WINDOW ROCK, AZ – Speaker Seth Damon and the 24th Navajo Nation Council have taken historic action by approving Legislation No. 0086-22 to appropriate $1,070,298,867 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for the construction of new water and electric lines, broadband internet connections, COVID-19 mitigation, E911/public safety, and housing infrastructure projects for the Navajo people. Sponsored by Council Delegate Mark Freeland, the bill passed by a vote of 20 in favor and two opposed.
In July 2021, Vice Chairman Carl Slater sponsored Resolution No. CJY-41-21 allocating over $400 million to immediately fund the defunded CARES Act programs for water, electricity, broadband, small business assistance, and judicial branch funding. Following this approved legislation, Madam Chair Amber Kanazbah Crotty sponsored Resolution CD-62-21 to allocate $557,000,000 to distribute hardship assistance checks to the Navajo people across the country.
“We appreciate the leadership of our chapter officials, community leaders, and my colleagues of the Navajo Nation Council for making history,” said Speaker Seth Damon. “Over a $1 billion investment has been made on behalf of the Navajo people. The last two years have made us a more resilient sovereign nation prepared to begin constructing new water, electric, and broadband internet lines for families. The Navajo Nation is ready to rebuild, construct, and create thousands of new jobs because of American Rescue Plan Act funding.”
Last year, the Navajo Nation received approximately $2.1 billion in ARPA funds from the Biden administration to respond to the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legislation No. 0086-22 will allocate the following priorities:
- $241.9 million for housing construction, veteran housing, and electric connections
- $225 million for water lines and wastewater projects
- $211.2 million for chapter and regional projects
- $150 million for bathroom additions
- $120 million for the new hardship assistance applications
- $109.8 million for internet broadband connections
- $40 million for public safety, rural addressing, and cyber security upgrades
- $19.2 million for transitional housing and detox centers
“This legislation was sponsored to directly address the living conditions of our Navajo people during this COVID-19 pandemic,” said Council Delegate Mark Freeland. “Our relatives residing in rural areas need basic infrastructure access to drinking water, electricity, and bathroom additions. This historic action by my colleagues of the Navajo Nation Council addresses the urgent needs of the communities we represent. Many of our families do not have the luxury of waiting for thousands of infrastructure projects to begin. This is the Navajo people’s money, and they deserve our immediate support during this pandemic.”
Once Speaker Damon certifies the resolution, President Jonathan Nez has 10 days to consider it. If no action is taken, it becomes Navajo Nation law immediately.
The Navajo Nation Council established the Navajo Nation Fiscal Recovery Fund (NNFRF) Office as the official headquarters to oversee and approve all APRA projects during the pandemic.