Over the last 15 months, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has delivered nearly $5 billion of federal funds to Wisconsin’s small towns and rural and tribal communities. This supplements the nearly $2.5 billion in funding from the CARES Act which was an essential, but constrained investment in Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response and recovery.
Thanks to ARPA, all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and 12 federally recognized tribal governments have access to millions of dollars not available prior to the pandemic that will be available for COVID recovery, public health, and community resilience programs through December 31, 2024. The funds are creating the opportunity for Wisconsinites who were dealing with the impact of the pandemic to carefully plan for long-term resilience by, among other things, making sure workers were paid, continuing vital public services, helping schools respond to the pandemic, providing students with connectivity, and direct payments to Wisconsin families. These funds continue to be a vital lifeline across the state and helped Wisconsin families, businesses, schools, and local governments.
As COVID-19 variants and subvarients continue to cause waves of infections in Wisconsin and across the US, pandemic response and recovery have entered a new, long-term phase requiring a holistic view of the systems and assets needed to be resilient and prosperous. Wisconsin is a step ahead with its Office of Rural Prosperity, and this forward thinking can be amplified at the national level with greater coordination, cooperation, and transparency across the local, state, and federal governments.