PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Congress approved President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Wednesday, and it includes billions of dollars of financial relief to Rhode Islanders, according to Sen. Jack Reed.
Reed said Rhode Island will be receiving $1.78 billion through the state and local government aid provision within the plan. This funding will be distributed to the state’s cities and towns based on population.
The funds will help communities with vaccine distribution and boost their budgets, many of which have been decimated by the pandemic.
The overall bill also includes direct $1,400 stimulus checks for a majority of Rhode Island families, plus extended unemployment benefits.
“This direct relief represents a major boost to Rhode Island’s economy,” Reed said. “Vaccines help save lives, and these funds will help revitalize communities by providing a needed injection of federal relief to state and local governments that have been impacted by the pandemic.”
Overall, Reed said $1.2 billion in stimulus payments will be distributed to nearly 500,000 Rhode Island households, and roughly $980 million will be used to extend the state’s unemployment insurance benefits program.
He also said hundreds of millions of dollars will be allocated to the state’s K-12 schools and colleges, and additional funding will be put toward programs for health, housing, transportation, infrastructure and workforce development.
Reed said there are restrictions on what municipalities can use the aid for. He said communities can’t use it to support pension funds, and they have until 2024 to use it for COVID-19 costs of its negative economic impacts, government services, or infrastructure investments.
“The road to recovery is long and steep. but this will provide a tremendous boost to Rhode Island and the nation,” he said.
A breakdown of what each Rhode Island community is receiving is listed below.
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The state’s largest cities are slated to receive $282 million:
- Providence: $131 million
- Pawtucket: $46 million
- Woonsocket: $33 million
- Cranston: $27 million
- Warwick: $24 million
- East Providence: $19 million
The remaining municipalities will collectively receive $55 million:
- Barrington: $1.59 million
- Bristol: $2.17 million
- Burrillville: $1.67 million
- Central Falls: $1.94 million
- Charlestown: $780,000
- Coventry: $3.45 million
- Cumberland: $3.5 million
- East Greenwich: $1.3 million
- Exeter: $650,000
- Foster: $470,000
- Glocester: $1 million
- Hopkinton: $800,000
- Jamestown: $550,000
- Johnston: $2.9 million
- Lincoln: $2.18 million
- Little Compton: $340,000
- Middletown: $1.58 million
- Narragansett: $1.52 million
- New Shoreham: $100,000
- Newport: $2.4 million
- North Kingstown: $2.6 million
- North Providence: $3.24 million
- North Smithfield: $1.25 million
- Portsmouth: $1.7 million
- Richmond: $770,000
- Scituate: $1.06 million
- Smithfield: $2.17 million
- South Kingstown: $3 million
- Tiverton: $1.55 million
- Warren: $1.04 million
- West Greenwich: $630,000
- West Warwick: $2.87 million
- Westerly: $2.22 million
Reed said an additional pot of $205 million will be shared by all communities, based mostly on population size.
“I’ve championed these funds for so long because no state, including Rhode Island, could ever have budgeted for this kind of pandemic,” Reed said. “States and localities have been forced to shoulder considerable and unexpected costs as they raced to save lives and livelihoods. They should not be penalized for stepping up to help.”
Biden is expected to sign the bill on Friday. Rep. David Cicilline called the bill “a major step in the right direction.”
“This bill, which now heads to President Biden’s desk, will help crush the virus, get kids back to school, speed up vaccine delivery, put people back to work and get middle-class families the help they need,” he said.
Rep. Jim Langevin said this plan “is critical to beating the virus.”
“The American Rescue Plan is the response we need to the COVID-19 crisis, which has shaken the core of our nation and put immense pressure on working families,” Langevin said. “With massive investments in areas of great need for Rhode Island, this will help the Ocean State recover.”
He also invited his constituents to join in on a telephone town hall next Monday at 6 p.m., where both congressional and state government officials will highlight how the plan will benefit Rhode Island.
Anyone interested in taking part in the town hall can register online to receive a call when it starts or dial 855-962-1080 during the scheduled time to participate in the conversation.