Boston wants input on $500 million spending decisions

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – Boston officials will embark on a three-pronged campaign to hear from residents on how they should spend the city’s $500 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced Tuesday.

Janey said the “Let’s Go Better” initiative will involve issue-based community meetings, a website for information and ideas, and an Equitable Recovery Task Force that will help develop recommendations.

“We want to hear from essential workers, from those who rely heavily on public transportation to get to work,” Janey said. “We want to hear from low-income working families and communities of color, seniors, youth and our small business owners, too. We want to hear from everyone, as well as all of the workers and job sectors that have been shut down or have had to limit their hours of operation because of the pandemic.”

The approach is similar to the one undertaken by the state Legislature, where top Democrats plan to hold hearings into the fall to help determine how to spend the bulk of the state’s ARPA allocation. Janey said the city wants to use its money on areas including strengthening public health and food security, addressing the opioid crisis, preventing violence, closing the racial wealth gap, and training workers.

She also described it as key for the spending decisions to take climate resilience and environmental justice into account.

“We cannot talk about a healthy and equitable recovery without addressing our climate crisis,” Janey said. “From the record heat waves in June to the record rainfall in July, our city is living with the impacts right now.”

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