The Oregon House Republicans have issued their recommendations about how to spend Oregon’s portion of the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act funds.
Under the ARP Act, Oregon will receive an estimated $4.262 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds.
The Oregon House Republican proposal emphasizes rebuilding Oregon with long-term infrastructure projects, workforce development, and jump-starting job recovery.
“After a difficult year for Oregon, it’s time to help every corner of the state recover and rebuild," House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) said. "While specific issues related to COVID-19 have their own source of relief funding, the legislature should use these federal dollars for restoring Oregon’s natural environments, job recovery, infrastructure projects, and returning Oregon to long-term economic stability."
Drazan said these investments will bring all Oregonians lasting benefits across the state.
"We must resist creating short-term spending obligations that will not help us rebuild our state, and that Oregon taxpayers will not be able to sustain once the money is gone," the Oregon House Republicans said in a release.
The Oregon House Republicans recommendations:
Invest in Oregon’s natural environment
- Restart the reforestation tax credits to regrow Oregon forests that burned during the historic 2020 wildfires
- Manage overgrown forests with Oregon’s “Good Neighbor” authority to prevent future fires and smoke pollution
- Upgrade Oregon’s wildland firefighting equipment
- Continue to transition away from older, outdated diesel engines
Promote workforce development education opportunities
K-12 education has the benefit of specifically allocated federal dollars to address learning gaps that kids experienced during the pandemic. ARPA funds can help higher education and workforce development opportunities recover in turn with the following investments:
- Local career academies
- Workforce development programs at community colleges
- STEM higher education career training programs
Jump-start job recovery
- Regional economic development grants
- Restaurant and hospitality industry assistance
- Downtown districts assistance
Invest in critical infrastructure projects
The future of the current Administration’s infrastructure package is uncertain. These are some Oregon projects that can launch with ARPA funds to start the recovery now:
- Bypass bridges to reduce congestion
- Critical highway repair and improvements
- Utility infrastructure connections
- Water and sewer systems
- Dam restorations
- Rail and transit systems
- Broadband access for more Oregon communities
Save for the future
These federal funds are an opportunity to build up our flexible reserves so we can prepare for future expenses. This will ensure the state continues to rebuild while the economy slowly recovers, and we can shift the burden off Oregon taxpayers.