New Jersey has been badly battered on numerous fronts by the pandemic, which makes the $10.2 billion headed its way courtesy of the federal American Rescue Plan essential to recovery and rebuilding. The state will receive approximately $6.434 billion, plus another $189 million to expand broadband internet across. An additional $1.823 billion will be split among the 21 county governments and $1.741 billion divided among all 565 cities and municipalities.

The final funding formula is modeled after Sen. Bob Menendez’s bipartisan SMART Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker. By targeting federal resources to areas with the greatest need, New Jersey netted about $1 billion more than if the money had been distributed by population. 

The direct, flexible funding can be used by state and local governments to pay COVID-related expenses; cover lost revenues due to the pandemic to maintain critical services and avoid layoffs of essential workers; provide additional assistance to residents and small businesses; and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.