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Tennessee board reviews $3.1B in ARPA spending, previews $6.2B in infrastructure

The Tennessee Financial Stimulus Accountability Group came a step closer Monday to finalizing more than $3.1 billion in federal stimulus spending while getting a preview of an estimated $6.2 billion in infrastructure funding related to the Infrastructure Investment and Job Funds Act.

The group will have one more review with additional information on its Tennessee Resiliency Plan spending at its Dec. 21 meeting before the plan is implemented starting in January.

New projects unveiled at Monday’s meeting included $181 million for Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) clinics, $83 million for an East Tennessee Regional Health Lab on the campus of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Medical Center and $120 million in staffing assistance for hospitals and health care providers.

“We also looked at our normal budgeting process and looked at what could be funded through the [American Rescue Plan Act],” said Butch Eley, the commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Finance and Administration.

Eley said Tennessee was able to leverage ARPA funds for projects that already were planned and fit ARPA requirements, with others still in the queue for the final $494 million in unallocated funds.

Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, asked the group several questions about the Knoxville lab, which would serve a 15-county area and create redundancy for the planned $200 million lab in Nashville. That led to further feedback and detailed questions that are to be answered at the December meeting before the plan is approved.

The DIDD funding will help create new regional offices in west Tennessee (Arlington), middle Tennessee (Nashville) and east Tennessee (Greeneville) at a cost of $54.2 million, $72.6 million and $53.8 million, respectively, to provide everything from nursing services to crisis intervention to therapeutic services for adults and children with disabilities.

The group also heard an outline of $6.2 billion in estimated funding from the Federal Highway Administration related to the federal infrastructure act; $3.2 billion for the National Highway Performance Program, $1.56 billion for the Surface Transportation Block Grant, $337 million for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, $210 million for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, $302 million for bridge rehabilitation, $158 million in grants for the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-saving Transportation program, $152 million for the National Highway Freight Program and $139 million for a carbon reduction program.

Another $88 million is expected to come to Tennessee as part of an electrical vehicle program.

This article was originally posted on Tennessee board reviews $3.1B in ARPA spending, previews $6.2B in infrastructure