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Alabama House passes ARPA bill, heads to Senate committee

By Maddie Biertempfel,

2023-03-15

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. ( WHNT ) — Alabama House lawmakers passed the $1.06 billion spending plan for American Rescue Plan Act funds on day three of the special session.

The bill passed with a vote of 102 to 3.

The biggest items in the bill — $660 million– go to broadband expansion and water and sewer projects. The second highest amount, $100 million, is directed toward hospitals.

“I think it’s as transparent as we could’ve had it, and excited that we’ve made an investment in our state,” House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R- Rainsville) said.

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Some lawmakers brought concerns that the bill doesn’t detail how much money will specifically go to each county.

“I think that we should have some degree of knowledge as to a breakdown — like anything else we have — we know what’s coming back to our areas,” Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D- Birmingham) said.

House leaders say that information will be available online through the groups that distribute the funds like ADEM or ADECA.

“I just went on the ADEM website, and I could see specific projects within my county and a dollar amount. Obviously, we had to pass the bill today, and then they’ll approve more applications but right now they can go in there and see what we passed in 2022 and what’s the status of those projects,” Rep. Rex Reynolds (R- Huntsville) said.

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These ARPA funds have a spending deadline of Dec. 31, 2026.

A Senate committee will consider this bill 9 a.m. Wednesday. The upper chamber is expected to vote on it Thursday.

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