state is slated to get as part of the American Rescue Plan.
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March. The $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan included $350 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial and Tribal governments.
In a joint statement, Gov. Ralph Northam and General Assembly leaders said funding for cities and counties is funded separately under the rescue plan. The state expects to be given $2.7 billion to help local governments.
In total, that would bring $7 billion in federal assistance to Virginia.
For the distribution of the funds, leaders plan to allocate funding for five specific areas.
The first is helping public health. Officials said the pandemic highlighted the need for upgrades to public health, which has gone underfunded in the state.
The money will also help small businesses, which were one of the hardest by the economic impacts of the pandemic.
“We intend to fully fund the Rebuild Virginia small business recovery plan and augment relief dollars for the hardest-hit industries—restaurants, hotels, museums, gyms, and theaters. We will invest in Virginia Tourism’s work to recruit visitors back to Virginia, and help our Housing and Community Development team invest in Virginia’s main streets, small towns, and industrial revitalization,” a release said.
The Unemployment Trust Fund is in need of funding so money is available for unemployed workers, the release said. The Virginia Employment Commission also needs system upgrades and hiring staff as it has been one of the lowest-funded unemployment systems in the country.
The money will also help public schools by enabling them to upgrade facilities, improve air quality and HVAC systems and improve safety.
Finally, the money will allow leaders to deploy broadband across the state.
“The pandemic highlighted a fundamental economic reality: People without broadband get left behind. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Let’s accelerate a 10-year plan over the next 18 months—and bring broadband to all of Virginia’s cities and rural areas,” the release said.
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