President Joe Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan and local leaders said Tuesday they are excited to use the funds to spur economic recovery efforts throughout the Westside and assist the many families who have been affected by the pandemic.

Mayor Sue Himmelrich joined Rep. Ted Lieu and his fellow co-chairs of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee this week for a virtual news conference where they spoke on how the $18.5 billion plan will be allocated to cities like Santa Monica.

In earlier rounds of stimulus packages, cities with smaller populations were left out of the funding formula. This included Santa Monica even though it’s economy is driven by tourism, which was driven to a halt by the COVID-19 pandemic, and is largely why the city has lobbied for federal funding to be based on revenue loss rather than population alone.

And while the $29.3 million in relief will not fill the projected $224 million in revenue losses, city officials said the funds are gladly welcomed and much-needed.

“This American rescue plan is transformative,” Lieu said, “and it’s really helping American families and businesses across our country. It’s designed for all of the people to put shots into arms, people back into jobs, children to schools and cash in our pockets.”

After others noted how the plan extends federal supplemental unemployment benefits, increases funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, provides funds for housing stabilization and to address homelessness and help schools reopen safely, Lieu said the plan also provided money to cities and counties so that they can build back better. And one of the cities is the beautiful city of Santa Monica.

“For those of you not familiar with Santa Monica, it is an 8.3 square mile city with 90,000 people. And as of January of 2021, we had a projected $224 million shortfall from the pandemic, and had received from the federal government $1.14 million,” Himmelrich said immediately after being introduced by Lieu. “Now, let me say something else about Santa Monica, we are a generous city whose taxpayers have voted time and time again to tax themselves for our schools for affordable housing and, basically, to support our community. And thanks to this administration and to President Biden, we received almost $30 million from the American rescue plan; and with this $30 million, we will be able to restore many of the community funds that we lost to do allow us to provide rent relief, including to our own nonprofit chemists and to reopen our businesses to restore community services our schools are reopening.”

As she shared how grateful she is, Himmelrich added, “We are a different city today than we were just in January thanks to these funds that have truly allowed us to make a rebound to begin to climb back to where we were before the pandemic.”