More than 30 Organizations Urge House to Pass Bipartisan H.R. 5735
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors joined a coalition of more than 30 organizations, including the National Association of Counties and the United States Chamber of Commerce, by sending a letter to House leadership urging action on the bipartisan State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (H.R. 5735). The bill, already passed in the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent, would provide greater flexibility to state and local governments that received funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and allow them to direct those resources to invest in their local infrastructure needs. A PDF of the letter can be found here, and the full text is below:
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy:
The undersigned organizations, who represent both the public and private sectors, write today to urge the swift passage of the bipartisan State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act (S. 3011/H.R. 5735). As organizations at the forefront of America’s economic recovery from the pandemic, we want to ensure state and local governments can fulfill the Congressional intent of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
In addition to our gratitude for the historic investments in state and local governments contained in ARPA, we also applaud the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA/P.L. 117-58), which will help rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and transportation systems. The State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act will build on the IIJA by giving state and local governments the flexibility to use ARPA funds to invest in infrastructure immediately while the IIJA is implemented over the next several years.
This legislation would ensure that state and local governments, who collectively own nearly 100 percent of the nation’s transportation infrastructure, can meet our responsibilities to the nation as intergovernmental partners. These responsibilities include significant public infrastructure leadership, including owning, operating and maintaining public roads, bridges and our nation’s public transit systems, and providing government services such as public health, justice, human services, and safety.
Passage of this legislation – a bipartisan compromise that unanimously passed the U.S. Senate – is key to successfully achieving our shared goals of helping our residents thrive. This new legislation would provide much-needed flexibility in state and local ARPA funds and would neither mandate funds be used in any particular way nor increase overall federal appropriations. This bill would also cap infrastructure investments to ensure funds are not diverted from the ongoing public health emergency.
We believe that providing state and local leaders with flexible resources is the surest way to see our nation’s preparedness and responsivity continue. Passage of this bipartisan legislation will accomplish the true intent of the ARPA – assisting states, cities, counties, tribes and territories in their recovery from the disastrous impacts of the global pandemic. We believe the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure, and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act is imperative to fully leverage the benefits of the ARPA’s once-in-a-generation investment and urge you to pass it swiftly.