MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — On day one of the special session, Alabama lawmakers shared where they want to allocate $1.06 billion in one-time federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The newly filed ARPA bill, HB1, puts the largest chunk of money — $660 million — into broadband, as well as water and sewer infrastructure.
“Hate to say it in the 21st century, we got places in our state that don’t have fresh drinking water, we don’t have city water,” House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R- Rainsville) said. “A lot of them still run off wells. I think that’s an important investment in our state.”
The second largest allotment is designated to go to hospitals and nursing homes, each receiving $100 million apiece.
Five million is slated for veterans hospitals, $25 million is aimed at mental health services, and $55 million is set for a variety of programs meant to help respond to the negative economic impacts left by COVID.
“Heard a lot of my colleagues say you know Mr. Chairman we want to see something in our communities — boots on the ground programs that have worked throughout COVID and never missed a beat. So you’ll see a lot of them. You’ll see programs for senior citizens, food banks, long-term housing, things like that,” Budget Chairman Rex Reynolds (R- Huntsville) said.
The American Rescue Plan Act was passed by Congress in 2021 to help states respond to the impacts of the pandemic. It is the final package of money from that legislation Alabama will receive.
Lawmakers will meet in committee Thursday morning to discuss the bill.
The scope of the session is limited to the items outlined by the Governor in her proclamation, but if lawmakers agree by a two-thirds vote, they can consider other legislation.