American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars have been coming into our state, county, and municipal wallets, opening the door for investment opportunities for local recreational infrastructure.

You likely already knew that federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars were being distributed to state governments – including Wisconsin’s – for COVID relief. But, states weren’t the only ones receiving that aid. Counties and municipalities alike have already received some ARPA funds, with more being released in 2022.

While it’s likely our state dollars have largely been spoken for, many ARPA dollars at the local and county levels are still being discussed and planned for. This is great news for biking in Wisconsin, as these dollars can be used for a number of recreational infrastructure items – specifically:

  • Repairs and upkeep on conservation lands or parks that received heavy visitation or use due to COVID.
  • Conservation investments that can be tied to public health and wellbeing, especially providing outdoor opportunities for underserved communities.

These dollars present a unique opportunity to fund recreational trails throughout the state that have previously been held up due to lack of budget. These funds need to be allocated by 2024 and spent by 2026, which means now is the time to get involved with your local and county governments to ensure they’re aware that not only can ARPA dollars be used for recreational infrastructure, but it is important to members of their community that these projects are prioritized.

More information on using ARPA dollars for investments in outdoor spaces can be found on the Treasury Department’s ARPA FAQ on page 11.