FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2023
Contact: Hope Brasell
$1.6 BILLION AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT FUNDING PASSES ALABAMA LEGISLATURE
MONTGOMERY, Al – The Alabama Senate has passed the appropriation of the last $1.06 billion in federal COVID-19 relief from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Priorities include investing in sewer and water infrastructure, broadband internet expansion, and supporting hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers across the state.
The plan allocates $400 million to water and sewer projects, $339 million to healthcare costs, and $260 million to expand access to broadband internet. The remaining $55 million in funding will be eligible for those that service food banks, child-welfare, long-term housing, victims of domestic violence, mental health disorders, and senior citizens.
During the third reading of the bill, the Senate adopted an amendment to allow a portion of the money for water and sewer projects to be used for stormwater drainage projects. Of the water and sewer funds, up to $100 million are to be awarded based on a ranking system established by the Department of Environmental Management that includes a factor for the water and sewer needs of growing communities.
“It was our responsbility as the legislative body to be responsible stewards of these monies and I am proud of the work and due diligence set forth by my colleagues over these past several months. Our goal was to invest in these programs and put infrastructure in the ground that will benefit the people of Alabama for years to come. This legislation is a culmination of a bi-partisan effort that began when the federal guidelines were still being discussed,” stated Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed.
Senator Albritton stated, “We believe that we have allocated these funds to the best of our ability at the guidance of the Federal government. Water and sewer, broadband expansion, and healthcare were the backbone of this round due to no lost revenues. Our foremost intent was to make smart and intuitive investments in these critical infrastructure areas that will pay dividends for generations to come.”
The healthcare funding would include reimbursements for pandemic-related costs, including $100 million for hospitals, $100 million for nursing homes, $5 million for state veterans’ homes, $40 million for the state employees’ health insurance program, and $40 million for the public education employee’s health insurance program. Another $25 million would go to mental health services, $9 million would go to promote the use of telemedicine, and $20 million would go to a voluntary clinical trial and health care research program.
After passage and concurrence, House Bill 1 was transmitted to Governor Ivey for her signature. The Alabama Legislature adjourned Sine Die on Thursday, which concluded the Special Session called by Governor Kay Ivey. The 2023 Regular Legislative Session will resume on Tuesday, March 21st.