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Where are the ARPA Funds Going in Large American Cities and Counties?

There’s been a great deal written about the ways in which states and localities are spending the federal dollars they are receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act. In fact, we just wrote one of our own in Route Fifty about communities that are using these dollars for “transformative” purposes.

A helpful resource is now available for people who want to get a detailed picture of how large cities and counties (those with populations of at least 250,000) are using their ARPA funds. You can find it by clicking here:

This tracker was formed as part of a partnership between Brookings Metro, the National Association of Counties, and the National League of Cities. According to the site on which you’ll find this treasure trove of information, it is “aimed at highlighting innovative, evidence-based, well-targeted uses of ARPA funds.”

According to Joshua Pine, City Innovation and Data Program manager for the National League of Cities, “The current data on our Tracker is for plans submitted August 31st, 2021. The data we are currently cleaning and hope to have running early next week is for plans submitted December 31st 2021.” So, for those of you who are moved by this B&G Report item to immediately visit the site, we recommend that you might want to go back again next week for the latest info.

The tracker allowed researchers to see the percentage of the ARPA funds that went to a variety of general categories, and the breakdown is illuminating.

· Government Operations - 37.6%

· Infrastructure – 12.5%

· Housing – 12.5%

· Community Aid 12.3%

· Public Health – 12.3%

· Economic and Workforce Development – 11.1%

· Public Safety – 2.3%

Atlanta, for example has chosen to spend $10 million of its ARPA funds on a program that allows individual grants, up to $40,000 to small businesses, non-profits, and cultural attractions. Meanwhile, Broward County, Florida is using a little over $26 million to fund affordable housing.

Jacksonville, Florida is using over $19 million to “mitigate financial hardship and provide (a) substantial infusion of fiscal resources to immediately stabilize for any economic harms experienced and provide working capital to lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery.” And Milwaukee has plans to use $6.1 million on a variety of pedestrian safety improvements along 25 miles of the city’s pedestrian High Injury Network which are “among the most dangerous streets in the city.”

Some years ago, we wrote that “Information is King.” Kudos to this combination of entities for understanding that and providing an easily accessible way for individuals and researchers to see what’s happening to these federal dollars in a timely way.


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