Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Rep Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) announced $6,000,000 in federal funding for improvements to Norfolk International Airport. The funding was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which the lawmakers helped pass to improve air travel, roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and water infrastructure.

Specifically the funding will go towards the construction of a new Federal Inspection Service (FIS) international arrivals facility, which will process cargo and agricultural products, in order to meet U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements. This new center will replace the current outdated facility that has very limited processing capability, and will increase capacity at the facility to allow for multiple aircrafts to be processed simultaneously.

“Our regional airports service hundreds of flights weekly, and we’re glad this funding will help improve Norfolk International’s ability to process flights in a timely fashion, ensuring that the facility stays functional and safe,” said the lawmakers.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve Virginia’s airports, including by securing funding for regional airports throughout the Commonwealth. Last year, the senators announced a series of awards for Virginia’s airports as part of the $15 billion in direct grants to airports around the country as a result of the infrastructure law.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $35,000,000 in federal funding for expansion and improvements to Dulles International Airport. The funding was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which both senators helped pass to improve air travel, roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and water infrastructure.

Specifically the funding will go towards building a 14-gate, 400,000 square foot terminal building. The new terminal will include direct connection to the Aerotrain, which helps move passengers throughout the airport, as well as indirect connection to the Metro Silver Line at Dulles, which Sens. Warner and Kaine helped open in 2022. Sens. Warner and Kaine announced $49.6 million in 2022 and $20 million in 2023 to support the construction of the new concourse. 

“Dulles Airport is a beacon for both domestic and international flights, and has expanded rapidly over the past decade,” said the senators. “This funding will improve travel for passengers and ensure that the airport stays functional and safe while continuing to meet flight demands.”

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve Virginia’s airports for travelers, including securing funding for Dulles, Ronald Reagan Washington National, and regional airports throughout the Commonwealth courtesy of the BIL. In addition, Sens. Warner and Kaine have been outspoken about the harm that changes to the FAA slot and perimeter rule would have on Reagan Airport. Dulles Airport is more equipped to handle expansion and increased long-distance flights, and this funding will help to facilitate this expansion.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $25,144,014 in federal funding for Virginia Beach to protect critical infrastructure from the impacts of consistent flooding and rising sea levels. The project will fund several upgrades – including stormwater pump stations – to support coastal resilience across the city and along Shore Drive. 

“Rising sea levels threaten lives and livelihoods, and also risk the continued strength of our roads and bridges,” the senators said. “We’re glad to see $25 million headed straight to Virginia Beach to further shore up resilience efforts across Hampton Roads, protecting residents from the danger of severe weather, the threat of property damage, and the frustration of flooded roads.”

This grant will protect vital infrastructure in Virginia Beach and along Shore Drive that is being impacted by rising sea levels, higher tidal systems, and stormwater runoff that results in regular roadway floods during normal rain events. This project will include two large stormwater pump stations, an automated tide gate, two significant outfall discharges, collection systems, a rain garden, and canal deepening and widening to alleviate flooding in the community. This project will protect up to a 100-year base flood elevation, mitigate flooding on transportation infrastructure and on 11 Repetitive Loss properties, and provide drainage to 614 buildings.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have consistently fought for more resilience measures across Hampton Roads. As part of the bipartisan infrastructure law (BIL), Sens. Warner and Kaine secured $1.5 million for the Virginia Beach and Vicinity Coastal Storm Risk Management Study. Also through the BIL, they secured nearly $399 million for the Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Project, which will reduce and manage flooding in Norfolk through a system of surge barriers, tidal gates, floodwalls, levees, pump stations, and non-structural measures. In June, Sens. Warner and Kaine visited Norfolk for the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement, which kicked off the formal partnership between the City of Norfolk and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, allowing the project to commence. 

This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program. The BRIC program provides funding for proactive upgrades to areas at greater risk of damage from hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires.

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded $171,555,620 in federal funding for five transit projects in Virginia. This funding was authorized by the bipartisan infrastructure law supported by both Senators and signed into law by President Joe Biden. Specifically, these federal dollars will go towards investing in bus facilities and American-built buses that will be manufactured with American parts and labor.  

“We are thrilled to see the bipartisan infrastructure law continue to deliver for communities,” said the Senators. “This funding will help deliver state-of-the-art buses and bus facilities that are better for our environment and make Virginia’s transit systems more reliable and comfortable for riders. We’re proud to know that this funding will support American jobs while making our communities more accessible.” 

The funding will be distributed as follows:

  • The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will receive $104 million to convert its Lorton, VA, bus garage to a fully electric facility, buy approximately 100 battery-electric buses, and develop a workforce training program for drivers, mechanics, and first responders to ensure safe and efficient operations of the fleet. This project will support WMATA’s plans to accelerate its transition to a 100-percent zero-emission bus fleet and create good paying construction jobs, which will be supported through a project labor agreement and registered apprenticeships.
  • The City of Alexandria will receive $23,984,700 to buy 13 battery-electric buses and charging equipment and perform utility upgrades to the DASH transit system. The project includes worker training to introduce new skills to the existing and future workforce to maintain the electric buses, charging infrastructure and associated technology. The buses will accelerate DASH's transition to a 100% zero-emission fleet.
  • Loudoun County will receive $13,880,910 to buy 37 compressed natural gas buses, build a fueling station and improve its maintenance facility, the first step in its 10-year net-zero energy strategy.  The buses will anchor the agency's fleet and service the county's environmental justice communities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads will receive $25,000,000 to replace the 39-year-old Parks Avenue Maintenance Facility in Virginia Beach to accommodate future zero-emission buses. The new Southside Bus Operating Facility will help the agency support and maintain its current fleet while preparing to support expanded regional transit service.
  • The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) will receive $4,690,010 to replace the oldest buses operated by 11 rural transit providers. The project includes the purchase of a few dozen replacement buses that are vital to reducing a backlog of adequate vehicles. 

Funding for these projects was distributed through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle programs.

The Buses and Bus Facilities program provides federal funding for transit agencies to buy and rehabilitate buses and vans and build and modernize bus facilities. The bipartisan infrastructure law provides nearly $2 billion through FY 2026 for the program. The Low-No program makes funding available to help transit agencies buy or lease American-built low- or zero-emission vehicles, including buses and vans; make facility and station upgrades to accommodate low- or zero-emission vehicles; and purchase supporting equipment like chargers for battery electric vehicles. The bipartisan infrastructure law provides $5.5 billion through FY 2026 for the Low-No Program – more than six times greater than the previous five years of funding combined.  

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today voted to pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act, legislation to ensure years of continued funding for grant programs that support fire departments and firefighters all across the Commonwealth. Today’s vote in the Senate comes as two critical funding programs near their 2024 expiration deadline.

“Virginia firefighters routinely put themselves at risk to save lives and stop catastrophe in its tracks. We are proud to have voted to continue delivering the federal dollars fire departments need to keep serving their communities. We urge our colleagues in the House to pass this bill expeditiously and send it to the President’s desk so that firefighters can count on the resources they need to stay safe and retain a solid frontline workforce,” said the Senators. 

Specifically, this legislation would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, which provides funding to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. It would also reauthorize the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, which provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities.

Since 2015, more than 253 AFG grants and 72 SAFER grants have been awarded to communities throughout the Commonwealth, with Virginia fire departments receiving more than 8 million dollars from these programs in this year alone.

So far, in 2023, the following localities have received funding through the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grant program:

  • Isle of Wight County received $959,020
  • The City of Alexandria received $600,000
  • The City of Lynchburg received $830,636
  • Franklin County received $438,238
  • The Bland County Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. received $163,476
  • The Scruggs Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. in Franklin County received $66,666

So far, in 2023, the following localities have received funding through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program:

  • The City of Manassas Park received $3,582,866
  • Rappahannock County received $561,617
  • Goochland County received $556,972
  • The Town of Chatham received $204,804
  • Hanover County received $41,800 
  • Stephens City Fire And Rescue Company, Inc. in Frederick County received $21,068

This legislation, passed by the Senate, will now head to the House of Representatives.

 

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 WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (Both D-VA) released the following statement ahead of the U.S. Senate’s first procedural vote on the Fire Grants and Safety Act, legislation to reauthorize grant programs for fire departments and firefighters, which is expected later today:

“Virginia’s fire departments play an essential role in supporting our communities and saving lives. We have a responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need to protect, recruit, and retain firefighters. For years, grant programs like those included in the Fire Grants and Safety Act have helped provide those resources. We look forward to voting for this legislation to make sure those grant programs continue, and will do everything else we can to support our brave firefighters and first responders.”

Specifically, the legislation would reauthorize the Assistance for Firefighters (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant programs, both of which are set to expire in 2024. AFG grants are awarded to fire departments, state fire training academies, and emergency medical service organizations to help them meet the needs of their communities, by helping firefighters and first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards.

So far in 2023, the following localities in Virginia received AFG awards to support their operations and safety upgrades:

  • Isle of Wight County received $959,020
  • The City of Alexandria received $600,000
  • The City of Lynchburg received $830,636
  • Franklin County received $438,238
  • The Bland County Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. received $163,476
  • The Scruggs Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. received $66,666

For the full list of 253 AFG grants awarded to Virginia communities since 2015, click here.

SAFER grants provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained “front line” firefighters available in their communities.

So far in 2023, the following localities in Virginia received SAFER grants to assist with recruitment and retention efforts:

  • The City of Manassas Park received $3,582,866
  • Rappahannock County received $561,617
  • Goochland County received $556,972
  • The Town of Chatham received $204,804
  • Hanover County received $41,800
  • Stephens City Fire And Rescue Company, Inc. received $21,068

For the full list of 72 SAFER grants awarded to Virginia communities since 2015, click here.

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $9,685,734 in federal funding to support the expansion of broadband at three Virginia Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Awarded through the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, this funding will allow Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Union University to improve existing internet networks and provide workforce development opportunities to students and surrounding communities. 

“High-speed internet is no longer a nice-to-have – it’s a need-to-have, particularly at our institutions of higher ed,” the Senators said. “This funding for Norfolk State, Virginia State, and Virginia Union represents strong steps towards closing the digital divide, developing a tech savvy workforce, and improving connectivity at three of Virginia’s HBCUs and in their surrounding communities.”

The funding is distributed as follows:

  • $3,898,789 for Norfolk State University to improve fiber connection on campus, create workforce development opportunities in STEM, IT, and cybersecurity careers, and provide off-site internet-focused training for students and local community members. These projects will leverage partnerships with Norfolk City Schools and local churches to expand job readiness for students of all ages and citizens of Norfolk.
  • $2,987,765 for Virginia Union University to improve wireless connectivity on campus, hire additional IT staff, and offer digital skills development opportunities for prioritized students, faculty, and community members. 
  • $2,799,180 for Virginia State University to upgrade and install fiber optic cable, purchase laptops to distribute to freshmen, and implement a community coding initiative for K-12 students in the Ettrick-Petersburg region.

The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program is a $268 million competitive grant program available to expand internet access and train information technology personnel at HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). The funding was originally authorized by the government spending bill and COVID-19 relief package that was negotiated by Sen. Warner and supported by Sen. Kaine.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long fought to expand access to broadband in Virginia. During negotiations for the bipartisan infrastructure law, Sen. Warner secured $65 billion in funding to help deploy broadband and decrease costs associated with connecting to the internet. As part of that funding, Virginia recently received $5 million to help make a strategic plan to deploy coverage. Sen. Warner also recently introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to ensure broadband investments are not considered taxable income.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $718,750 in federal funding from the Department of Justice through the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). Both Senators are long-time supporters of funding for the COPS program via the Appropriations process. These funds will allow Virginia law enforcement agencies to hire new or rehire career law enforcement officers to better serve communities, reduce crime, and advance public safety through community policing efforts.

“Community policing allows our police departments to build relationships with the communities they serve,” the Senators said.“These funds will help make our police departments more effective and more responsive while fostering a positive and strong relationship between officers and members of the community.”

The funding will be distributed as follows:

  • The City of Buena Vista will receive $93,750. 
  • The City of Manassas Park will receive $250,000.
  • The City of Radford will receive $375,000. 

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA-02), sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today requesting that she direct the National Park Service to accept a 40-acre donation of land that would enhance and protect the Fort Monroe National Monument.

“Despite Fort Monroe’s significance to American history and exceptional recreational value, the monument, as it exists today, includes a very small number of historic buildings and fee ownership of less than half the property’s 565 acres. The fortress itself – the largest stone fort constructed in North America – remains in state ownership, while an easement allows the Park Service some control over its use. Virginia retains full responsibility for the fortress and the dozens of historic buildings on the property,” wrote the lawmakers.

“This donation would establish a physical connection between the two sections of Fort Monroe, creating an unbroken coastline along the Chesapeake Bay from Old Point Comfort to the northern end of the property,” they continued. “Despite the expected additional modest federal financial responsibility that would be expected from a land donation, we believe the cause of protecting and enhancing Fort Monroe is worth the Park Service’s additional investment. Fort Monroe has a unique and diverse history to tell and a tremendous amount of untapped potential we believe can be unlocked.”

Fort Monroe was built between 1819 and 1834 to protect the entrance to Hampton Roads. During the Civil War, Major General Benjamin Butler issued his famous “contraband decision” at Fort Monroe, ordering that escaped slaves who reached Union lines could not be returned to bondage. It was this consequential decision that earned Fort Monroe the nickname “Freedom's Fortress.”

In 2019, following the Trump Administration’s failure to accept the land donation, Sens. Warner and Kaine introduced legislation to add these 40 acres to Fort Monroe in order to unify the two divided sections and achieve an unbroken coastline along the Chesapeake Bay.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below: 

Dear Secretary Haaland:

We write today to request that you direct the National Park Service to accept a pending 40-acre land donation from the Commonwealth of Virginia to the Fort Monroe National Monument. The addition of this land would accomplish a longtime goal of connecting the eastern section of the property and would help protect the monument for future generations.

In 2011, then-President Barack Obama designated Fort Monroe a national monument using his authority under the Antiquities Act. Fort Monroe holds a special place in Virginia and our nation’s history that tells a unique, complicated, and diverse story. Despite Fort Monroe’s significance to American history and exceptional recreational value, the monument, as it exists today, includes a very small number of historic buildings and fee ownership of less than half the property’s 565 acres. The fortress itself – the largest stone fort constructed in North America – remains in state ownership, while an easement allows the Park Service some control over its use. Virginia retains full responsibility for the fortress and the dozens of historic buildings on the property.

In 2015, the Commonwealth of Virginia agreed to donate approximately 40 coastal acres including additional land in the Wherry Quarter to Fort Monroe, to enhance and protect the monument. Following a thorough review, the Park Service indicated it could accept a land donation of approximately 40 acres in the eastern section of the Wherry Quarter. This donation would establish a physical connection between the two sections of Fort Monroe, creating an unbroken coastline along the Chesapeake Bay from Old Point Comfort to the northern end of the property. The Commonwealth remains committed to donating this property to Fort Monroe and is willing to work with the Park Service to determine the best use for the property.

The approximately 40 acres of coastal land contain several low-rise non-historic buildings, which could be demolished or utilized for alternative purposes. We understand the Commonwealth has continued to negotiate in good faith to lease these buildings to new tenants, which would mitigate any potential costs to the Park Service. Despite the expected additional modest federal financial responsibility that would be expected from a land donation, we believe the cause of protecting and enhancing Fort Monroe is worth the Park Service’s additional investment. Fort Monroe has a unique and diverse history to tell and a tremendous amount of untapped potential we believe can be unlocked.

Acceptance of this land donation would demonstrate to the Commonwealth that the Park Service is a reliable federal partner that can be relied on to follow through on its plans. In recent years, Virginia and the Park Service have endorsed a “One Fort Monroe” concept, which has the goal of elevating Fort Monroe as a national treasure and unlocking the landmark’s vast historical and recreational potential. Recently, the Commonwealth has worked collaboratively with the Park Service to open a new combined visitor center and hosted a successful 400th anniversary commemoration event regarding the arrival of the first Africans in North America. Moving forward with this land donation will help strengthen the relationship between the Commonwealth and Fort Monroe and help the monument move closer to realizing its vast potential.

We respectfully request that the Department of the Interior move forward with accepting this land donation from the Commonwealth of Virginia as quickly as possible. This transfer has been delayed for too long and the time is now for this donation to move forward. We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your response.

 

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WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced a series of federal grants totaling $6,852,407 awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Virginia.

“The Head Start and Early Head Start programs ensure schools, organizations, and communities have the resources they need to support young children and their families,” said the Senators. “We’re thrilled to see these federal dollars go toward promoting early childhood development in the Commonwealth and will continue advocating for investments in our nation’s children.” 

The funding will be awarded as follows:                                                                                                                           

  • Total Action Against Poverty in the Roanoke Valley will receive $3,060,545
  • Stafford County School District in Stafford will receive $2,766,107
  • Spotsylvania County School Board in Fredericksburg will receive $1,025,755

Head Start programs promote school readiness for children under 5 years old from low-income families through health, education, family support, and social services. Early Head Start (EHS) programs serve infants and toddlers under the age of 3, and pregnant women.

As Governors and Senators, Warner and Kaine have long advocated for investments in early childhood education. 

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NEWPORT NEWS, VA - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), as well as Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02), and Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), announced the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) has been awarded a $847,646 grant from the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) through the U.S. Department of Transportation. Specifically, this grant will provide funding to expand service at PHF with a new United flight to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).  

“We are glad to see this vital funding go toward supporting travel throughout the Commonwealth, while also promoting greater economic opportunities for the surrounding areas,” said Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.  

“This grant will not only provide vital air service between the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) and Washington Dulles Airport (IAD), but benefit the entire Greater Peninsula area,” said Congressman Rob Wittman. “By returning United Airlines to PHF with regular service for the first time since the early 1980’s, this grant allows PHF to meet the regions’ growing business demands through vital connections to overseas destinations. I am proud to have advocated on behalf of this funding for the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, and look forward to watching as this project improves the economy and quality of life across coastal Virginia.” 

“Providing an additional direct flight from Newport News/Williamsburg to Washington Dulles Airport is critical to meeting the transit and economic needs of the over 500,000 residents of the Peninsula,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria. "Time after time, I have voiced the importance of investing in our regional infrastructure, and I am proud to have helped secure this victory alongside the Virginia delegation on behalf of Peninsula residents.”

“This grant will greatly benefit the Commonwealth by providing regular air service between Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) and Washington Dulles Airport (IAD),” said Congressman Bobby Scott. “This will help reduce congestion on our roadways, boost our economy, and provide more connection to overseas destinations. I am thankful for the bipartisan effort to secure this grant funding and look forward to seeing its implementation.” 

“The Peninsula Airport Commission and its staff are grateful for the tremendous amount of public and private support our community provided us during the application process,” said Michael Giardino, Executive Director of the Peninsula Airport Commission. “We are committed to bringing reliable commercial air service to the Virginia Peninsula.” 

This grant announcement follows a series of letters sent by Representatives Wittman, Luria, and Scott, as well as Senators Warner and Kaine, to the United States Department of Transportation recommending the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport be awarded this grant from SCASDP. You can find these letters attached to this release.  

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $13,715,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded to four airports across the Commonwealth to fund infrastructure improvements to the airports’ runways. 

“We are pleased to see these federal dollars awarded to the Commonwealth to go toward updating four of Virginia’s airport runways,” said the Senators. “This funding will enable our airports to better support travelers and economic opportunities for the surrounding areas.”

A breakdown of the funding is below:

  • Virginia Highlands Airport Commission will receive a grant of $3,216,000 to go toward a runway extension at the Virginia Highlands Airport in Abingdon. 
  • Stafford Regional Airport Authority will receive a grant of $5,499,000 to go toward a runway extension at the Stafford Regional Airport in Stafford.
  • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will receive a grant of $3,300,000 to go toward a runway reconstruction at the Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles.
  • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will receive a grant of $1,700,000 to go toward a runway reconstruction at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are stepping up to the plate today by introducing the Minor League Baseball Relief Act to help the nine Minor League Baseball (MiLB) teams in Virginia who are hurting economically after the COVID-19 crisis threw a curveball into their 2020 season. The Minor League Baseball Relief Act would provide up to $550 million in federal relief funding for MiLB teams, which serve as important economic engines in communities across the Commonwealth as baseball fans come to attend games and end up patronizing local businesses like restaurants, hotels, and other attractions. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by heavy hitters Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David McKinley (R-WV).

“For many working families, catching a weekend Minor League Baseball game at stadiums across the Commonwealth is an affordable and fun family outing,” said Sen. Warner.“Baseball isn’t just America’s pastime, it also represents an economic lifeline for many communities. However, like many small businesses throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our Minor League Baseball teams in Virginia and across the country have struggled mightily to keep the lights on. Since there was no Minor League Baseball season in 2020 due to the pandemic, many of these teams have sustained heavy financial losses that have not been substantially mitigated by existing small business economic relief programs. I’m pleased to work with my colleagues on this bill that would allow these local treasures access to economic relief.”

“Baseball is not only America’s favorite pastime, bringing friends and families together; it’s also a critical economic engine for the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Kaine. “Teams in communities across Virginia support our local economy and create jobs. The pandemic has taken a toll on this beloved sport, and I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help MiLB teams through this economic crisis.”

The bases are loaded in Virginia, with nine MiLB teams in the Commonwealth eligible for financial relief under the Minor League Baseball Relief Act, which include the:

·         Fredericksburg Nationals (formerly Potomac)

·         Norfolk Tides 

·         Richmond Flying Squirrels

·         Lynchburg Hillcats 

·         Danville Otterbots (formerly Braves)

·         Pulaski River Turtles (formerly Yankees)

·         Salem Red Sox 

·         Bluefield Ridge Runners (formerly Blue Jays)

·         Bristol State Liners (formerly Pirates) 

The Minor League Baseball Relief Act would be modeled after the successful Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG) program, which has provided needed assistance to venues like theatres, museums, or concert halls that were forced to shut due to necessary COVID-19 safety measures. 

Specifically, the Minor League Baseball Relief Act would:

·         Repurpose up to $550 million in COVID-19 relief funding for an emergency grant program to be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) that would otherwise be returned to the U.S. Treasury.

·         Provide eligible clubs grants up to a maximum of $10 million. Allowable expenses include payroll costs, regular business expenses (e.g., rent, utilities), worker protection expenditures, and payments made to independent contractors.

·         Provide an opportunity for a second grant at 50 percent of the first if a club’s revenue does not recover and does not significantly exceed its 2019 total.

·         Require strict oversight from SBA through documentation, review of use, and an audit on grant funding, and applies to any minor league baseball team previously part of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues but not to any club that is majority-owned by Major League Baseball.

Play ball and read a copy of the bill text here.

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WASHINGTON – Over the last 24 hours, here’s just some of what Virginians have been reading about the $7.2 billion in relief funds that are headed to the state and local governments thanks to the American Rescue Plan:

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia cities to get double boost from American Rescue Plan as money starts to flow

Virginia will receive $4.3 billion, or $500 million more than previously expected, under the American Rescue Plan Act, while Richmond and other cities will get a double financial benefit because of their status as independent cities under guidance released by the U.S. Treasury Department on Monday.

Richmond, for example, will receive $110 million as a city and almost $45 million as a county under the act, which President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11 as the first signature legislative achievement of his presidency to jump-start an economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[…]

Many localities lost substantial amounts of revenue from taxes on meals, lodging and admissions during the pandemic and state restrictions imposed on businesses, especially in areas dependent on tourism, such as Williamsburg and the rest of the Historic Triangle.

“They’re slowly coming back as the economy slowly reopens,” said Neal Menkes, a fiscal consultant to the Virginia Municipal League.

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, D-Va., drove the needs home in a letter with the state’s seven Democratic congressional representatives to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in mid-April that argued for funding as both city and county: “The treatment of independent cities under the Treasury Department guidance for allocating local relief funds will have a profound impact on our constituents,” they wrote.

Virginia cities would have lost almost $500 million in funding if counted only as cities or towns, and almost $800 million if designated only as counties, the Democrats said.

Daily Press: Over $790M in rescue-plan funds heading to cities, counties and colleges in Hampton Roads

The American Rescue Plan will pump more than $790 million of pandemic relief funds into the Hampton Roads economy through funding to local governments and area colleges and universities.

The plan, enacted earlier this year, is giving $618 million to Hampton Roads cities and counties, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced. The state government will get nearly $4.3 billion — the combined total of funds for the state and its cities and counties comes to $7.2 billion, the senators said.

They said they were pleased the Biden administration listened to their calls to give state and local governments flexibility in using the money. It should help the state and its cities and counties recover from the impact of lost revenue, as well as boosting public health efforts and broadband expansion, the senators said.

Colleges and universities in Hampton Roads will receive more than $162 million in emergency funding under the American Rescue Plan, Reps. Robert C. “Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, and Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk, reported.

The funding will help the schools cope with the financial impact of the pandemic, said Scott, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor. 

At least half the funding each institution is getting will be distributed as emergency cash assistance grants to students who are facing hunger, homelessness or other hardships, he said.

WVTF: How much is your community getting from ARPA?

The Treasury Department released much-awaited figures regarding aid from the American Rescue Plan Act Monday evening. In total Virginia’s set to receive $7.2 billion. $4.3 billion will go to the state, and $2.9 billion directly to localities.

Virginia’s cities organize themselves in a way that’s unlike almost all other states. That created worries that cities would miss out on their share of funds from the America Rescue Plan Act. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with Virginia’s House Democrats, wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking her to give independent cities money for both cities and counties.

County allocations are generally based on population, where as metro city allocations were based on a set of variables from the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, wrote Rob Bullington of the Virginia Municipal League in an email. Independent cities don't fall into either of these categories. 

“I think the Virginia delegation did a great job in making the case that this was the legislative intent of ARPA that these funds be provided as was shown in the first traunch,” said Bob Lazaro, the Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.   

NBC29: Virginia to receive $7.2 billion from Treasury Department’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The Winchester Star: Warner, Kaine praise Treasury's launch of state, local COVID relief funds

Bristol Herald Courier: Local cities, counties divide $70M in coronavirus relief funds

Culpeper Star-Exponent: Culpeper area counties to receive more than $35 million from American Rescue Plan

The Northern Virginia Daily: Warner, Kaine praise Treasury's launch of state, local COVID relief funds 

Chatham Star-Tribune: Over $40 million in COVID relief coming to Pittsylvania County, Danville

WHSVVirginia to receive $7.2 billion from Treasury Department’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

The Southwest Times: County to get $6.6M in relief funds

Henrico Citizen: Henrico to receive $64.2M in American Rescue Plan funds

Local leaders across Virginia have praised the passage of the American Rescue Plan, noting that state and local governments have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response since last year.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $19,155,185 in federal funding to provide economic relief to 11 airports across Virginia. The funding, awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), was authorized by the December 2020 emergency COVID-19 relief bill supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

“We are happy to announce that these funds will go towards supporting 11 airports in Virginia,” said the Senators. “While we work to get folks vaccinated and the economy back on track, these dollars will help ensure that our regional airports have what they need to continue combating COVID-19 and serving travelers.” 

The funding will be distributed as follows:

Airport:

Location:

Amount:

Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport 

Albemarle County

$2,928,978

Culpeper Regional Airport

Culpeper County

$23,000

Louisa County/Freeman Field Airport

Louisa County

$13,000

Lynchburg Regional Airport

Campbell County

$1,261,006

Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport

Newport News

$1,951,578

Norfolk International Airport

Norfolk

$5,768,825

Richmond International Airport

Henrico County

$6,143,825

Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport

Augusta County

$ 1,005,973

Stafford Regional Airport 

Stafford County

$13,000

Warrenton-Fauquier Airport

Fauquier County

$23,000

Winchester Regional Airport

Frederick County

$23,000

Specifically, this funding will go towards helping airports cover costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitization, janitorial services, debt service payments, and efforts to combat the spread of pathogens.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long fought for increased investments to infrastructure, including for Virginia’s airports. Most recently, they supported the passage and signing of the American Rescue Plan, which provides robust transportation funding for airports and other transit systems throughout Virginia.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement today after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law: 

“By signing the American Rescue Plan into law, President Biden has taken an enormous step in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and setting our nation on a clear path forward to rebuild from this crisis. Soon, this bold legislation will start delivering urgent relief for Virginians and funding for the Commonwealth’s top priorities.

“The American Rescue Plan will help our nation heal by getting vaccines into arms, expanding COVID-19 testing and tracing, and providing schools with the resources they need to reopen safely. It will also tackle the vast economic challenges related to COVID-19 by putting checks in Americans’ hands, helping small businesses keep their doors open, increasing nutrition benefits for families, assisting struggling renters and homeowners, cutting the child poverty rate in half, and providing funding for state, local, and tribal governments facing drastic budget shortfalls. This bill also includes a record $17 billion in funding to increase affordability and access to broadband – a priority I was proud to secure for the 700,000 Virginians who are still unable to access high-speed internet a year into a pandemic that has further pushed our world online.

“Like any ambitious piece of legislation, the American Rescue Plan is not perfect. I will be the first to acknowledge that the price tag is a significant one. However, this moment is too pivotal to risk doing too little and the future of our country is well worth the investment. I look forward to working to ensure that funding is distributed appropriately, programs are implemented quickly, and Virginians get the help they deserve.”

Through the American Rescue Plan, the Commonwealth of Virginia will receive, among other funding, more than $6,875,000,000 in state and local government funding; $451,000,000 in emergency rental assistance; $2,999,000,000 in education funding; $1,348,000,000 in rural transit funding; and $1,517,221,000 in urban transit funding. Additionally, more than 3,611,000 households in Virginia will benefit from individual stimulus checks. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after voting for the American Rescue Plan, legislation to provide emergency relief to the American people and defeat the COVID-19 pandemic: 

“This legislation will help our country defeat COVID-19 and get back to normal. It includes desperately needed resources to get vaccines into arms; help schools reopen safely; and provide much-needed lifelines to the communities hardest-hit by this virus. 

“I will be the first to acknowledge that this bill is not perfect. I am glad that as the Senate considered this legislation, we made some important changes to target aid where it is most badly needed as millions of Americans remain out of work, state and local governments continue to lay off workers, and small businesses struggle to keep their doors open.

“I’m especially proud that I was able to work with President Biden and my colleagues to add funding to expand access to high-speed internet, which is a necessity, not a luxury, during COVID-19. The $17 billion we secured to help expand broadband infrastructure and affordability represents the largest-ever federal investment of its kind and will be a significant boost to our economy as we work to rebuild and recover from COVID-19.”

According to current estimates, there are approximately 700,000 Virginians who still lack access to high-speed internet, which has become increasingly essential for telecommuting, distance learning, telemedicine, and more amid the COVID-19 crisis. As a former governor and now in the Senate, Sen. Warner has long fought for increased access to broadband in the Commonwealth. In December, Sen. Warner negotiated and passed COVID-19 relief legislation that included $7 billion towards broadband, including $3.2 billion for an Emergency Broadband Benefit to help low-income families maintain their internet connections, $285 million to support broadband access in minority communities, and $300 million in broadband grants modeled on bipartisan provisions Sen. Warner drafted with his colleagues. Sen. Warner has also introduced comprehensive broadband infrastructure legislation to expand access to affordable high-speed internet by investing $100 billion to build high-speed broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities, and has also introduced bipartisan legislation with Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott (R-SC) to establish a $10 billion Broadband Development Fund to prioritize funding for areas that currently lack service, support the deployment of advanced technologies in areas where there is the greatest need, and encourage projects that can quickly provide internet service.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), about 21 million Americans do not have access to 25/3 mbps internet, which is the FCC’s standard for high speed broadband. Of that 21 million, 16 million live in rural areas, while 5 million live in urban areas.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $179,010,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Virginia.

“As our nation mourns 500,000 lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to distribute the vaccine is more urgent than ever,” said the Senators. “We are glad to announce that this funding will provide increased support to distribute vaccines equitably throughout the Commonwealth, and we remain committed to ensuring that every Virginian has access to the vaccine as quickly as possible.”

This funding, awarded through FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, will be overseen and distributed by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). It can be used to support efforts to store, transport, secure, handle, announce, and administer the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the Commonwealth.   

The most recent COVID-19 package negotiated by Sen. Warner and supported by both senators included $19 billion for vaccines and therapeutics and $8.75 billion for states for vaccine distribution.   

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WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $5,740,241 in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Head Start and Early Head Start programs throughout Virginia.

“These programs are critical to help ensure that our schools and organizations across the Commonwealth have the resources they need to support our future leaders,” the Senators said. “We’re excited to see this funding go toward promoting early childhood development.” 

The following organizations will receive funding:

Recipient

City

Amount

 

Augusta County School Board

 

Verona

$1,205,103

People Incorporated of Virginia

 

Abingdon

$2,383,149

STEP, Inc.

 

Rocky Mount

$1,120,735

Eastern Shore Area Agency on Aging/Community Action Agency

 

Exmore

$1,031,254

Total:

 

$5,740,241

As Governors and Senators, Warner and Kaine have advocated for investments in early childhood education. Head Start programs promote school readiness for children under 5 years old from low-income families through health, education, family support, and social services.

 

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WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $10,022,292 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Virginia health centers.

“This federal funding will support centers who are doing life-saving work in their communities during the ongoing health crisis,” the Senators said. “We’re pleased to see these federal dollars go towards supporting Virginia health centers.”

The following organizations will receive funding:

 

Recipient

City

Amount

 

Johnson Health Center

Lynchburg

$1,597,851

Southern Dominion Health Systems, Inc.

Victoria

$1,288,427

Peninsula Institute For Community Health, Inc.

Newport News

$3,464,307

Vernon J. Harris East End Community Health Center

Richmond

$2,648,674

Blue Ridge Medical Center, Inc.

 

Arrington

$1,023,033

Total:

 

$10,022,292

 

This funding was awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Program, which provides funds to community-based health care providers that provide primary care services in underserved areas. These health centers must meet a stringent set of requirements, including providing care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $1,600,000 in federal funds for planning district commissions in Virginia to support redevelopment and revitalization in order to diversify and strengthen regional economies. The funding was authorized by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

"We're pleased to announce this critical funding which will support Virginia's planning district commissions in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak that has devastated our communities. We must ensure they are equipped with the tools necessary to continue to provide essential services while keeping workers safe," said the Senators

The funding will be distributed as follows: 

  • The Crater Planning District Commission will receive $400,000
  • The Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission will receive $400,000
  • The West Piedmont Planning District Commission will receive $400,000
  • The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission will receive $400,000.

Through the CARES Act, Congress provided $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. The funding was awarded through the EDA’s CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which provides financial assistance to communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the pandemic's fallout.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after voting in favor of a $2 trillion bipartisan package to provide financial relief to businesses and families as well as hospitals and local governments during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: 

“This is not the first step Congress has taken to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, nor will it be the last. This bill provides significant financial relief to our families and businesses struggling with the effects of widespread closures and other public health measures. It greatly expands access to unemployment benefits – including, for the first time, gig workers, contractors and the self-employed –  and includes tax credits and other incentives I negotiated with the Trump Administration to help small businesses keep workers on payroll and keep them from going out of business during this crisis. This bipartisan bill also includes a massive infusion of resources for hospitals, frontline caregivers, and states and localities dealing with the brunt of COVID-19. I strongly urge the House of Representatives to pass this bill without delay, so that we can get this urgently-required relief to those who so badly need it.

“This is a challenge unlike any we have faced in recent memory, but I believe that we as a country can and will get through this together. I will remain in close touch with state, local and health officials to ensure that we are doing everything possible to provide the resources needed to fight the coronavirus.”

Previously, the President signed a bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency funding bill that directed needed resources to federal, state and local agencies responding to coronavirus. This legislation immediately provided Virginia with $13.3 million in federal funding to help cover the costs of preparations for this public health emergency. It also included language based on Sen. Warner’s CONNECT for Health Act of 2019, which reduces restrictions on the use of telehealth for public health emergency response, as well as $500 million to facilitate its implementation.

On March 18, the President signed a second bipartisan coronavirus response bill that focused on the immediate economic impact of the coronavirus. This legislation expanded paid sick leave to many Americans, cut restrictions on unemployment insurance for workers who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut, and guaranteed freed coronavirus testing. It also included significant emergency funding for Medicaid, nutrition assistance, state unemployment programs, and coronavirus testing at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

Today’s legislation provides for $1,200 in direct payments to most Americans, and includes billions of dollars in lending and grant programs designed to help businesses, workers and municipalities survive this crisis, along with strong transparency and accountability measures to make sure that federal funding doesn’t go towards stock buybacks or bonuses for corporate executives. Today’s bipartisan bill also provides for $150 billion for hospitals and other public health infrastructure, part of an unprecedented investment that Sen. Warner and other Democrats fought to include as our frontline responders struggle under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic. It also includes an important change to existing tax policy allowing employers, for the first time, to use pre-tax dollars to help pay down employees’ student debt – provision modeled after Sen. Warner’s bipartisan Employer Participation in Repayment Act.

A more comprehensive list of Sen. Warner’s work to protect Americans amid the coronavirus outbreak is available here.  

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $10,500,000 in funding from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to improve airport infrastructure at two airports in Arlington and Martinsville.

“We’re pleased to announce this funding to enhance airport infrastructure,” said the Senators. “These grants will support local airports as they help Virginians travel more efficiently.”

  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington will receive a grant of $3,500,000 to rehabilitate an apron.
  • Blue Ridge Airport in Martinsville will receive a grant of $7,000,000 to expand an apron.

This funding was granted through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP), a program that provides grants for the planning and development of public-use airports that are significant to national air transportation.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $391,400 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for rural business development and public safety.

“We’re pleased to announce these grants to strengthen local businesses and public safety in the Commonwealth,” the Senators said. “This federal assistance will go directly towards supporting local entrepreneurs and law enforcement in Virginia.”

$277,200 in funding comes from USDA’s Rural Business Development Grants program, which seeks to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging businesses in rural areas:

  • In Bedford, $76,000 will go towards a revolving loan fund to support small and emerging businesses in the area. The fund aims to expand local businesses to create new jobs and stimulate the local economy.
  • In Charlotte County, $126,200 will go towards the purchase of a refrigerated truck and a walk-in cooler for Southside Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Producers. The purchase would help distribute locally grown fresh produce to the community, while supporting the local farmers and assisting 12 businesses.
  • In Roanoke, $75,000 will go towards a revolving loan fund at The Advancement Foundation to assist small and emerging businesses located in Alleghany, Botetourt, and Buchanan Counties. The fund aims to expand local businesses to create new jobs and stimulate the local economy.

$114,200 in assistance comes from USDA’s Economic Impact Initiative Grant, which seeks to help further the development of essential community facilities in rural areas with extreme unemployment or severe economic depression:

  • In Craig County, $25,000 will go towards the purchase of a sheriff's vehicle and equipment. Craig County currently has a patrol car that is no longer deemed be safe or reliable. This purchase will benefit 1,016 people.
  • In Clintwood, $21,000 will go towards the purchase of 10 sets of new turnout gear and related equipment to meet the safety requirements for the fire department. The department’s current equipment no longer meets safety requirement and needs to be replaced to ensure the safety of volunteers. This purchase will benefit 1,414 people.
  • In Grayson County, $19,200 will go towards the purchase of a new properly equipped sheriff's vehicle. Several of the county’s current vehicles are no longer deemed to be safe or reliable. This purchase will benefit 15,533 people.
  • In Lebanon, $25,000 will go towards the purchase of a new properly equipped police vehicle. A number of the county’s current vehicles are no longer deemed to be safe or reliable. This purchase will benefit 3,424 people.
  • In Tazewell, $24,000 will go towards the purchase of a police vehicle. The current vehicles are no longer deemed to be safe or reliable. This purchase will benefit 4,627 people.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $504,450 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the Mount Rogers Health District in Southwest Virginia, which oversees eight localities at the epicenter of the addiction crisis. The funding will allow the district to partner with researchers across the country on solutions to address the addiction crisis in Southwest Virginia. 

“The drug addiction crisis has hurt every region of Virginia. We need to invest in more resources to better understand how to prevent and combat substance use disorders,” the Senators said. “This funding will help expand services for families impacted by addiction and support studies that explore how early exposure to substance abuse affects young people.”

The Mount Rogers Health District serves Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe counties, and the cities of Bristol and Galax. The first round of this project will build capacity at partner sites. The second round will support a ten-year longitudinal study.

 

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