OKLAHOMA CITY – The Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding met Wednesday to review the progress made in establishing the state’s process for utilizing federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The committee was led by co-chairs Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston, and Sen. Roger Thompson, R-Okemah. The meeting gave committee members an opportunity to review the State’s new ARPA website (Oklahoma.gov/ARPA) and to formalize the joint committee’s goals and processes.
“Establishing a solid foundation for the use of these ARPA dollars will pay dividends in the long run,” said Thompson. “Thoughtful consideration into the establishment of these guidelines will ensure that taxpayer dollars are used in the most appropriate and impactful way possible. The collaboration of all those involved has been very encouraging and I look for that to continue.”
While portions of the ARPA website are still being developed, the site provides a source of information for Oklahomans to understand more about ARPA and how potential projects will be considered by a legislative-led process. The full capabilities of the website will be available in the coming weeks, including the ability to submit ARPA project ideas for the state’s consideration.
“Our vision is to create a system that will allow the joint committee to utilize set processes through working groups and a steering committee that will vet project ideas, both big and small,” Wallace said. “We will have the ability to review and consider project submissions from state agencies, nonprofits and everyday Oklahomans. The purpose of these funds is to positively impact the most Oklahomans we can and we need to consider all voices to be successful.”
State CFO Amanda Rodriguez commented on the collaborative efforts seen so far: “Both our legislative and executive branch teams are meeting daily to ensure we continue moving forward on this initiative. I am thankful for the partnership and strategic thinking of Senator Thompson and Representative Wallace and look forward to our continued collaboration of putting these funds to use in the strongest way possible to benefit Oklahomans.”
The next Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding meeting s set for Sept. 22.