ROANOKE, Va. – It seems every lawmaker in the commonwealth wants a piece of the $4.3 billion dollars in funding from the American Rescue Plan.
“We’ve done a lot of our homework before the big test on Monday,” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said.
This Monday, delegates and senators from across the state will travel to Richmond to decide how that money will be spent.
So far, Northam has made several proposals covering things like mental health, education, and economic recovery.
“This is to help people recover from COVID-19 and I have had great discussions with our leadership in the house and the senate and we’re going to come into a special session on Monday,” Northam said.
Proposals from Republican lawmakers would cover infrastructure projects, such as Lynchburg’s combined sewer overflow system.
“The city is agreeing to spend $25 million to complete this project but we can’t forget we’re spending money that we don’t have,” Senator Mark Peake said.
Representatives from both sides of the aisle will have to work together to agree on how the money will be spent, but one common issue is addressing broadband.
“The rural areas, like 40% of the people in rural areas are not getting broadband and now that people are getting educated through broadband it’s even more important,” Senator John Edwards said.
While it may take days or even weeks to come to a final agreement, state leaders say the top priority is helping Virginians get back on their feet after the pandemic.
“Yes we work with people across the aisle and we have appreciated their input but we’re ready to do what’s in the best interest of Virginians,” Northam said.
Attorney General Mark Herring would also like to see funding allocated for programs that would help combat human trafficking and gun violence prevention.