General Assembly launches ARPA fund recommendation webpage to promote transparency

 

     STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly has launched an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Fiscal Recovery Fund Recommendation Portal on its website.

     To maximize transparency, the General Assembly is committed to posting all ideas and proposals received regarding use of ARPA funds for public availability. This page will serve as a public, digital repository and is available for public review.

     “With such a large infusion of federal funding, it is critical that the process of allocating these funds is done in a transparent manner that allows the public to access the information being shared with legislators. We encourage the public to be engaged so we use this money to its maximum benefit for Rhode Islanders,” said Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick).

     “The ARPA funding provides a unique opportunity not only to help struggling Rhode Island residents and businesses recover from the negative impacts of the pandemic, but also to make needed investments that better position our state for long-term prosperity. We will undertake thorough and deliberative hearings to ensure ARPA funding is invested wisely, and we are committed to transparency and engaging the public at every step of the process,” said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence).

     Speaker Shekarchi and Senate President Ruggerio have stressed for months the need a transparent and public process for the ARPA funds allocation.  The House and Senate Finance Committees both will hold their first hearings on Governor McKee’s recent proposal to spend the first 10 percent of ARPA funding this week.  The House Finance Committee meets today and will review proposals regarding small business and the tourism and hospitality industries and the Senate Finance Committee meets on Thursday to hear proposals on how the ARPA funds can help the affordable housing crisis in Rhode Island.   Here is the link to the Governor’s proposal, introduced today to the House Finance Committee:

http://webserver.rilegislature.gov/BillText21/HouseText21/H6494.pdf

The House of Representatives has also established an ARPA Task Force that is co-chaired by Reps. Alex D. Marszalkowski (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) and Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) to learn more about the federal guidelines and what other states are doing. The work of that group is available here: https://www.rilegislature.gov/commissions/arpa/pages/members.aspx

     It is important to note that submitting a recommendation to the portal should not be viewed as a formal request for funds, nor does it guarantee a response, public hearing, or appropriation from the General Assembly.  The goal of the portal is for the public to see all of the ideas that are being suggested for the use of the funds.

 

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