By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Gov. Mark Gordon on Thursday unveiled his proposals for the first $500 million round of American Rescue Plan Act funding.
In a letter to the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee, Gordon recommended dedicating just under $500 million in funds to a range of programs and investments, with amy leftover funds to be set aside for savings or used for future ideas.
Wyoming will ultimately receive more than $1 billion directly from the ARP.
Gordon noted that nearly $4 billion in requests were brought forward for consideration, and some of those proposals he proposed funding through other sources, such as money included in the recently approved federal infrastructure bill.
Wyoming received $534 million of the $1.68 billion in ARPA funding in May and is set to receive a second payment of the same amount in 2022.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Among other things, Gordon recommended placing $100 million in the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account (LSRA) to use as matching funds for a wide range of energy-related projects.
Other items included in the Governor’s proposal are:
- $55 million for the next phases of the Wyoming Innovation Partnership to help expand the state’s workforce and economy.
- $75 million to the Wyoming Wildlife Trust Fund, which would fully fund the Trust and save general funds in future years.
- $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
Gordon welcomed feedback on the proposals, both from the legislature and the public.