To date, at least 42 states and Washington, D.C., have allocated a portion of their ARPA funds to various relief efforts. NCSL’s database tracking state allocations of Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund aid reflects both previous priorities, as seen under the Coronavirus Relief Fund, and new spending trends:
Broadband Expansion and Access
The pandemic exacerbated underserved and unserved access to broadband, and states are shoring up the system. In Virginia, $479 million was allocated to support broadband access managed and awarded through the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative grant-making process. Maine’s Legislature allocated $20 million in one-time funding for the expansion of affordable high-speed broadband access in the state, leveraging private funding and ensuring long-term benefit through the new Maine Connectivity Authority.
To compensate front-line and essential workers, several states allocated fiscal recovery funds for premium and hazard pay. For example, Indiana used $8.5 million for hazard pay stipends to correction officers and another $2 million for state troopers and state Capitol Police. Both stipends amount to $1,600 per employee. And in Maryland, response pay was extended for essential state workers.
Water and Sewer Infrastructure
Florida devoted several allocations to water-related projects, including funding for Everglades restoration, creating a Water Protection and Sustainability Trust Fund, and a wastewater grant program to assist localities with sewer and wastewater system upgrades. New Jersey directed funds to municipalities for water quality accountability compliance, and for targeted projects including water pipe repairs and stormwater management.
State lawmakers also continue to prioritize spending that was supported with Coronavirus Relief Funds, signaling a persistent need for financial assistance to communities, businesses and individuals. These categories include:
State Operations and Administration
States are strengthening agencies and departments with funds for emergency management, public health-related supplies and the adjustment to teleworking. They are also investing in pandemic-related positions, such as review and audit functions or program administration. Montana dedicated $3.7 million to the Office of Budget and Program Planning for oversight, reporting and transparency. New Hampshire also used funds to add additional temporary capacity.
Unemployment Insurance Trust Funds
At least 17 states have used fiscal recovery funds to replenish their unemployment insurance trust funds or pay back federal loans to support a recovering workforce.
About half the states have allocated funds to workforce development programs to bolster worker skills, connect workers to jobs and fund apprenticeships. Notably, Vermont allocated funds to K-12 and higher education institutions to enhance skills and expand career and technical education programs. Whereas Minnesota invested $35 million for workforce stabilization grants to partner colleges for access to re-skilling education and training needs for Minnesota residents.
To address its housing shortage, Iowa is dedicating relief to existing programs, such as a tax credits to fund more projects and help cover increasing costs of housing materials, and pilot programs to promote home repair across the state and homeownership among minority groups. California also devoted funds for landlord-tenant legal dispute support.
Arts, Culture and Tourism
To support vulnerable industries such as hospitality and to attract visitors back to the state after a long pandemic hiatus, many states are using relief funds for marketing campaigns as well as grants to recreational, arts, and cultural venues or organizations.
Other Trends Include:
- Continued public health reinforcement, including mental and behavioral health services and hospital support.
- Support for learning loss, distance learning and classroom safety.
- Community revitalization and relief targeted to disproportionately affected communities.
- Grants to small businesses and economic development projects.
- Revenue replacement, to backfill losses.