Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) took to the Senate floor today to highlight how communities throughout Virginia stand to benefit from the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that will soon face a vote on the Senate floor. The legislation – authored and negotiated by Sen. Warner and nine other senators from both sides of the aisle – will make once-in-a-generation investments in infrastructure that will be felt throughout Virginia.

For the Hampton Roads region, Sen. Warner highlighted: Hampton Roads, Southeast Virginia, and the Peninsula [are] most at risk from sea level rise and questions about resiliency. More than any other region in the whole country, with the exception of New Orleans. In Hampton roads, local leaders, our Navy, nonprofits, and businesses have all come together and said, ‘We need to make sure that we grapple with sea level rise.’ It is ranked by most in those communities as the number one issue. Well, if we pass this legislation, $47 billion will go into sea level rise prevention and resiliency. That will mean a whole host of projects in Norfolk, in Portsmouth, in Virginia Beach, in Chesapeake will be finally addressed. We've got to make sure that Hampton Roads is not subject to this kind of devastating effect of sea level rise.”

Sen. Warner also detailed how the funding could help expand rail into South Hampton Roads, upgrade the Port of Virginia, and repair roads and bridges, and finish the I-64 widening project.  

For the Richmond area, Sen. Warner highlighted: “Richmond has got one of the most aggressive bus transit systems – not only in Virginia but in the whole country. We have made huge investments, close to $40 billion in transit in this legislation, and some of the Richmond bus transit needs will be addressed. We also know in the Richmond area, and across the Commonwealth, we have a lot of airports. One of the things we need to continue to do is invest in our airports. Richmond International Airport is always in need of additional expansion. $25 billion to improve our airports across the country – the Richmond airport, the Norfolk airport, the Newport News airport, obviously, the Roanoke airport and others, Dulles, National, will be improved as well as the host of smaller regional airports across the Commonwealth if we make this investment.”

For Northern Virginia, Sen. Warner highlighted: “I’m very proud, that in working with Tim Kaine and the senators from Maryland, we made sure this legislation included a full eight-year reauthorization of our Metro system. We made sure that we’re making record investments in transit so that we can get Metro back up operating again on a full schedule and we can make the needed safety improvements that have been plaguing Metro for a number of years. We also know that we’ve got to continue to build out additional Metro stations in Northern Virginia. The one at Potomac Yards will be extraordinarily important to the innovation center and Amazon’s second headquarters.

“We've got to make sure as well because Metro is moving to zero-emission buses. That's good news for our climate and for our community. The question is where are those zero-emission buses going to be built? This legislation as well makes record investment in electric and other low-carbon and no-carbon buses so they can be built here, not in China.” 

Sen. Warner also detailed how the funding could help advance the Longbridge project, make dramatic improvements to the VRE, and reduce traffic on Route 1. 

For Roanoke, the Valley, and Southside Virginia, Sen. Warner highlightedFor years, we have been talking about the danger on I-81. Literally, there have been prayer groups formed to pray for people who would travel on I-81 because there is so much truck traffic there that it has frankly impeded the safety of the traveling public. We have been talking about making improvements and expansions to I-81 capacity for 20 years. We have been talking about ‘how do we get the trucks off of I-81? How do we bring more rail down to Southwest and Southside?’ Well, if we pass this legislation, we will see those I-81 corridor improvements that we have all been waiting for. We will see rail not only go to Lynchburg and Roanoke but extend on down to Blacksburg and Christiansburg and hopefully all the way down to Bristol. This is terribly important to make sure that those communities have a multimodal form of transportation opportunities. Making sure we get those trucks off of I-81 – something we have been talking about for a long time. We increase the rail capacity, both freight and passenger, we'll be able to do that.  

“We also know in Southside and Southwest post-COVID, that high-speed internet connectivity is not a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity. A top priority of mine as somebody who spent more years in the telecommunications industry than I have in politics, is to make sure that we make those connections. This historic legislation will invest $65 billion for broadband. That investment, building on governor Northam's $700 million investment from Virginia’s American Rescue Plan funds, will make sure that every household across the Commonwealth has access to high-speed internet connectivity, not five years from now or ten years from now, but in the next couple of years.”

For Southwest Virginia, Sen. Warner highlighted: “Across Southwest Virginia, and for that matter, across all of Virginia, we still have families in far Southwest that don't have access to clean drinking water on a regular basis, that still have to sometimes haul their water in the back of a pickup truck up to some cistern; they don't have access to clean drinking water in 2021. Well, $55 billion will go to water projects in this legislation, and whether they be accessed through clean drinking water on a regular basis, or whether it be taking out the lead pipes that haunt too many of our urban communities, or the storm and sewer systems that are frankly, in some cases, 60, 70, 80 years old and simply wearing out, we can make that investment as well.

“Now, there are a series of other areas in this legislation that are equally important, but at the end of the day, I can't think of a bill that I have worked on that will have more direct effect on the lives of every Virginian over the next five years – in terms of how you get to work, how you get to school, how you manage to take the kids out on the weekends, how our commerce moves, how we get our water, how we get our internet – than this record-setting $550 billion bipartisan investment in infrastructure.”

Concluded Sen. Warner, “We have talked about this for 30 years. We are literally days away from this passing the United States Senate. We've got to finish the job and get it done.”

The floor speech in its entirety is available here.