ASA Urges House and Senate Leadership Infrastructure Funding Flexibility
ASA, along with the Transportation Infrastructure Coalition, urged House and Senate Leadership to allow states and localities greater flexibility with their American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. ASA supported S. 3011 and H.R. 5735, which would allow for this flexibility, and we hope that this legislation will be included as an amendment to FY22 omnibus package due for a vote on March 11, 2022. This legislation advanced through the Senate via a unanimous consent agreement and received 150 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House. The legislation would not increase costs to the federal government or the deficit and does not mandate state or local governments change their plans or priorities.
American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided states and localities with $350 billion in relief funds and $10 billion in capital improvement assistance at a time of critical need. The COVID-19 pandemic ripped a gaping hole in the budgets of many state and local governments, making this assistance crucial as the nation’s economic recovery continues. However, as the nation moves beyond the Omicron variant, as of December 31, 2021, over $100 billion is still unobligated, and the funds lack the flexibility necessary for states and localities to address ongoing transportation needs.
State and local transportation capital budgets were hit especially hard, as changes in travel patterns caused user-based revenue sources to dwindle. Many projects were delayed or canceled. However, states and localities are capped at using $10 million of their ARP funding for highway, public transit and other surface transportation projects.
We support adding this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation to the FY22 omnibus appropriations package. Enactment would empower public entities with more options to use ARP resources and enhance economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.