Oct 7, 2021 - News
Governor unveils pandemic relief funding plan
Gov. Bill Lee makes a television appearance on Fox sports.
Gov. Bill Lee makes a television appearance on Fox sports. Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Gov. Bill Lee on Wednesday announced the plan for spending some $3.9 billion in federal pandemic relief funding provided to the state by the American Rescue Plan.

  • Lee developed the plan with a group that included legislative leaders and administration officials.

Why it matters: The funding delivers a massive influx of cash for long-sought projects with statewide implications.

By the numbers: Lee's plan also proposes funding several projects discussed with the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group he created last year to oversee COVID-related stimulus funds. A few items proposed under the plan:

  • $200 million for the construction of a new state health laboratory, which would upgrade services and allow for added capacity during emergencies. The Tennessean reports the existing laboratory was built 60 years ago as a tuberculosis lab.
  • $110 million to help hospitals increase staffing to handle surges in demand driven by COVID-19.
  • $275 million for external grants for businesses, nonprofits and other organizations hit by the pandemic. Organizations can apply online for funding.
  • $80 million to arts and culture nonprofits.

Yes, but: $494 million in federal funding for the state has yet to be allocated.

  • Lee's plan says that money would be doled out as more requests from state agencies are vetted.

What's next: After a public comment period this month, the accountability group will meet again to consider changes or additions to the plan.

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