Gordon Unveils Proposals for how Wyoming Will Use Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds
Governor Mark Gordon announced in a press release his proposals for how to use the first round of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) with a letter to the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee.
Wyoming will receive a total of $1.68 billion from ARPA, the state has received $534 million of ARPA funding in May, and is set to receive a second payment of the same amount in 2022.
Gordon proposed investments come from the 10 areas identified by his strike team.
According to the letter, the recommendations made by the governor total around $500 million, out of $4 billion in projects that were proposed, while the other $1 billion given to the state will be set aside for savings or for ideas that may come up next year.
"This winnowing of proposals was not done casually, but thoughtfully in accordance with the principles outlined at the start of this endeavor to preserve opportunity and foster long-term resilience," Gordon said in the letter. "In many cases we reduced the initial request to an amount that could be used as a preliminary investment, as I believe it prudent to analyze the effectiveness of a program or proposal before committing additional dollars."
Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney and both of Wyoming's Senators, John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, voted against ARPA when it passed in March 2021.
Included in Gordon's proposal are:
- $100 million be placed in the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account (LSRA) earmarked to match private sector or federal funds for large-scale energy projects, such as carbon capture, carbon sequestration, and nuclear power.
- $55 million for the next phases of the Wyoming Innovation Partnership.
- $75 million to the Wyoming Wildlife Trust Fund.
- $50 million for local government support projects
- $40 million for grants to enhance outdoor recreation in Wyoming and to help communities pursue construction of new outdoor recreation products and infrastructure
- $30 million to economic development efforts to support mining, agriculture and entrepreneurship.
- $10 million for the Cultural Trust Fund to promote arts and historic preservation in Wyoming.
- $10 million to match federal funds for wildlife/highway crossing projects.
- $10 million to expand Health and Human Services Staffing Stabilization efforts to include providers caring for vulnerable and at-risk populations
While these are Gordon's proposals, the Wyoming legislature will have the final say in where to allocate funding.