WASHINGTON – With the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act now law, counties across the country are seeing the largest investment in local governments in history. For over a year, counties have been outlining the urgent need for additional federal funding necessary to recover, rebuild and serve residents. National Association of Counties (NACo) Rural Action Caucus Chair, Mercer County, W.Va. Commissioner Greg Puckett, released the following statement:
Counties of all sizes applauded the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act and commended President Biden for signing this historic legislation into law. While the ARP recognizes counties’ vast responsibilities to care for our most vulnerable residents – our sick, unemployed, elderly and youth – it is particularly critical to America’s rural counties.
“Rural counties are the heart of this country. We are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, a year of battling this unprecedented public health and economic crisis has left us in dire fiscal straits. The critical aid in the ARP is an investment in rural communities – and in our nation.
“The ARP will help support broadband expansion and close the gap in coverage only exacerbated by the pandemic as we have spent the past year trying to conduct our daily lives – work, school, medical appointments and more – from home.
“Rural counties also welcome aid that will upgrade and modernize our infrastructure, including our water and sewer systems. We will invest the aid in the American Rescue Plan Act wisely, creating safer, stronger communities and better lives for our residents.
“Too many of our rural communities are afflicted with blight. Now is the time to rebuild and revitalize our counties. Can you imagine what we could do to improve economic mobility, help our communities recover, and improve lives and livelihoods, by beautifying – saving – rural America? We will do just that with the help of the American Rescue Plan Act.”