Warner, Kaine & McEachin Celebrate New Funding for Petersburg/Richmond Made Possible By the American Rescue Plan
Sep 08 2022
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA) celebrated $52.9 million in funding from the federal government for the Petersburg/Richmond region to support job creation and increase American independence from foreign drug manufacturers.
This funding was recently awarded through the Economic Development Administration and funded by the American Rescue Plan, which was supported by the three lawmakers and passed through the Senate by a vote of 50 – 49 and the House by a vote of 220 – 211.
“The American Rescue Plan is the gift that keeps on giving – this time with $52.9 million that will go towards establishing Central Virginia as a hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing. This unparalleled federal investment will help boost American production of essential drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients while creating 21st century jobs for Virginians and tackling our nation’s dangerous overreliance on foreign supply chains for medicines,” said the lawmakers.
The Virginia Advanced Pharma Manufacturing (APM) and R&D Cluster – led by the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority– is one of 21 winners of the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge – the most impactful regional economic development competition in decades. The projects funded as part of this award include expanding a nascent pharmaceutical manufacturing corridor in Central Virginia through investment in new wet lab space, development of critical infrastructure to sustain industrial capacity in Petersburg, and engagement with local business to enhance the regional pharmaceutical supply chain. The project will also catalyze a new partnership between Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University to create new pathways for underserved residents to high-quality training and jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) is an unprecedented competitive federal grant program that provides each regional coalition with significant investments to tackle a wide variety of projects – including entrepreneurial support, workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation – to drive inclusive economic growth. Each coalition’s collection of projects aims to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters – all while embracing economic equity, creating good-paying jobs, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness globally. Projects span 24 states and include $87 million to two primarily Tribal coalitions and over $150 million for projects serving communities impacted by the declining use of coal.
Sen. Warner helped negotiate portions of the American Rescue Plan and directly advocated for this project. In March, he sat down with the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority and other pharmaceutical industry professionals for a roundtable discussion on the need to manufacture more prescription drugs in Virginia.
While on Richmond City Council, Sen. Kaine played a major role in the formation and growth of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority, served on its board when he was Mayor of Richmond, and appointed board members while he was Governor. In addition to advocating for the American Rescue Plan, which provided the funding for the EDA Build Back Better Regional Challenge, Sen. Kaine specifically advocated for this project to win this grant. He also visited the project’s facilities in Richmond and Petersburg in April of this year.
Rep. McEachin proudly supported the American Rescue Plan and engaged with the Biden administration throughout the BBBRC application and selection process in support of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority. He sent multiple letters to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo advocating for this project and held briefings with relevant stakeholders to keep them apprised of developments and receive timely updates.