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The Four Questions You Need To Understand The ARP Act

June 22, 2021
Square white background with watercolor strokes , NextRequest logo, and The ARP Act text

The American Recovery Act (ARP Act) was signed into law March 11, 2021 by President Biden to aid in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act itself is 242 pages long, and while you could dedicate a few nights and weekends to gaining a deep understanding of it, we put this post together to help you understand what the ARP Act is, what the funds it makes available can be used for, and how your agency can go about getting the funds you need, in less than two pages.

What exactly is the ARP Act?

The American Recovery Plan (ARP) Act is a piece of legislation designed to grant direct financial relief to eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments across the United States and its Territories in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Act allocates $350 billion for governments to use to bring the pandemic under control, replace lost revenue for governments, stabilize the economy for households and businesses, and address public health and economic challenges that contributed to the unequal impact of the pandemic. The goal of this is to help remedy the economic fallout caused by the pandemic by laying a foundation for a strong recovery and bringing jobs back.

Just as governments within the United States take different shapes and sizes, the funds allocated through the ARP Act are scaled to meet different agencies’ requirements, but that doesn’t mean anyone will get squeezed out - there’s enough to go around. It’s all being split up like this:

  • States and D.C. - $195.3B
  • Counties - $65.1B
  • Metropolitan Cities - $45.6B
  • Tribal Governments - $20.0B
  • Territories - $4.5B
  • Non-entitlement Units of Local Government - $19.5B

How does the ARP Act Affect Local Governments?

While it’s easy to think that small agencies spread across the country are  unlikely to get access to any funds from this massive Act, in reality, the ARP Act is designed specifically to get funds to whoever needs it, no matter how small their agency is. Through the ARP Act, city and county governments have a combined $110.7 Billion in  funds available for use.

So my agency can get ARP funds. What can they be used for?

To meet local needs and align with broader recovery goals, recipients may use funds to:

  • Pay healthcare expenditures such as behavioral healthcare and public health and safety staff
  • Compensate essential workers who took great risks in keeping infrastructure up and running during the crisis
  • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure
  • Provide government services that were downsized as a result of lost public sector revenue
  • Address negative economic impacts caused by the pandemic. While this list spells out the boundaries of what funds can be used for, the Act has significant flexibility built in so that governments may use funds for these purposes in whatever way best suits their needs.

We know we need funds and what we need them for. How do we get access to them?

The first thing to know is that ARP funds are not competitive grants. If you’re eligible and need the funds, you will get them. All you have to do is request them through the Treasury Department, here. The Treasury Department site lays out the five submission requirements for a funds request, but if you are a municipality, there are a few special things you need.

In addition to payment information, both Metropolitan cities (population of 50,000 or more) and Non-entitlement Units of Local Government (population of less than 50,000) need a DUNS number, and Metropolitan cities additionally need an active SAM registration.

No matter what kind of entity you are though, if you’re eligible, you will be able to get the funds you need. And while your needs can range from compensating the heroes who kept our towns up and running, to implementing software solutions like NextRequest to manage increased workloads, these funds will allow you to get your government back up and running, and stronger than ever.

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