COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – State lawmakers are responsible for allocating more than $2 billion in federal relief money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

They are exploring using some of the federal funds to upgrade the aging water and sewer systems in the state.

The South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) shared a proposal during a House Ways and Means subcommittee meeting last week.

“The facilities that would be built or improved with these funds will serve us for another 25-50 years,” said RIA Director Bonnie Ammons. “We have an opportunity to put our communities in a position to succeed.”

Units from local governments, special purpose districts, joint municipal organizations and commissions of public works would be eligible to apply for this money.

RIA recommended allocating 60% of the funds for larger utilities serving more than 30,000 people and 40% for smaller utilities.

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) said the smaller utilities should get more money.

“I’m the worried the Allendale’s, Bamberg’s and Colleton’s of the state will end up getting the short end of the stick,” said Rep. Cobb-Hunter.

Rep. Cobb-Hunter also pointed out these smaller utilities would have a tougher time putting up matches for grants.

Ammons said they are proposing this 60/40 split because the larger utilities impact more people.

“They drive economic opportunities for small communities as well,” said Ammons.

Lawmakers on the subcommittee said they’ll work on legislation and an allocation plan for these projects.

Additional money from the Infrastructure and Jobs Act for these water and sewer projects is also being sent to South Carolina.