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Ohio Valley Communities Wait For Guidance On COVID Funds

Ron Cogswell with permission via Creative Commons
The Peace Monument on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol depicts Grief weeping on the shoulder of History.

The American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11 provided the nation with a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus, including funds to state and local governments, but local officials around the Ohio Valley say they aren’t yet sure just how the money can be applied.  


The aid package includes $350 billion set aside for state and local governments to help communities recover from the pandemic, with about $17.5 billion for Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Now the question is how those communities will put the money to use. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, said in a press release that she was proud of her colleagues for listening to governors, mayors, workers, tribes, and others who were in need of aid. 

“Critical services must be restored, jobs must be saved, and local and state governments must finally receive the help they need to fight the pandemic,” she said. “That is exactly what our landmark legislation will do.”


According to committee data, Kentucky is expected to get roughly  $4.2 billion, Ohio will receive $11.2 billion, and West Virginia would get nearly $2.1 billion. Those funds are distributed throughout the states to metro cities, counties, non-counties, state governments, and state capital projects; 60% of the funds would go to state governments and 40% directly to localities.


In Kentucky, nearly $2.6 billion will go to the state and the remaining funds will go to the Commonwealth’s local governments. In Ohio, $5.9 billion of the $11.2 billion will go to the state government while $5.3 billion will go to local governments. In West Virginia, roughly $1.4 billion will go to the state government and remaining funds will go to local governments. 

Local government officials around the Ohio Valley said they are still waiting on guidance from the Treasury Department on how the funds can be used, but some have their lists ready for potential projects. Lyon County, Kentucky, Judge Executive Wade White said running fiber internet to his citizens would be of interest when his county receives $1.5 million.  

Cities and counties in the region are getting dedicated allotments based on population, according to the committee. Here are a few estimated amounts that communities in the region will receive: Jefferson County, Kentucky, will receive around $148 million and Franklin County, Ohio, is expected to get $255 million. Wheeling, West Virginia, is receiving nearly $30 million while Elkins, West Virginia, gets roughly $3 million.


Ohio Valley residents can visit the committee website to see estimated funding for their communities and download a spreadsheet with the information. 

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Alana Watson is covering the workplace, economic opportunity and infrastructure issues for the ReSource from partner station WKU Public Radio in Bowling Green, KY.
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