Federal COVID aid OK’d to pay for roads, natural disasters

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — States and local governments soon will have new flexibility to spend billions of dollars of federal coronavirus relief funds on some things not directly related to the pandemic. A $1.7 trillion spending bill recently signed into law included several provisions expanding the ways governments can use a pool of $350 billion of previously approved pandemic relief. Transportation infrastructure projects will be eligible at up to $10 million or 30% of their pandemic relief funds, whichever is greater. There will be no cap on using pandemic funds for aid from wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. The expanded spending options are expected to take effect by the end of February.