The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and CARES Act have slightly different guidelines on how government agencies can use the funds. However, both are broadly designated to respond to COVID-19, support the economy, and future-proofing government operations.
Industry experts say ARPA is the most significant opportunity to reinvent systems and better prepare for the future.
"Common IT uses cases include supporting telework & distance learning, improving the citizen experience and digital services, broadband infrastructure, and modernization as an investment in cost-savings, security, and scalability. Direct aid to state and local governments fills revenue gaps caused by the pandemic based on projections from January 2020. This was not allowed for CARES Act funding," stated Ryan Gallant, Owner of Slate Consulting.
What is the purpose of the ARPA funds?
- Supporting the public health response
- Addressing the negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency
- Serving the hardest-hit communities and families
- Replacing lost public sector revenue
- Providing premium pay for essential workers
- Investing in water and sewer infrastructure
- Investing in broadband infrastructure
There is no exhaustive list of applicable use cases in ARPA funds. There are specific areas called out for technology, such as broadband, cyber-security, and data and technology infrastructure. The guidance is general and primarily requires tying the use back to COVID-19 impact. The federal government continues to clarify the Acts details by releasing updates on project requirements, justification, and reporting needs. Adding automation in the context of your goals makes for a strong financial justification. We can not say all of the following projects will qualify for ARPA funds, but the following are a few of our client’s key process improvement plans.
“Whatever you want to spend this money for, you just need to have some justification that it relates back to COVID in some way.”
- Mary Scott Nabers, President & CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
How to Receive Funds
Eligible state, territorial, municipality, county, and tribal governments may request their allocation through the Treasury Submission Portal. Before completing your request, gather your valid DUNS (data universal numbering system) number, an active SAM (system for awards management) registration, and payment information (including an EIN (entity identification number) , name, contact information, and title of your authorized representative and financial institution information.