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Legislature Passes $4 Billion ARPA Funding Legislation

The Massachusetts Legislature has approved an appropriations bill to allocate $4 billion dollars in federal ARPA funds.  The bill includes $90 million for marine port development, $150 million for the construction of new rental units for low-income individuals and $500 million to help reduce the deficit in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund for the purpose of reducing the tax burden on employers. The bill also earmarks $107 million for workforce development programs and $100 million to support public vocational education programs.

This legislation requires the DCAMM Commissioner to establish participation goals for minority and women owned businesses on all capital facilities and state assisted building projects that utilize federal funds under this act.  All requests for proposals issued by a state authority or agency for such projects must include a scoring factor to meet participation goals.  Any bidder that has been sanctioned or disbarred for or has an ongoing record of failure to achieve workforce or subcontractor diversity goals on previous work for the state, shall not be a suitable bidder to receive an award of contract on a project funded with ARPA funds.

An Equity and Accountability Review Panel was also created within the Executive Office of Administration and Finance which has been tasked with creating a system to track the spending of federal funds appropriated by this legislation. All state and local agencies that receive ARPA funding will be required to submit data required by the panel which will include a breakdown of contracts and subcontracts funds awarded to diverse businesses.

This bill is now before the Governor for his consideration. He is likely to sign the legislation but may veto specific line items and budget language which would then need to be considered by the House and the Senate.