Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded $1,197,247 in rural development funding to further telemedicine at the University of Virginia, George Mason University, VCU Health’s Community Memorial Hospital in Mecklenburg County, Va. and the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens in Tazewell County, Va. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program.

“Telehealth services have the power to decrease travel time and increase access to specialized health care in some of Virginia’s most underserved communities,” said the Senators. “We are thrilled to see these grants go to boosting telemedicine services and provider training at the University of Virginia, George Mason University, VCU’s Community Memorial Hospital, and the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens.”

The funding will be awarded as below:

  • $154,600 for the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens to provide telemedicine services to low-income elderly and disabled individuals who will attend the adult day care facility located in Falls Mills. The facility will provide medical care, nutrition services, and day care and care coordination, while also providing economic development for the community and educational opportunities for the public. This rural investment will benefit approximately 25,000 residents at nine sites across a four-county area.
  • $397,668 for the University of Virginia to enable the Rector and Visitors Center to implement the Virginia Telemedicine Network for Cardio-metabolic disease, Opioid Use Disorder, Ophthalmology, Black Lung Disease and Cancer. The University of Virginia Health System (UVAHS) will serve as the hub site to deliver health care services and training to 19 community health care providers in 12 counties, including federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and free clinics that serve economically distressed regions of Virginia. This project will reach 750,000 rural residents.
  • $500,000 for George Mason University to implement a telemedicine project to provide training of medical professionals in the area of opioid dependency and treatment. This program will serve a population of almost 177,000 residents across Virginia and West Virginia.
  • $144,979 for Community Memorial Hospital to create the Rural Center for Integrated Telemedicine. This center will provide medical services via interactive video conferencing equipment, to four sites in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and will benefit approximately 11,000 residents.

The USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. Applicants eligible for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants include most State and local governmental entities, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits, for-profit businesses and consortia of eligible entities.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have been strong advocates for rural communities and health care access in the Commonwealth. Last year, the Senators saw through the passage of the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, which included a provision by Sen. Warner to expand telehealth services for substance abuse treatment. Additionally, Sen. Warner introduced legislation – cosponsored by Sen. Kaine – last month to expand telehealth services through Medicare, make it easier for patients to connect with their doctors, and help cut costs for patients and providers. Sen. Kaine also introduced legislation to expand health care to rural areas through telehealth. The bill passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in June as part of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019. And in 2003, then-Gov. Warner expanded Medicaid coverage for telemedicine statewide, including evaluation and management visits, a range of individual psychotherapies, the full range of consultations, and some clinical services, including in cardiology and obstetrics.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded $299,456 in federal funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) for Virginia Tech to conduct research on community-based ways to combat the opioid epidemic and facilitate cooperation between law enforcement and public health agencies. The grant was awarded through the ONDCP’s Combating Opioid Overdose through Community-Level Intervention (COOCLI) grant program.

“Communities throughout the Commonwealth and across the country continue to feel the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic, which is why we’re so glad to see this federal funding go towards conducting potentially lifesaving research at Virginia Tech,” said the Senators. “We’re proud to know that with this grant, the Commonwealth will continue to play a vital role in making sure that our nation is better prepared to mitigate this crisis and fight opioid addiction.”

In 2018, the Virginia Department of Health estimated that 1,059 people died in Virginia as a result of a fentanyl, heroin, or prescription opioid overdose. Fatal drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, surpassing car accidents and gun violence.

Grants issued under the COOCLI program support efforts to: 1) undertake research activities that entail implementing and evaluating community-based efforts to fight the opioid overdose epidemic; and 2) support and promote the partnership of law enforcement and public health agencies, whose collaboration is critical to reducing overdose and other harms of opioid abuse.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long advocated for increased federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic in Virginia. Last year, the Senators successfully passed a bipartisan bill to help communities across Virginia by improving opioid treatment and recovery efforts and providing new tools for law enforcement. Additionally, in 2016, Sens. Warner and Kaine successfully advocated for the inclusion of several Virginia counties into the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.

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WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Caucus, joined Senate colleagues and leaders from HBCUs – including a student from Virginia Union University in Richmond – in calling on the Senate to pass the bipartisan FUTURE Act, which would restore $255 million in federal funding for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) that expired on September 30. While the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the FUTURE Act in September, Senate Republicans have blocked this critical legislation from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.

Virginia is home to Virginia Union University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Hampton University, and Virginia University of Lynchburg – all of which stand to lose funding if the Senate fails to act.

“In Virginia, we’re talking about nearly $4 million in funding last year that is at risk unless we pass the FUTURE Act,” said Sen. Warner during today’s press conference. “This is an investment in our students. It’s an investment in the middle class. And it’s time for the federal government to live up its commitment.”

Sen. Warner was also joined today by Jalynn Hodges, a biology major currently serving as the first-ever elected student representative for the Board of Trustees at Virginia Union University (VUU), who underscored how renewing this funding would enable the Virginia Union community to continue to support students who pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“When I arrived at my prestigious HBCU in fall of 2017, I entered the gateway into my future. During my first year, I conducted research in our neuroscience and chemistry laboratory where I learned technical and analytical skills that are essential to my long-term academic and professional goals,” said Jalynn Hodges, biology major at VUU.  “With continued mandatory funding, students and faculty will be afforded access to ever changing equipment and laboratories that are consistent with industry standards. It is because of VUU that I am a better version of myself - one who is confident and assured that resources that have been afforded to me have prepared me for my graduate studies in medicine.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Warner joined more than three dozen Senators in a letter to Senate leaders calling for passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act legislation to renew this vital funding for Virginia’s HBCUs.

“As Virginia’s most affordable 4-year public university, Norfolk State provides access to a quality higher education in a culturally diverse and supportive learning environment. Failure to restore Title III Part F mandatory funding for HBCUs will represent more than a $5.8 million loss for NSU. Without this funding, Norfolk State’s educational programs in both teacher preparation and the STEM fields will be put at risk at a time when we are working to increase diversity in the front of our classrooms, and grow the pipeline of diverse STEM graduates to fill the jobs of the new economy. Norfolk State University expresses appreciation to Senators Warner and Kaine for their leadership on this critical issue, and urges all Senators to join them in securing the future of America’s HBCUs and the students they serve by passing the FUTURE Act,” said Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, President of Norfolk State University.

“Failure to pass the FUTURE Act will have serious consequences for America’s HBCUs, their students, and my peers. Norfolk State University’s supportive and culturally aware learning environment has helped me to grow as a leader and put me on the path to success. I would likely not have had these opportunities at other schools. All students regardless of their socio-economic background deserve access to a quality higher education and the opportunity to realize their full potential. It is time for Congress to stand with the students of America’s HBCUs by voting to pass the FUTURE Act,” said Linei Woodson, President of Norfolk State University’s Student Government Association.  

In the mid-1990s, as a successful tech entrepreneur, Warner – who is also a former member of the Board of Trustees at Virginia Union – helped to create the Virginia High-Tech Partnership (VHTP) to connect students attending Virginia’s five HBCUs with internship opportunities in tech firms across the Commonwealth.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $375,000 in federal assistance to help advance an initiative in Charlottesville, Va. by the Charlottesville Food Justice Network to expand food access for youth and families, cultivate local food equity, and fuel and sustain economic empowerment through increased community-led urban agriculture. This funding, from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), was awarded through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP), a program designed to fight food insecurity by supporting the development of community food projects that promote self-sufficiency for low-income communities.

“With more than 1 million Virginians living in low-income areas with little or no access to healthy foods, it’s clear that food equity remains a critical issue in our Commonwealth,” said the Senators. “We are thrilled to announce that the Charlottesville Food Justice Network will be receiving federal support to build long-lasting solutions to expand food security in Charlottesville.”

Led by Charlottesville Food Justice Network, the Just Food for US (United Society) initiative aims to create an equitable food system through citizen-led urban agriculture, market development, youth leadership, and cross-sectorial action for local food policy. This grant will support a multifaceted effort to employ food insecure adults and youth as food justice leaders, increase racial equity practices in 30+ local food system organizations, and expand resident-led urban food production, distribution, and market participation at 16 urban sites for 50,000 lbs. of produce. The initiative will also develop food policy recommendations and help enact these changes.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have been advocates for providing better resources to low-income, rural and urban communities who have limited or no access to nutritious foods. In March, Sen. Warner introduced the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act (HFAAA) – legislation to incentivize food service providers like grocers, retailers, and nonprofits to expand access to nutritious foods in underserved communities. Earlier this year, Sens. Warner and Kaine, along with a group of 45 other Senators, urged the Trump administration to rescind a proposed rule that would take away nutrition benefits from Americans struggling to find stable employment.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $23,185,283 in federal funding from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to support improvement projects at 11 airports.

“We’re excited to announce that these federal dollars will benefit 11 Virginia airports,” said the Senators. “We look forward to seeing how these grants will help improve safety and increase efficiency at airports all across the Commonwealth.”

  • Washington Dulles International Airport will receive $854,786 to support Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) infrastructure.
  • Manassas Regional Airport/Harry P. Davis Field will receive $3,513,300 to construct a taxiway, improve a runway safety area, and rehabilitate a runway.
  • Warrenton-Fauquier Airport will receive $150,000 to rehabilitate a taxiway and rehabilitate a runway.
  • Leesburg Executive Airport will receive $205,000 to construct an apron.
  • Richmond International Airport will receive $8,733,800 to construct a taxiway.
  • Lynchburg Regional Airport/Preston Glenn Field will receive $305,148 to rehabilitate and construct aprons, and rehabilitate a taxiway.
  • Norfolk International Airport will receive $3,591,524 to acquire land for approaches, install airfield guidance signs, rehabilitate taxiway lighting, rehabilitate a taxiway and acquire friction-measuring equipment.
  • Franklin Municipal-John Beverly Rose Airport will receive $90,000 to conduct a study.
  • Virginia Highlands Airport will receive $4,150,000 to extend a runway.
  • Luray Caverns Airport will receive $1,291,725 to construct an apron.
  • Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport will receive $300,000 to construct a taxiway and acquire safety and/or security equipment.

The funding was awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which supports infrastructure improvement projects at airports across the nation. Sens. Warner and Kaine have been strong advocates for greater infrastructure investments, including for Virginia’s airports. They have pushed back against the Trump Administration’s suggested budget cuts to DOT to help ensure that critical upgrades like these can happen. Earlier this year, Sen. Warner introduced a bill to strengthen our nation’s infrastructure, create jobs, and generate economic stimulus.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today announced that the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) in Blacksburg, Va. will receive $15 million in federal funding to support research on safe automated driving integration. The funding, from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), follows aggressive advocacy by Sen. Warner, who personally pressed Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao to grant Virginia the maximum award possible to continue the Commonwealth’s leadership in the growing unmanned systems industry.

“I’ve long called for increased funding for unmanned systems research because I know that innovation and advancement in this field can boost U.S. competitiveness, increase efficiency, and ultimately, improve lives across the globe,” said Sen. Warner, a former technology entrepreneur. “With new technologies, and particularly with automated driving systems, it’s important to get safety right the first time. That’s why I’m so excited to announce that this federal funding will support VTTI in continuing to safely blaze the trail for the future of transportation.”

“New technologies like automated vehicles create exciting opportunities, as well as some challenges, and there is no better place to hone our understanding of these issues than the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. From auto safety testing to road design to the incorporation of new technology into our transportation network, VTTI is the gold standard, and these grants will go toward research that will incur long-term benefits for the Commonwealth and beyond,” said U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

“Receiving these prestigious awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation is an honor and fantastic for Virginia Tech and Virginia. Over the years, VTTI has established itself as a global leader for automated vehicle evaluation and development. We are very happy to take these important steps to move automated vehicles forward to save lives, improve mobility across the population, and reduce the impact of vehicle emissions,” said Tom Dingus, director of VTTI and endowed professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech.

The funding is comprised of two $7.5 million grants that will support two VTTI projects. One project will seek to define, develop, and demonstrate key dynamic scenarios and their potential solutions for safe interaction of vehicles equipped with automated driving systems in a Northern Virginia corridor optimized for vehicle automation. The other will seek to develop and demonstrate a Fleet Concept of Operations to provide the trucking industry with clear guidelines on how to safely implement, and benefit from trucks equipped with automated driving systems.

The grants were awarded through the Automated Driving System (ADS) Demonstration Grants program, which provides federal funding to demonstration projects that test the safe integration of automated driving systems into the Nation’s on-road transportation system. These grants aim to gather significant safety data to inform rulemaking, foster collaboration amongst state and local government and private partners, and test the safe integration of ADS on U.S. roads. 

Sen. Warner has been a longtime advocate for research and investment in unmanned systems, including driverless cars, drones, and unmanned maritime vehicles. Last year, he helped ensure Virginia’s participation in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP). He also introduced a successful bipartisan amendment to double funding for unmanned aircraft systems and introduced bipartisan legislation designed to advance the development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). 

Last month, Sen. Warner joined local and industry leaders at Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise, Va. to unveil a sign marking the first FAA-approved unmanned aircraft system delivery in the United States in 2015.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $9,771,259 in federal funding to support access to safe and affordable housing in Norfolk, Roanoke City, and Loudoun County. This funding, from the United States Department of Housing (HUD), was awarded through three grant programs – the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), and the Emergency Solutions Grants Program (ESG).

“We are happy to know that these federal dollars will help back efforts in Norfolk, Roanoke City, and Loudoun County to increase access to suitable, reasonably-priced housing for families who need it the most,” said the Senators.

The funding will be awarded as below.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing, and expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons:     

Recipient

Amount

 

Norfolk

$4,384,883

Roanoke City

$1,734,157

Loudoun County

$1,324,740

 

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) provides formula grants to states and localities to fund a wide range of activities including building, buying, and/or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or homeownership as well as providing direct rental assistance to low-income people. HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households:

Recipient

Amount

 

Norfolk

$1,191,349

Roanoke City

$622,255

The Emergency Solutions Grants Program (ESG) provides funding to engage homeless individuals and families living on the street, improve the number and quality of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families, rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families, and prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless:

Recipient

Amount

 

Norfolk

$366,887

Roanoke City

$146,988


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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded more than $590,000 in federal funding for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University to expand digital access to library collections.

“Academic libraries are an invaluable resource with the potential to benefit universities and communities across the Commonwealth, said the Senators. “We are thrilled that this grant will allow Virginia Tech and the Blacksburg community to activate a wealth of existing knowledge and continue to foster learning and innovation.”

  • $505,214 will allow Virginia Tech University Libraries to deploy cutting-edge computer science and machine learning technologies to advance discovery, use, and potential for reuse of the knowledge hidden in the text of books and book-length documents. In collaboration with Virginia Tech Computer Science and Old Dominion University Computer Science, the effort will devise methods for the extracting and analyzing segments of long documents (chapters, reference lists, tables, figures), as well as methods for summarizing individual chapters of longer texts to enable findability.
  • $87,151 will go towards developing a model for community engagement that fosters robust partnerships among academic libraries and regional organizations in Blacksburg, Va. This model will help expand digital access to collections and networks that are rich in cultural heritage but are isolated due to a lack of robust digital infrastructures.

This funding was awarded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grants for Libraries program, which funds projects that enhance the quality of library and archive services nationwide by advancing theory and practice.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $844,100 in federal grants and loans for the towns of Quantico, Stanley, Pennington Gap, Marion, Galax, Cape Charles, and Exmore to purchase nine vehicles and equipment through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Rural Development.

“We’re pleased to support rural communities in Virginia with federal funding to improve safety and boost public facilities,” the Senators said. “This funding will help ensure that these communities can replace outdated equipment and better serve residents.”

The following localities will receive funding as follows:

The Town of Quantico will receive a grant of $21,600 and a loan of $17,800 to purchase a 2018 Ford F-150 police truck to provide reliable public safety services for the town of Quantico's residents. This new vehicle will replace a 27-year-old high mileage truck.

• The Town of Stanley will receive a grant of $35,700 and loan of $29,300 to purchase two Dodge Durangos to provide public and emergency services in Page County. 

• The Town of Pennington Gap will receive a grant of $50,000 and loan of $269,000 to purchase a new, properly equipped pumper truck. The truck is a 2019 crew cab pumper with a 1,250-gallon-per-minute pump and a 1,000-gallon tank and will replace a 1987 pumper. The new truck will be able to transport up to five people instead of only two, as allowed in the old truck.

• The Town of Marion will receive a grant of $50,000 and loan of $180,000 to purchase a properly equipped 4x4 Type 1 ambulance. The current ambulances are 10 to 21 years old. The town has been affected by the opioid crisis in Southwest Virginia, which has increased the number of ambulance calls for the Emergency Services Department. The present ambulance fleet is not sufficient to provide adequate coverage and services for the town and surrounding areas.

• The City of Galax will receive a grant of $25,000 and loan of $23,700 to purchase two police vehicles. The police vehicles are used 24 hours a day/7 days a week by three rotating shifts. They accumulate high mileage quickly, averaging 40,000 miles a year. Some of the older, high-mileage vehicles need to be replaced because they are no longer considered safe and reliable.

• The Town of Cape Charles will receive a grant of $11,000 and loan of $23,000 to purchase a police vehicle. Each of the town of Cape Charles' six police officers has a vehicle. The town has a six-year rotation policy, where they take the oldest vehicle or the one with the most mechanical problems out of service for the safety of their officers and town residents.

• The Town of Exmore will receive a grant of $50,000 and loan of $58,000 to purchase a six-wheel sanitation vehicle to serve the town of Exmore's residents and businesses. The town has two trucks for trash pickup. One of those vehicles was retired due to its age and poor condition, leaving one high-mileage 10-year-old truck to service the entire town.

USDA’s Community Facilities Program provides funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community in a primarily rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today requested additional funding for vital improvements to Interstate 81 (I-81) that would enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion.

In a pair of letters to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Senators emphasized I-81’s crucial role in commerce along the East Coast and stressed the need for federal dollars to tackle necessary repairs to the highway. The Senators also encouraged DOT to approve an application from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for federal grant funding to improve I-81, reduce congestion, and address safety problems along the route.

“While improvements have been made in past years to keep up with the growth, I-81 continues to experience heavy congestion and dangerous conditions, which have degraded the corridor,” the Senators wrote in the letter of support to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao. “The proposal put forth by VDOT will undoubtedly transform and improve the lives of many Virginians who travel the interstate every day. Furthermore, upgrades and repairs will improve the safety of those traveling through the Commonwealth.”

The Senators also encouraged the leaders of the EPW Committee to include robust funding for high-priority interstate improvement projects such as I-81 in the next surface transportation bill.

“As you continue to draft the surface transportation reauthorization bill, we urge you to include as much funding as possible for major, high priority interstate improvements projects such as I-81 in Virginia,” the Senators wrote to the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Robust funding through formula programs, as well as additional competitive grant programs like BUILD and INFRA, will be necessary to achieve funding goals for this, and other major projects that involve improvements to hundreds of miles of major interstate arteries.”

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. Increased I-81 traffic causes severe travel delays and puts travelers at risk, including the drivers involved in the more than 2,000 crashes that happen annually along the route.

A recent study by VDOT that found an unmet need of about $4 billion in improvements along the interstate – only half of which is expected to be covered by the increased truck registration fees and gas tax increases approved by the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have been longtime advocates of robust financing for the Commonwealth’s infrastructure. In May, the Senators introduced legislation to provide critical safety reforms and strengthen oversight of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Additionally, earlier this year, Sen. Warner introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure, create jobs, and generate economic stimulus.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) introduced legislation that would prevent the Trump Administration from closing the Flatwoods Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Coeburn, Va. The bipartisan Job Corps Protection Act would block the Administration from using federal government funds in 2019 or 2020 to close any Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers in the United States.

The legislation is in response to a Department of Labor (DOL) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement that the Flatwoods facility and eight other Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers are scheduled to close as part of the program’s transfer from USDA to DOL. Civilian Conservation Centers provide valuable job training for young adults ages 16 to 24 in rural communities across the country, including in Southwest Virginia, while assisting in the conservation of the nation’s limited public natural resources. This legislation also comes on the heels of a letter that Sens. Warner and Kaine, along with Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), sent to the Trump Administration last week, urging DOL and USDA to reconsider the closure of these facilities.    

“For decades, the Flatwoods Job Corps facility in Coeburn, Virginia has helped equip young Virginians with the skills needed to succeed in today’s changing economy,” said Sen. Warner. “Closing the door on this vital program would not only make it harder to expand economic opportunities in Southwest Virginia, it will also make it harder for Virginia’s employers to find the kind of high-skilled talent that the jobs of tomorrow will require.”

“Job training is at the core of preparing our next generation for good-paying jobs in Virginia and across the country. I’m worried about the Trump Administration’s decision to close nine Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers – including Flatwoods Job Corps in Coeburn, Va., a top performing Center that has a tremendous economic impact in Southwest Virginia. There’s agreement on both sides of the aisle that President Trump shouldn’t take funding away from these critical job training programs, and Congress can prevent him from doing so by passing our bill,” Sen. Kaine said.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the Job Corps Protection Act is sponsored by Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), John Boozman (R-AR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).  

Separately, Sens. Warner and Kaine joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of 18 Senators and 33 Representatives in pushing USDA and DOL to reverse their decision to end the Civilian Conservation Center program in its current form and shutter nine facilities across the nation.

We write to express strong opposition to your Departments’ recent decision to permanently close over a third of Civilian Conservation Center program facilities and end the program in its current form. We strongly urge you to reconsider this decision,” the Senators and Representatives wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. A copy of the letter is available here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $1,021,000 in federal funding from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) to support a runway expansion project at Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive Airport (VTMEA) in Blacksburg, Va.

“We’re excited to announce this funding to expand runway 12/30 so that the airport can better serve the needs of local residents, businesses, and the Virginia Tech community,” said the Senators.

The funding was awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program, which supports infrastructure improvement projects at airports across the country, including the construction and rehabilitation of runways, taxiways, and aprons. Sens. Warner and Kaine have long fought for increased investments to infrastructure, including for Virginia’s airports, and have pushed back against the Trump Administration’s suggested budget cuts to DOT to ensure that critical upgrades like these can happen. Additionally, Sen. Warner introduced legislation earlier this year to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure, create jobs, and generate economic stimulus.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded more than $116,000 in rural development assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help replace vital equipment at police and fire departments in Charlotte County, and the independent cities of Waynesboro and Franklin – and to support two nonprofit organizations for children and the elderly in the City of Franklin and Wise County, respectively.

“Every day, brave men and women in fire and law enforcement put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of families in our communities. The least they deserve is functional, up-to-date equipment that allows them to fulfill their duties,” said the Senators. “We look forward to seeing these rural development grants be put to good use by helping enhance public safety in the Commonwealth. We are also pleased to know that federal assistance will go directly towards supporting two important non-profit programs in Virginia. From our youngest Virginians, to our most elderly, we cannot afford to forget about folks in rural communities.”

$68,700 in funding comes from USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grants program, which seeks to develop key community facilities that provide essential services to the public in rural areas:

  • In Waynesboro, $25,000 will go towards the purchase of ten new air packs for the Dooms Volunteer Fire Department.
  • In Charlotte County, $18,700 will go towards the purchase of new firehoses and turn-out gear at the Drakes Branch Volunteer Fire Department to replace outdated equipment that is at least 45 years old.
  • In Wise County, $25,000 will go towards the purchase of 30 computers for the PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) Center. The new computers will be able to run current versions of medical records and prescription monitoring software, helping the PACE Center provide better physical and mental health care.

$48,000 in assistance comes from USDA’s Economic Impact Initiative Grants program, which seeks to help further the development of essential community facilities in rural areas with extreme unemployment or severe economic depression:

  • In Franklin, $25,000 will go towards the purchase of at least one police vehicle and any equipment necessary to place the newly-purchased vehicle into service at the Franklin Police Department.
  • In Franklin, $23,000 will also go towards the purchase of two vehicles to enable staff working in the Early Intervention Program at The Children’s Center to perform frequent home visits. 

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WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $5,000,000 in federal funding from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to support improvements at Farmville Regional Airport and Middle Peninsula Regional Airport.

“We’re pleased to announce this funding that will revitalize our airports with the necessary developments to ensure safer travel for Virginians,” the Senators said. 

  • Farmville Regional Airport will receive $3,500,000
  • Middle Peninsula Regional Airport will receive $1,500,000

The funding was awarded through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program within DOT. The program supports infrastructure improvement projects at airports across the country, including runways, taxiways, aprons, terminals, aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles, and snow removal equipment. Warner and Kaine have long fought for funding for Virginia’s airports and pushed back against the Trump Administration’s suggested budget cuts to DOT to ensure that upgrades like these can happen.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the City of Charlottesville and the Town of Pulaski will receive federal assistance to support revitalization strategies that improve quality of life and help develop each community’s local food economy. This assistance comes from Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) – a federal initiative designed to support communities seeking to improve access to nutritious foods, boost economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses, preserve open space and farmland, protect air and water quality, and promote childhood wellness. 

“With an estimated 1 million Virginians living in food deserts, we are thrilled to know that Charlottesville and Pulaski will be receiving federal help to develop plans that increase food access for families,” said the Senators. “We look forward to seeing these communities continue to build healthier, stronger neighborhoods.”

Charlottesville and Pulaski were two of 15 communities selected nationwide out of a pool of more than 70 applications. In Charlottesville, the Charlottesville Food Justice Network plans to develop an integrated strategy to use affordable food markets and urban agriculture to advance food equity in low-income neighborhoods. Additionally, the Town of Pulaski plans to use this assistance to explore the effects of increased food access and healthy living programs on ongoing downtown revitalizations. 

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long stressed the importance of providing better resources to low-income, rural and urban communities who have limited or no access to nutritious foods. In March, Sen. Warner introduced the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act (HFAAA) – legislation to incentivize food service providers like grocers, retailers, and nonprofits to expand access to nutritious foods in underserved communities. Additionally, earlier this year Sens. Warner and Kaine, along with a group of 45 other Senators urged the Trump administration to rescind a proposed rule that would take away nutrition benefits from Americans struggling to find stable employment. Last month, Sen. Kaine visited Pulaski to hear about ongoing economic revitalization.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that the University of Lynchburg will receive $1,446,533 in federal funding from the National Science Foundation to increase the effectiveness of future STEM teachers in teaching students with learning or developmental disabilities at schools in Lynchburg City, Amherst County, Bedford County, and Campbell County.

“With national and local STEM teacher shortages, this funding could not come at a better time for our Commonwealth,” said the Senators. “We are thrilled that this project will help equip future STEM teachers with the training they need to teach students with disabilities, while also working to make sure that educators better reflect the diverse communities they serve.” 

The NSF grant will go towards funding a project led by the University of Lynchburg, in partnership with Central Virginia Community College, the nonprofit Beacon of Hope, and the Lynchburg City, Amherst County, Bedford County, and Campbell County school districts. The project will seek to recruit 22 undergraduate students majoring in STEM fields, such as biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, or mathematics, and working to obtain their teacher certification. It will utilize experiential teaching opportunities to train these future STEM educators, who must be versed in specific educational techniques in order to properly serve students with learning or developmental disabilities. Additionally, the project will also focus on increasing teacher diversity and develop pathways for students at community colleges to transfer to the University of Lynchburg, where they can obtain their secondary teacher certification while pursuing a STEM degree. 

 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) met with Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent J.D. Lee at Warner’s office in Washington, D.C.

In the meeting, Sen. Warner emphasized the need to pass the Restore Our Parks Act – bipartisan legislation to address the maintenance backlog at national parks across the country. New numbers from the National Park Service (NPS) show that the national backlog of deferred maintenance needs grew by more than $313 million last year – with a $100 million increase in Virginia alone. Deferred maintenance on the Blue Ridge Parkway increased by more than $46 million in 2018, bringing the total for the parkway to $508,077,342, including $212,702,891 in Virginia alone. The total overall cost of backlogged maintenance projects at NPS sites nationwide now reaches $11.9 billion. 

“The Blue Ridge Parkway has some of the most significant and pressing maintenance needs of any park property in Virginia,” said Sen. Warner. “Kicking the can down the road on needed repairs will lead to further deterioration of the Parkway and harm the many small towns and communities whose economies depend on it. Congress needs to finally make the proper investments in our national parks by passing the Restore Our Parks Act.”

According to the National Park Service, the Blue Ridge Parkway ranks #1 in visitor spending among Park Service properties. Parkway visitor spending supports 15,300 jobs and more than $1.3 Billion in economic output. Last year, 14.6 million Americans visited the Blue Ridge Parkway and the surrounding communities.

The Restore Our Parks Act has widespread support among legislators and conservation groups. It would reduce the maintenance backlog by establishing the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” and allocating existing revenues from onshore and offshore energy development. This funding would come from 50 percent of all revenues that are not otherwise allocated and deposited into the General Treasury, not exceeding $1.3 billion each year for the next five years. 

The latest data on Virginia’s national park deferred maintenance backlog as of 2018 is available here.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $524,670 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Centra Health, a regional nonprofit healthcare system based in Lynchburg. This funding will allow Centra Health to expand medication assisted treatment (MAT)  for patients struggling with addiction. 

“Substance abuse has had a devastating effect on our communities,” the Senators said.  “We hope this funding can help Centra Health offer life-saving treatment to patients struggling with addiction throughout central and southern Virginia.”

This funding was awarded through HHS’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). CSAT’s mission is to promote community-based substance abuse treatment and recovery services for individuals and families in every community. CSAT provides national leadership to improve access, reduce barriers, and promote high-quality, effective treatment and recovery services.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $1,914,251 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the Free Clinic of the New River Valley in Christiansburg. This funding will allow the clinic to provide quality health care and dental services to individuals who cannot afford care or lack insurance.

“We’re pleased to announce federal funding to ensure the Free Clinic of the New River Valley can continue to offer valuable care to the community,” the Senators said. “The clinic helps ensure that uninsured and low-income patients can access the medical, dental, and preventative health services they need.”

This funding was awarded through HHS’s Health Resources & Services Administration Health Center Cluster Program. More than 27 million people in the U.S. rely on HRSA-funded health centers for affordable primary health care.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine celebrated that the bill to rename a Charlottesville post office as the “Captain Humayun Khan Post Office” was signed into law today. U .S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, a graduate of the University of Virginia, was born on September 9, 1976, and died on June 8, 2004, while in service to his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was killed by an improvised explosive device outside of his base in Baqubah, Iraq. His efforts that morning saved the lives of more than one hundred soldiers. 

“Captain Khan is revered not only in Charlottesville, but across the nation,” the Senators said. “With the dedication of this post office, we’re showing the Khan family that we’re forever grateful for his service and sacrifice for our country.”

The United States Postal Service (USPS) facility is located at 180 McCormick Road in Charlottesville, Virginia. The bill, introduced by Congressman Tom Garrett, cleared the House unanimously on November 29th and passed the Senate on December 12th. In early December, Warner and Kaine wrote to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, the Senate Committee that oversees USPS, voicing their support for renaming the post office.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $16,557,883 million in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Head Start programs throughout Virginia.

“We’re pleased to announce funding through the Head Start program to support young children across Virginia,” the Senators said. “The Head Start program is important to ensuring that schools and organizations have the resources they need to support early childhood development.”

The following organizations will receive funding: 

·         Lynchburg Community Action Group Inc. will receive $3,344,772.

·         Eastern Shore AAA/CAA in Exmore will receive $1,932,019.

·         People Incorporated of Virginia in Abingdon will receive $4,449,701.

·         Buchanan County Head Start in Grundy will receive $1,463,253.

·         Clinch Valley Community Action, Inc. in Tazewell will receive $1,665,748.

·         Augusta County School Board in Verona will receive $2,257,832.

·         Lee County School District in Jonesville will receive $1,444,558.

 

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, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $239,490.47 in federal funding to support organizations in Charlottesville and Roanoke in their efforts to alleviate substandard housing problems for low-income households. The funding was awarded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Rural Development’s Housing Preservation Grant Program.

“We’re pleased to announce funding to support repair and rehabilitation efforts for 75 households in Charlottesville, Roanoke, and Southwest Virginia. This funding will help make needed housing updates for low-income individuals and families,” the Senators said.

The following organizations will receive funding as follows:

  • The Thomas Jefferson Planning District in Charlottesville will receive $119,745.24 to alleviate substandard housing problems in the area. The funding will supplement and enhance planned rehabilitation efforts to assist 35 households.
  • Renovation Alliance in Roanoke will receive $119,745.23 to alleviate substandard housing problems for 40 very-low income households in the Counties of Roanoke, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, and Franklin in Southwest Virginia.

 The USDA’s Housing Preservation Grant Program provides grants to organizations supporting the repair and rehabilitation of housing owned or occupied by low- and very-low income rural households.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $366,788 in federal funding for Lynchburg, Amissville, and Fairfax Fire Departments through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funding will be awarded through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.

“We’re proud to support funding to help local fire departments purchase equipment and support staff training, ensuring they are prepared to serve their communities,” the Senators said.

The following Virginia fire departments will receive funding under the AFG program: 

  • Lynchburg Fire and EMS will receive $217,905 to purchase personal safety and rescue bailout equipment including ropes, harnesses, carabiners, and pulleys.
  • Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company will receive $17,143 to purchase rapid intervention equipment.
  • The City of Fairfax Fire Department will receive $131,740 to support training.

The primary goal of FEMA’s AFG program is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations and State Fire Training Academies for critically-needed resources.

 

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WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that nine Virginia airports will receive a total of $10,669,159 in federal funding from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

“We are pleased to announce these funds that will allow Virginia airports to make the necessary improvements to ensure safer travel to and from the Commonwealth,” the Senators said. “This federal funding will not only help to revitalize our airports, but will also help boost tourism across Virginia.”

Airports and project amounts are listed below:

  • Norfolk International Airport—$5,974,019. These funds will go towards rehabilitating Concourse A and to help construct a 5,000 square foot general aviation customs inspection facility.
  • Tappahannock-Essex Airport—$274,050. These funds will go towards an environmental study to evaluate any potential environmental impacts related to the proposed extension of the parallel taxiway and a non-aeronautical development area identified on the airport's layout plan.
  • New Kent County Airport—$991,901. These funds will help to rehabilitate 24,000 square yards of the existing terminal apron pavement.
  • Washington Dulles International Airport—$492,188. These funds will go towards acquiring 75 Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) squitter units for airport ground vehicles to improve surface situational awareness and safety. ADS–B is a surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked.
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport— $492,188. These funds will go towards acquiring 75 Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) squitter units for airport ground vehicles to improve surface situational awareness and safety. ADS–B is a surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked.
  • Louisa County/Freeman Field Airport—$346,500. These funds will help the construction of perimeter fences to deter unauthorized persons and vehicles from entering onto the airfield, thereby increasing airport safety.
  • Ingalls Field Airport (Bath County, VA)$81,000. These funds will help to construct a 360 square foot hangar building to assist the airport in being revenue-generating and in turn self-sustaining. Funds will also go towards construction of a similarly sized snow removal equipment building that will help extend the life of the equipment by protecting it from adverse weather conditions.
  • Luray Caverns Airport—$184,230. These funds will go towards the construction of a 12,500 square yard terminal apron to provide aircraft parking.
  • Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional/Woodrum Field Airport—$1,833,083. These funds will go towards the implementation of additional security enhancements.

The funding was awarded through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program within DOT. The program supports infrastructure improvement projects at airports across the country, including runways, taxiways, aprons, terminals, aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles, and snow removal equipment. Sens. Warner and Kaine have long fought for funding for Virginia’s airports and pushed back against the Trump Administration’s suggested budget cuts to DOT to ensure that critical upgrades like these can happen. The Senate is expected to consider a long-term FAA reauthorization measure in the coming weeks.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $150,000 in federal funding to help transform the 8,667 square foot space in the old Prices Fork Elementary School in Montgomery County into a local food enterprise center. The transformed space will include a commercial incubator kitchen, farm-to-table restaurant, a local craft brewery, a retail consignment market, and business incubation and support services.

“This revitalization is the result of a real partnership between local businesses and the community to invest in Prices Fork. We’re proud to support the project with federal funding that will help contribute to the food center’s success,” the Senators said.

This grant was awarded through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development Grants Program.

 

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