Cities weigh how to spend billions in ‘Biden money’ on the way

WASHINGTON —  Mayors are accustomed to juggling priorities with limited city revenue: Park upgrades or staff pay increases? Street paving or that long-awaited new community center? 

The crunch tightened during a global pandemic. 

But an infusion of $350 billion in federal COVID-19 rescue funds now headed to local and state governments this week sets up a new – and welcomed – dilemma: how to spend a financial windfall.

Two months after President Joe Biden signed his American Rescue Plan into law, the Treasury Department on Monday made available a historic amount of direct aid to thousands of city and county governments. Local governments are in line to collectively receive more than $110 billion over two years in addition to $125 billion for the reopening of public schools. Another $195.3 billion will go to states.