OKLAHOMA CITY – The bipartisan, bicameral committee charged with making recommendations on the use of nearly $1.9 billion in federal pandemic relief funds has announced its next meeting. Sen. Brent Howard, R-Altus, is one of 13 Senate members appointed to serve on the Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding, which will next meet at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8 in room 535 of the state Capitol. The meeting will be livestreamed on the Senate’s official website, www.oksenate.gov.
“This is one-time funding, so we must carefully select projects that will meet the criteria of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) while investing in key areas,” Howard said. “We’ll be working with stakeholders, including members of the executive Branch, state agencies, community organizations and the public. We’ll receive and evaluate the resulting proposals and send the top-rated priorities to Governor Kevin Stitt for his final consideration.”
Four subcommittees, including Economic Development and Workforce; Health and Human Services; Government Transformation and Collaboration; and Transportation, Infrastructure, and Rural Development, will vet proposals to utilize ARPA funds. Under federal law, ARPA funds for state governments may only be used to respond to the public health emergency and negative economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those uses can include allocations to state agencies, nonprofits, industry, households, and investments in public infrastructure. In addition to the $1.87 billion in state funds, another $1.32 has been allocated for Oklahoma counties, cities and local communities.
Funds must be allocated by December 2024 and expended by December of 2026. Additional information, reports and the proposal submission form will soon be available online at www.oklegislature.gov.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our state to make significant investments that will move Oklahoma forward for years to come,” Howard said. “I urge Oklahomans to be involved in this process as we work together to strengthen and diversify our economy, improve state services and modernize our physical and digital infrastructure.”
For more information, contact Sen. Brent Howard at 405-521-5612 or email Brent.Howard@oksenate.gov.
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