WASHINGTON, — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced two direct loans for Virginia from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program: a loan of up to $82.6 million to help finance the I-81 Regular Project—which is focused on various improvements in Roanoke County, including the construction of additional lanes and bridge replacements—and $15 million for the I-81 Rural Project to extend highway on and off ramps in Frederick, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Shenandoah, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe Counties, as well as in Abingdon and Wytheville.
“Anyone who has traveled on I-81 knows that it’s in desperate need of repair. That’s why we’ve fought for upgrades that will make it easier and safer for Virginians to travel I-81 for work or for fun, and for Virginia businesses to ship their products to customers near and far,” said the Senators. “We’re pleased these loans are headed to Virginia to help make I-81 improvements possible, and will keep working to build on the progress we made with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to ensure that Virginia communities can build and maintain their roads and bridges.”
More than one-third of all trucks that drive through Virginia and approximately half of the Commonwealth’s value of goods are transported along I-81. In the last decade, I-81 has experienced significant traffic growth, with travel expected to continue increasing along the interstate.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have consistently championed infrastructure funding for Virginia. In 2019, Warner and Kaine wrote to DOT and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), requesting funding for vital improvements to I-81 that would enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion. Warner and Kaine have long supported transportation projects to address traffic congestion and expand transportation options in the Commonwealth, including by passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The BIL reauthorized and expanded the TIFIA program to help fund future infrastructure projects like this. Kaine successfully included his bipartisan legislation in the BIL to streamline the application process for TIFIA loans, helping more Virginia communities access TIFIA financing.