Data and Methods

This document outlines the methodology that the Bay Area Equity Atlas developed and used to conduct this research as well as the sources for the data included in the Bay Area Recovery Dollars Tracker.

Background on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program to provide state, local, and tribal governments with resources to support their pandemic response efforts and ensure an equitable economic recovery. SLFRF dollars were distributed to local governments through the US Department of the Treasury (US Treasury), and jurisdictions have been encouraged through the US Treasury’s interim and final rule to target resources to the communities of color, tribal communities, and low-income communities disproportionately negatively impacted by the pandemic, while also “addressing the systemic public health and economic challenges that may have contributed to more severe impacts of the pandemic among low-income communities and people of color.”

Local governments are allowed to use SLFRF funds to:

  • Replace lost public sector revenue: Provide government services up to the amount of revenue lost due to the pandemic

  • Respond to the far-reaching public health and negative economic impacts of the pandemic: Support the health of communities and assist households, small businesses, impacted industries, nonprofits, and the public sector in recovering from the pandemic’s economic impacts

  • Provide premium pay for essential workers: Offer additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical sectors

  • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure: Make necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, and expand affordable access to broadband internet

Within each of these four allowable categories of uses, jurisdictions can exercise flexibility in how they allocate SLFRF dollars. The first tranche of dollars was distributed in May 2021 and the second tranche was distributed in May 2022. Cities and counties have until December 31, 2024, to obligate their SLFRF dollars; they are required to expend them by December 31, 2026.

A note about other ARPA funds: Local governments also received other resources (such as the Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and the Homeowner Assistance Fund) through ARPA, but this project focuses specifically on tracking SLFRF funds because they provided flexible resources for jurisdictions to respond to Covid-19.

Bay Area Recovery Dollars Tracker

The data that undergirds the Bay Area Recovery Dollars Tracker comes from the US Treasury’s reports on the projects and expenditures of SLFRF recipients. SLFRF recipients are organized into five tiers. Jurisdictions with populations greater than 250,000 residents and metropolitan cities and counties with populations less than 250,000 residents that were allocated more than $10 million (Tier 1 and 2 jurisdictions) are required to submit quarterly project and expenditure reports to the US Treasury that detail the use of their dollars. Jurisdictions with populations below 250,000 residents that were allocated less than $10 million (Tier 5 jurisdictions) are only required to submit annual project and expenditure reports. The aggregate dataset of those reports is published on the US Treasury website. Using the most current data available from the US Treasury, this tool shows how Bay Area jurisdictions have deployed SLFRF dollars across the region to date. This initial version of the dashboard and analysis uses data from the latest report that was available at the time, which captures spending decisions through September 30, 2022. The dashboard was last updated on July 2, 2024 — and it reflects US Treasury reporting data through December 31, 2023. We will continue updating the tracker and other related resources on an ongoing basis as new reports are released. 

Dashboard Geographies

The January 2024 US Treasury’s project and expenditure reports include 42 jurisdictions in the Bay Area (eight counties, 33 large cities, and the combined city and county of San Francisco). In this data update that includes the Q4 2023 dataset, San Bruno was added. This data update only includes Tier 1 and Tier 2 jurisdictions. You can email to request the annual reporting data for Tier 5 jurisdictions.