NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — It has been two years since President Joe Biden enacted the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which comes to the rescue of American cities recovering from the effects of COVID-19.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell traveled to Washington DC during this time to discuss the use of the funds with members of the Biden administration.
On March 11, 2021, President Biden sent $1.9 trillion in ARPA funds in response to the public health emergency that impacted the economy. The funds supported essential workers and bolstered government services that suffered lost revenue.
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The City of New Orleans received the money in two allocations totaling $388 million. The city said:
- $188.6 million of the first tranche replaced the city’s revenue shortfall due to the impact of the pandemic.
- $6.5 million was allocated by the New Orleans City Council for projects related to broadband and utility assistance.
The remaining $194 million has already been allocated to projects around the city focused on projects to improve public safety, public health, quality of life and community development. The city says projects have already been funded.
“These funds provided much-needed revenue to improve public safety and public health programs, improve technology, provide workforce development opportunities and fill our funding gap, which we expect will not return to pre-pandemic levels before 2025 will achieve,” said Mayor Cantrell.
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In an act of transparency, Mayor Cantrell held ARPA town halls where the public could provide insight and guidance on how the funds are being used. Beneficiaries include the homeless with over $5 million, $4 million for the new sobering-up center, and the New Orleans Department of Health and Human Services campaign against gun violence.
$4.4 million has already been used to purchase new EMS vehicles to expand the existing fleet.
With recruiting and retention issues plaguing the New Orleans Police Department, $32.5 million of ARPA funding was allocated with an additional $3 million in the form of a stimulus package used to slow the dwindling force .
The assignment funded the NOPD’s new Crime Lab, Training Academy and Central Evidence and Property Division. The Office of Criminal Justice Coordination received over $5 million that will be allocated for:
- trial period
- Distraction and conflict resolution programs for at-risk youth
- Court Appointed Special Counsel New Orleans
- Covenant House and Awareness and Response to Sexual Trauma
- Nonprofit organizations that work with data subjects in the justice system
“I am grateful to the Biden administration and the United States Congress for providing federal dollars that have been instrumental in getting our city back on track after adverse economic losses from the pandemic,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
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