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More than $270 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds approved for state water projects

The Red River in southwest Arkansas.
US Geological Survey
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that $270 million in American Rescue Plan funds will go towards water infrastructure.

The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) approved $270 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding distribution at its meeting on Friday, (Dec. 2). A total of 157 projects will receive funding across 58 counties.

A full list of the awarded projects can be found at this link.

“In January, I laid out my “W.I.N.S. in 2022” initiative. One of those initiatives was infrastructure. We know that there is a large water and wastewater infrastructure need throughout the state and I am delighted to see the announcement today regarding funding distributions through the American Rescue Plan Act to help address this statewide need,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson established the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Steering Committee to vet the best use of ARPA funding provided to the state. In June 2021, a working group for water and other infrastructure projects was formed to make a recommendation to the ARPA steering committee.

The Working Group conducted an extensive assessment of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater needs across the state. Based on more than 1,400 responses, an overall water infrastructure need of $5.2 billion was identified. On Aug. 31, 2021, the working group submitted a final report to the ARPA Steering Committee. A timeline, eligibility requirements, and scoring criteria were also developed and included in the report.

During the summer, the American Rescue Plan Steering Committee approved $270 million to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture for water, wastewater, and stormwater projects and $10 million for irrigation projects.

Applications were accepted until Nov. 4. A total of 882 applications were received and included at least one application from each county within the state.

The projects were scored by representatives of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Division, Arkansas Department of Health, and Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment’s Division of Environmental Quality. A total of 157 projects across 58 counties were recommended for funding. A total of 412 unique entities submitted applications and 119 different entities received funding for water and/or wastewater. Fourteen entities received funding for at least one drinking water and one wastewater application.

This story comes from the staff of Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with KUAR News. You can hear the weekly program on Mondays at 6:06 p.m.