WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after his bipartisan State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act was included in the COVID-19 relief package:
“When the pandemic began, states, counties and cities quickly pivoted to protect public health which meant many transportation improvement projects were cancelled or put on the back burner,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation provides much needed flexibility in how that relief funding can be used which is crucial for local leaders as they invest in the areas they know best. I’m glad to see this commonsense and bipartisan solution be included so communities can make the most of the funding they have already received without further delay.”
Given that the American Rescue Plan Act made water, wastewater, and broadband infrastructure eligible for COVID funds, the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act would provide additional flexibility for States, Tribes, and units of local government to spend their allocations of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. It gives state and local officials additional flexibility to responsibly spend their own funds. There is a cap—the greater of $10 million or 30% of the funds—on how much of the COVID money can be spent on these new purposes (though the previous ARP set asides for water, wastewater, and broadband remain unrestricted). The bill also allows these funds to be used to provide emergency relief from natural disasters and creates a process for local officials to decline funds if their jurisdictions did not suffer budget shortfalls during COVID, an option not currently available to them under the American Rescue Plan. Text of the bill is available here.
It does not place spending mandates on recipients of COVID funding and does not reclaim any distributed funding.
Endorsees: The National Governors Association, National Congress of American Indians, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, National League of Cities, Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, American Public Transportation Association, Associated General Contractors of America, National Association of Development Organizations, Associated Equipment Distributors, American Subcontractors Association, American Highway Users Alliance, Government Finance Officers Association, Design-Build Institute of America, National Association of Surety Bond Producers, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, American Traffic Safety Services Association, American Public Works Association, American Concrete Pipe Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, National Association of County Engineers, American Concrete Pavement Association, American Foundry Society, and National Association of Regional Councils.