Noem to focus federal coronavirus relief on infrastructure

August 20, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Friday she is planning to focus on water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure projects as the state plans to spend nearly $1 billion in federal funds meant to help towns and cities recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

The state government is readying to receive $974.5 million from the federal government over the next year and a half. Over the course of the pandemic, South Dakota has been alloted over $4.8 billion in federal relief funds — a windfall that nearly matches the state’s annual budget.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress, state and local governments must use the funds to respond to COVID-19. They can use the money for public health programs, addressing the financial fallout of the pandemic, replacing lost revenues, pay for essential workers, or on infrastructure. The governor said the state has “ broad flexibility” in using the money.

“I look forward to working with the legislature to find ways we might use much of these funds to invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure,” Noem said in a statement.

South Dakota cities and counties will also receive $275 million from the federal government.