Federal rescue plan promises $700M for COVID-19 relief, new development in the Valley

The funding isn’t just to help communities dig themselves out after a depressed and stunted year, but also to feed new developments that will fortify their economies for the future, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th.

WASHINGTON — An estimated $700 million in federal COVID-19 relief is headed to communities in the 13th Congressional District under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden on Thursday.

The funding isn’t just to help communities dig themselves out after a depressed and stunted year, but also to feed new developments that will fortify their economies for the future, said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th.

“The bold action we took this week in Congress will change the course of daily life for working-class Americans now and for years to come,” Ryan is quoted in a release. “Our local communities have been in desperate need of this funding to pay for essential jobs and services.”

The City of Youngstown alone is estimated to receive a staggering $88.6 million, according to Ryan’s office. The City of Warren is estimated to receive $29.8 million. Their respective counties can expect a combined $82.8 million.

About a dozen other cities and villages in Mahoning and Trumbull counties are expected to receive an average $1.1 million, according to Ryan’s office. An estimated $11.24 billion in funding will be allocated across Ohio.

The funding estimates are based on a formula in the new recovery plan, which based state and local allocations largely on population, according to Ryan’s office. Additional funds for townships will be determined at a later date by the U.S. Department of Treasury, according to Ryan’s office.

“This is not just to plug the hole but this is also to plug communities like Youngstown, Warren and others into the economic expansion,” Ryan told reporters Thursday — communities that “have been gutted over the last 20 to 30 years.

“There are a number of needs that have gone unmet for a long, long period of time. Part of this package is to deal with the economic problems these communities had before the pandemic. … We want to make sure we can lift them up as we move out of this pandemic,” he added.

That could be for projects tackling broadband expansion or job creation, as promised by the area’s “Voltage Valley” prospects, or for simple infrastructure improvements, Ryan said.

Local governments could also pool some of their surpluses into a regional project — similar to how the Western Reserve Port Authority was formed years ago, Ryan said.

Overall, the funding will be much more flexible than what was included in the federal CARES Act last year, which local governments couldn’t use to cover their budget shortfalls, Ryan said, but it’s not without restrictions. It can’t be used to offset tax cuts or replenish pension funds, he said.

The plan includes $50 million for the Treasury to both administer the funds and oversee the spending, Ryan said.

Local officials will have until the end of 2024 to spend the funding, Ryan said.

Ryan said the $1.9 trillion package could be the last COVID-19 relief legislation Congress will pass. At the very least, it’ll get Americans through the summer, he said.

“This is going to have a significant impact on all these communities,” Ryan said. “We’re really excited to finally be able to get this done and be able to bring this money back home.”

Here’s a breakdown funding estimates for Valley counties, cities and villages in the 13th Congressional District:

  • Mahoning County: $44,350,000;
  • Trumbull County: $38,400,000;
  • Youngstown: $88,630,000;
  • Warren: $29,750,000;
  • Newton Falls village: $880,000;
  • Craig Beach village: $220,000;
  • Lordstown village: $640,000;
  • Niles city: $3,560,000;
  • McDonald village: $600,000;
  • Girard city: $1,810,000;
  • Hubbard city: $1,450,000;
  • Yankee Lake village: $10,000;
  • Campbell city: $1,530,000;
  • Struthers city: $1,980,000;
  • Lowellville village: $210,000;
  • Poland village: $470,000;
  • Cortland city: $1,300,000.