President Biden and the U.S. Congress passed the American Rescue Protection Act (ARPA) in March 2021 to help speed up the nation's response to and recovery from the public health, economic, and housing crises triggered by COVID-19. ARPA included $350 billion in direct aid to every local, county, state, and tribal government.
Program rules allow governments some flexibility on how to use ARPA funds, so long as the investments help communities respond to and recover from the pandemic. The rules strongly encourage governments to prioritize vulnerable groups that were disproportionately impacted, and to use these unprecedented funds to advance equitable recoveries.
To read more about the program rules and guidelines for ARPA dollars sent directly to local, state, and tribal governments, visit the U.S. Department of Treasury page here.
How much money are we talking?
A staggering, unprecedented amount. A once-in-a-lifetime sum. There is so much money, that governments have until December 31, 2026 to expend the funds. That's more than five years (funds became available in June 2021). Here are some examples from upstate NY:
City of Elmira
Town of Union
City of Binghamton
City of Albny
City of Syracuse
City of Buffalo