MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s day four of the Alabama Legislature’s special session to allocate American Rescue Plan Act money, and lawmakers are making progress.
On Wednesday morning, a Senate committee voted to pass the proposed $1.06 billion spending plan with a few changes.
Lawmakers added an amendment to include stormwater infrastructure. The bill currently allocates about $400 million for water and sewer projects. This amendment states that $200 million of that can be used for stormwater projects.
Out of that $200 million funding, $100 million will go to projects in which local authorities match 35% of the cost.
Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) brought forth the amendment.
“It stretches this money out by requiring at least a small portion of this funding to require matching grants,” Elliott said.
The bill passed with 12 ayes and three abstentions.
“When you’re spending over a billion dollars, you’re not going to satisfy everybody,” Committee Chairman Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) said.
Albritton said the water, sewer and stormwater section in this bill will transform the state.
“We’re looking at significant, significant infrastructure changes in Alabama,” Albritton said. “I’m excited about it. I think it’s the best thing for Alabama. It’s one of the few things we’re doing that will have generational differences.”
By and large, the bill has seen bipartisan support. During a press conference, House Democrats talked about the bill.
“This money is spent wisely and equitably,” Rep. A.J. McCampbell (D-Gallion) said. “Overall, we support how these funds have been and will be distributed in Alabama.”
McCampbell said House Democrats are glad to see funding go toward infrastructure.
“We are especially pleased to see the priorities to upgrade water, sanitation and sewer, and the sewer systems in rural areas,” McCampbell said.
The House voted Tuesday 102 to 3 to pass the bill. Now, it’s up to the Senate.
The whole Senate will meet Thursday morning to consider the bill, as amended. If the House agrees with the changes, the bill goes to the Governor for her approval.
After that, this special session could be wrapped up by Thursday afternoon.