Gov. Evers shares plan for federal American Rescue Plan funding

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — Gov. Tony Evers on Monday shared his plans for the federal funds allocated to Wisconsin through the American Rescue Plan.

The COVID-19 relief bill passed by the U.S. Congress includes $3.2 billion in federal funding for the state, which Evers plans to use to expand broadband and build infrastructure and provide support for small businesses and families.

The governor said the funds would build up programs started using funding from the first COVID-19 relief bill, known as the CARES Act, which was passed last year.

Wisconsin received nearly $2 billion from the CARES Act. The Evers administration was able to use the money to get support to Wisconsinites across the state, helping 14,000 households pay rent, assist more than 1,100 food pantries, and invest in our kids’ childcare and after school programming. $379 million in CARES funds were used to support nearly 53,000 small businesses and restaurants, more than 15,000 farms, and our lodging, hospitality, and tourism industries. The funds were also used to distribute more than 26 million pieces of PPE and sanitizing supplies, more than 2.7 million testing and lab supplies, and $201 million through the Routes to Recovery program all for our local communities.

“Our CARES dollars made all the difference in our state this past year, including supporting businesses across our state like the business we’re standing in today. That’s why I’m excited to be able to announce we’re going to be investing $2.5 billion from our American Rescue Plan funds into our state’s economic recovery and making sure we can bounce back from COVID-19 and better than we were before this pandemic hit,” said Evers. “We can’t afford for the Legislature to play politics with our funds under the American Rescue Plan—we’re going to get folks support as quickly as we can.”

The governor’s plan includes a $2.5 billion investment in the economic well-being of families, workers, small business owners, and communities across the state. The $2.5 billion investment includes $50 million for the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, and $600 million to help support businesses, building on the successful We’re All In small business grant program which has helped nearly 53,000 businesses so far throughout the pandemic. In addition to these investments to ensure Wisconsin’s economic recovery, the governor is also proposing a $200 million investment in infrastructure, a significant portion of which will go towards expanding broadband access. Finally, $500 million will go towards continuing statewide pandemic response efforts.