ICYMI: Celebrating 3 Years of American Rescue Plan Impacts

The NewDEAL
4 min readApr 9, 2024

Last month, elected leaders across the nation celebrated the positive impact of the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA. The bill was the first major piece of legislation signed into law by President Biden, helping cities, towns, and states recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build toward a more sustainable and prosperous future. Here is what some leaders had to say about the investments:

  • “During the height of COVID recovery, access to child care was one of the greatest threats to enabling parents to get back to work,” Michigan Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks recently wrote in The Gander. “That’s why Gov. Whitmer invested $365 million from ARPA to provide both bonuses to childcare professionals as well as operational grants directly to childcare businesses. The funding helped more than 5,500 child care providers across the state so they could remain open during the hardest of times, and continue today to provide high-quality child care.”
  • “Birmingham received $141 million from the American Rescue Plan Act alone, and those funds are being used to support some of the projects already in progress,” Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor Randall Woodfin wrote in AL.com. “They are helping us remove blight, improve transportation, repair homes, and replace aging playground equipment.”
  • “Our deployment of American Rescue Plan funding is growing Lincoln’s workforce and helping job seekers at all ages and stages of their careers,” Lincoln, Nebraska, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said in late March. “To date, these workforce investments have served more than 700 Lincoln residents, empowering them to learn new skills or to strengthen existing ones in high-demand career fields like childcare, health sciences, IT, manufacturing, and welding. As a result of this investment in their training, over 300 individuals have received a credential, and 78 have reported an increase in their wages.”
  • “When we got this discretionary funding from the federal government we said let’s invest in communities where violence festers, but let’s not invest in police,” said New Castle County, Delaware, Executive Matt Meyer as the county invested $370,000 to support the Food Bank of Delaware’s food distribution efforts. “Let’s invest in communities. Let’s invest in after-school programs. Let’s combine with community organizations to see if we can improve housing, reduce food insecurity, and reduce gun violence.”
  • The American Rescue Plan “not only averted a major recession, it also provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our underinvested urban cores, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb wrote in Cleveland.com. “Over the past two years, we’ve deployed $512 million in funds to bring new jobs to Cleveland, revitalize our housing stock, bridge the digital divide, solve our lead crisis and address public safety,” adding that ARPA is “making Cleveland safer, healthier, and prepared for the future.”
  • “ARPA is a testament to our nation’s resilience and capacity to come together in times of crisis,” NewDEAL CEO Debbie Cox Bultan wrote in The Well News. “It shows the power of leadership at all levels that listens, understands, and acts in the community’s best interest. The funding, which runs through the end of this year, will continue to be a driving force behind our nation’s economic recovery.”

On the national level, ARPA’s success is clear. Since it was signed into law, more than 14 million jobs have been created. In addition, unemployment has remained below 4 percent for more than two years, and there has been historic drops in Black and Hispanic unemployment rates.

In addition, the law helped more than 8 million people stay in their homes, brought down the cost of health care, led to the lowest child poverty rates in American history and helped more than 200,000 childcare centers remain open.

And the funding continues through the end of this year, meaning local leaders are still using it to make a positive impact.

ARPA investments are helping cities from coast to coast and in the heartland flourish. On the third anniversary of ARPA, NewDEAL released a report highlighting the continued positive impact of the law, featuring case studies from ten cities and towns across the nation:

  • Phoenix, AZ Mayor Kate Gallego: Free Wi-Fi around key public facilities and affordable housing developments
  • Boston, MA Mayor Michelle Wu: Sustainable career pathways and training for underemployed individuals in the green industry and biotech and life sciences sector.
  • New Bedford, MA — Mayor Jon Mitchell: The new NorthStar Early Learning Academy, which will accommodate over 130 preschoolers.
  • Kansas City, MO — Mayor Quinton Lucas: Epanded the Housing Trust Fund, financing 26 projects to create hundreds of affordable units.
  • Lincoln, NE — Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird: Ensure the city’s long-term water sustainability.
  • Manchester, NH — former Mayor Joyce Craig: Affordable and Supportive Housing Initiatives, aimed at creating 188 units of affordable housing, and reopened a women’s shelter.
  • Cleveland, OH- Mayor Justin Bibb: The Neighborhood Safety Fund to promote community-driven programs to reduce violence in the city.
  • Scranton, PA — Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti: A disaster relief fund to provide up to $5,000 for eligible households and businesses for recovery efforts.
  • Providence, RI — Mayor Brett Smiley: Created or extended 444 emergency shelter beds and helped over 600 households with emergency housing support.
  • Newport News, VA Mayor Phillip Jones: A new early childhood center to provide sliding-scale tuition to serve up to 200 children and an on-site training program for providers.

Read NewDEAL’s ARPA third-anniversary report.

Learn more about ARPA.

Learn more about NewDEAL.

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The NewDEAL

Leading on solutions for the new economy & making government work. Learn more at newdealleaders.org and newdealforum.org