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After Delays, SC Requests Federal Relief for Small Towns

FILE - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster
Russ McKinney
SC Public Radio
FILE - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Small towns in South Carolina waiting on $435 million in pandemic relief aid are now one step closer to getting ahold of those funds.

The state Department of Administration requested South Carolina's share of coronavirus recovery money from the federal government Friday as directed by Gov. Henry McMaster, the agency said in a news release.

Nearly $8.9 billion is estimated to flow into the state through the federal American Rescue Plan Act. State lawmakers have discretion to spend about $2.5 billion of that money on needs ranging from expanding broadband to bolstering water and sewer systems.

Many counties and cities requested their funds directly. But the 254 towns with less than 50,000 people had to wait for state officials to draw down the money on their behalf.

South Carolina was among the last states to request the cash, with municipalities growing impatient earlier this month.

State officials said McMaster and state legislative leaders were working on an overall plan that could include incentivizing local governments to work on certain infrastructure programs by providing state funding.

The municipalities will still have to submit applications to the state to receive their funds through a portal that will be made available this week.