Western MA legislators call for regional, racial equity in distribution of federal funds

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – As the Commonwealth continues to rebound from the economic devastation that the pandemic caused, lawmakers are taking a deeper look at areas of the state that are still struggling.

During a virtual meeting earlier on Wednesday, western Massachusetts lawmakers met with members of the Governor’s cabinet to paint a picture of how bad things got in cities like Springfield and Holyoke during the pandemic. Now that the virus is relatively controlled in those areas local organizations, small businesses, and working families are left to pick up the pieces, and they want funding from the American Rescue Plan to help them do it.

“How do we go beyond that to ensure there’s a recovery effort that is equitable between eastern mass, western mass, between black and brown communities,” Bishop Talbert Swan of Springfield said.

Massachusetts received more than $5 billion from the American Rescue Plan and a good portion of the money will go to cities and towns to help them cover expenses from testing, vaccine clinics, and much more. The debate that’s happening now is exactly how much each community will get and how the money will be spent once it’s in the hands of local leaders.

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