Governor Bill Lee and his administration are all set to push through and fine-tune to spend $3.9 billion in federal stimulus funds as Tennessee enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tennessean.com reports that the Fiscal Stimulus Accountability Group created by Lee in April 2020 has allocated $3.3 billion. Therefore that leaves $602 million in unallocated federal funds. It could have been used for improving public health services. The group includes the Governor, financial experts, and constitutional experts. The panel will have to designate the funds worth $3.9 billion in different welfare projects by 2024 and spend all the money before 2026.
Obligated and unallocated federal stimulus funds
The Federal assistance for the State amounted to $3.9 billion. It will come to the State in two installments — $1.9 billion this year and the remainder in 2022. The members prepared a draft spending plan on October 6, which has been amended many times.
The stimulus fund which Tennessee will receive has been designated as follows-
- $1.35 billion to water and sewer projects across the State
- $500 million in expanding broadband coverage
- $200 million will be spent in replacing the State’s public health laboratory in Nashville
- $288 million has been set aside for helping the State’s agriculture, tourism, culture, and arts industries recover from the pandemic.
- The draft plan has designated $300 million for public health capital project investments.
- $180.6 million has been dedicated toward the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
- The leftover amount which has not been designated is $119.4 million.
The federal stimulus will set up three new clinics for the disabled and children.
There are plans to set up three regional offices in Nashville, Greeneville, and Arlington, which will replace the existing three clinics offering health services to those with disabilities. The idea is to help children and citizens with special needs to remain within the community and reduce the burden on other department services.
$275 million has also been set aside for publicly accessible grants to outside organizations affected by the pandemic.