Rescue plan

Find out how communities are spending US bailout funds with the Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker

In the 10 months since the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), cities and counties have worked to prioritize and execute investment on their part of the $350 billion law dollars in flexible projects. State and Local Tax Recovery Fund (SLRFF) dollars. And as recent Treasury Department Guidance clarified, local leaders have myriad options for using these resources to address the direct health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to address the underlying challenges that have exacerbated the effects. negative effects of the pandemic on vulnerable people, businesses and communities.

To illuminate the many options available to communities, we introduce the Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker, a joint project of Brookings Metro, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National League of Cities (NLC). This tool complements other important efforts to understand the local implementation of ARPA, including Results for America’s ARP Data and Evidence Dashboardand the Treasury Department highlights analysis from initial SLFRF reports.

Communities have until 2024 to plan and fully commit their funds, and until 2026 to spend them. Initial SLFRF expenditure reports from local governments contain helpful roadmaps of where they are headed with ARPA funds; major cities and counties (those with a population of at least 250,000) also delivered the first in a series of annual plans that describe their intended and actual uses of SLFRF dollars. Together, these reports detail thousands of projects in dozens of eligible spending categories and form the data behind the Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker.

the tracker currently captures stimulus plan data from 41 major cities, 104 major counties, and seven consolidated city-counties that listed at least one specific project and associated dollar allocation in their early performance reports. Another 32 major cities and 124 major counties submitted reports, but did not list any planned projects in the “Project Inventory” section of those reports (for example, Pittsburgh, Jackson County, Missouri.). Nine other major cities and 20 major counties did not submit a report. While the number of cities and counties reflected in the Tracker will increase over time as more information becomes available, the locations already included reveal an important baseline for understanding and tracking local ARPA efforts in the future. .

Major cities and counties have planned projects representing about half of their total flex dollar allocation

Combined, the 152 major cities and counties on our Tracker have set aside funds for more than 2,300 named projects. These projects collectively represent $18.4 billion in planned spending, just under half of the total SLFRF allocation for these cities and counties. Large cities planned and budgeted a larger share of their funds ($9.5 billion, or 60% of their total allocation) than larger counties ($5.7 billion, or about 32% of their total allocation) ).

The Tracker “codes” each project listed in a city or county’s annual report. Recovery plan performance report at two levels: 1) in one of seven global spending groups (community assistance, economic and labor development, government operations, housing, infrastructure, public health and public safety) and 2) in more than 40 expense sub-groups that provide more details on the intended use of funds. For example, Buffalo, NY lists 26 specific projects in its report. We have identified six as promoting economic and workforce development; these include projects to support small businesses, promote workforce readiness and provide summer employment opportunities for youth.

A significant portion of funding is used to replace lost revenue

While major cities and counties are planning investments in a host of essential services, supports and projects, they are devoting the bulk of their funds to government operations. This category includes salaries or hiring of government employees, fiscal health recovery, and investments in city facilities, equipment, and IT.

This commitment indicates that in the early stages of recovery, many cities and counties are beginning to stabilize operations, balance budgets and restore service levels. We anticipate that over time, the share of FRSLF dollars spent on government operations will decline, as stabilization priorities give way to larger-scale, longer-term efforts.

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In the government operations category, major cities and counties are deploying the bulk of their funds to replace revenue they expected but have been reduced or eliminated due to the pandemic. So far, cities have earmarked more of their funds for income replacement ($4.5 billion) than counties ($1.4 billion). This allowable use provides governments with broad flexibility to use the funds to provide government services affected by revenue reductions. Some governments, like Long Beach, California., philadelphia cream, San Franciscoand San Diego, decided to use all of their SLFRF allowance for income replacement. For communities like Philadelphia, where budgets have been hit hard and subjected to significant cuts during the pandemic, funds are needed to restore basic city services. Cities like San Diego, meanwhile, are devoting all of their SLFRF funds to income replacement to take advantage of the maximum flexibility it provides to address serious challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, such as homelessness.

Project types reflect different functions of local governments and economic circumstances

We use data and descriptions from city and county recovery performance plan reports to dig deeper into specific uses of SLFRF funds. For example, within the “Community Assistance” spending group, cities and counties provide a range of different supports, including nutrition and food assistance, youth and family services, direct payments to low-income households, income, veterans assistance and grants to non-profit organizations.

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Many counties are using their funds to strengthen local health services and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationwide, counties support more than 900 hospitals and promote public health through 1,943 local health departments; in total, counties invest approximately $83 billion annually in community health and hospitals. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on these health services and resources.

ARPA has enabled counties to strengthen their public health response and meet the urgent needs of residents across the community. In Pierce County, Wash.., Council Chairman Derek Young said, “Since the start of the pandemic, Pierce County has prioritized federal and local funds to meet emerging public health needs. The county has allocated more than $10 million in SLFRF stipends for expenses such as mobile and mass COVID-19 testing sites, COVID-19 isolation and quarantine services, and storage and distribution of personal protective equipment.

Many cities are using the funds to increase services and supports for young people negatively impacted by the pandemic. The city of Saint Louisfor example, set aside $2.5 million of its nearly $500 million allocation for a year-round youth jobs program for 300 high-risk, low-income public high school students, building on the success of its STL Youth Jobs Summer Program. He committed an additional $1 million to his Ministry of Health to create safe spaces, drop-in centers and community projects for young people.

Document ongoing implementation with the Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll learn even more about how major cities and counties are putting their SLFRF money to work. In early January, the Treasury Department released final advice for the program, which should answer questions some places may still have about permitted uses of the funds. On January 31, major cities and counties were required to submit the first of their quarterly reports Project and expense reports. These reports will detail the actual uses of SLFRF dollars by cities and counties, and we will integrate the data from these reports into the Tracker to monitor the size and nature of local government spending over time. Finally, cities, counties and states are due to receive their second and final round of SLFRF dollars in May 2022, which should expedite local decision-making processes on how to deploy the balance of their allocation. Along the way, we will periodically post analyzes of the latest data in the Tracker, taking particular note of innovative, evidence-based, and well-targeted local uses of ARPA dollars.

We hope that a range of users will find valuable information in the Tracker. For example, city or county leaders may benefit from seeing which other local governments have committed funds to a specific priority (eg, youth workforce development) that they are also interested in. National organizations advocating for localities to undertake particular responses (e.g. payment of bonuses or expanded public health support) can benefit from tracking their prevalence and impacts over time. And federal officials will no doubt pay attention to the rate at which cities and counties deploy the dollars, and the mix they seek between short-term stimulus efforts and longer-term reconstruction strategies.

With such a large and flexible pool of resources available to city and county authorities across the country, as well as the urgent needs the pandemic has created or exposed, many people will follow local decisions with great interest. the Local Government ARPA Investment Tracker opens a window on a crucial generational experience of shared governance in the United States.