American Rescue Plan Act Funding

Since 2020, Alabama’s state government has directly received nearly $4 billion in federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds. The state was allocated $1.9 billion under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), and approximated $2.1 billion through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Billions of additional dollars in pandemic relief have flowed directly to state agencies, healthcare providers, and individual citizens. Alabama’s state government has $1 billion in remaining ARPA funds that must be appropriated or returned to the federal government by 2024. The bulk of the first round of ARPA spending included $400 million towards the construction of two state prisons, approximately $500 million for broadband expansion and water and sewer infrastructure projects, $80 million for hospitals and nursing homes, and a $79.5 million payment to Alabama’s unemployment compensation trust fund.

On March 16, 2023, lawmakers passed a bill to spend the remaining $1 billion in ARPA funds by a combined vote of 132-6. Much like the CARES Act funding, how the money will be spent will largely be left to Governor Kay Ivey. The act broadly allocates the ARPA funding as follows; $400 million for water and sewer infrastructure projects, $339 million to reimburse healthcare providers, $260 million for ongoing efforts to expand the state’s broadband capabilities, and $50 million to fund community projects, such as, food banks, services for senior citizens, housing assistance, and summer programs for children.

Despite a federal court ruling paving the way for Alabama’s ARPA funds to be used to reduce taxes, the Legislature did not set aside any portion of the money for that purpose.