Senator Brownsberger submitted the following letter to the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means outlining his priorities for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
September 22, 2021
Michael J. Rodrigues
Chair, Senate Committee on Ways and Means
State House – Room 212
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Chairman Rodrigues,
I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share my priorities for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
ARPA funding provides the Commonwealth with a unique opportunity to strength its infrastructure against the impacts of climate change. My top priority is to provide funding to the Department of Conservation and Recreation for climate change mitigation through dam restoration, stormwater treatment, flood control, and other projects to mitigate flooding and sea level rise.
I have been engaged in efforts to improve Charlesgate Park, which is located in the City of Boston, underneath the Bowker Overpass. The Storrow Drive Eastbound Bridge Replacement Project creates the opportunity to daylight the Muddy River where it enters the Charles River at Charlesgate Park. Additionally, there is a proposal from the Charlesgate Alliance, a community-led organization, to make substantial improvements to the parkland under the overpass, which will have stormwater treatment and flood control benefits. To the extent that we include any project specific designations, I would like to see funds directed towards these projects at Charlesgate Park.
I also support using ARPA funds to provide direct relief to people in acute economic distress. Within this broad category, I support funding to alleviate hunger and to increasing the monthly TAFDC benefit for low-income families. I also support funding for Public Housing Authority investment and rehabilitation.
Additionally, I believe ARPA funding should be allocated to strengthen our public health infrastructure. Community Care Cooperative requests ARPA funding to convert existing health records into Electronic Health Records (EHRs) for Community Health Centers across the Commonwealth. Fenway Health and the Charles River Community Health Center are Community Health Centers that serve my district, and both would benefit from this EHR conversion. I encourage you to consider these types of investments within the scope of public health infrastructure funding.
My final priority is to provide direct relief to small businesses, including to the arts and cultural sector. Within this category, I support using ARPA funding to lower Unemployment Insurance (UI) COVID-19 Recovery Assessment rates for small businesses.
William N. Brownsberger