The American Rescue Plan Act: The opportunities


Authors: Rebekka Hosken, Manager (Email) and Mark Olson, Senior Manager (Email)

It is the first time in our current workforce’s history that a significant chunk of federal funding will be flowing to local governments and public water utilities in the form of grants. The model being used in the American Rescue Plan Act may also be replicated in the current administration’s push for infrastructure funding. For many organizations this is a huge opportunity, but getting the most out of it will require an understanding of the options.

The American Rescue Plan act made $350 billion available for state and local governments of all sizes for four main purposes and must be used by 2025:

  1. To respond to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality.
  2. To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
  3. For the provision of government services impacted by the reduction in revenue due to the COVID-19 public health emergency relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year of the entity prior to the emergency.
  4. To respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by providing premium pay to eligible workers that are performing such essential work, or by providing grants to eligible employers that have eligible workers who perform essential work.


Large local governments will receive funding directly from the U.S. Treasury in two equal portions, the first of which will arrive in May. The second portion will be released a year later. For smaller municipalities, the payments will flow through their state government within 30 days after the state receives the distribution from the Treasury. A tabulation of state and local allocation estimates was published and Raftelis has used this data to develop this tool to help visualize the estimated amounts that governments may receive.

There may be more to come. The Biden Administration has announced their plan for infrastructure investment, called the American Jobs Plan, and it is touted as an economic recovery package that goes beyond the traditional views of infrastructure investment. If passed, this legislation would include $111 billion for water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, $100 billion for broadband infrastructure, $213 billion to rehabilitate affordable housing, and $115 billion for bridges, highways, and roads.

Raftelis can support your success by developing a prioritized approach to leverage these funding resources for maximum benefit:

  • Aligns with your strategic goals and priorities
  • Maximizes impact to your community
  • Ensures responsibility and accountability in the expenditure and reporting process