Feb 25 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, in a hearing on the reauthorization of funding for our nation’s surface transportation, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) spoke about the importance of increased federal funding for Interstate 81 (I-81). During the hearing, Sen. Warner highlighted the importance of I-81 to Virginia and to the nation’s economy, as well as the challenges posed by traffic and safety issues on I-81.
“One of the areas in Virginia where we have tremendous transportation challenges is the I-81 corridor…with the amount of traffic, and particularly commerce that flows for the whole East Coast on I-81, and the level of bottlenecks and safety concerns,” said Sen. Warner.
Sen. Warner also questioned the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Vice President for Transportation and Infrastructure, who expressed support for additional federal funding for I-81.
Sen. Warner has been vocal about I-81’s crucial role in commerce along the East Coast, and has long pushed for federal dollars to tackle necessary repairs along the highway, which runs from Tennessee, along the entirety of Virginia’s western border, and north to New York. 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. Last year, in letters to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Sen. Warner requested additional funding for vital improvements to Interstate 81 in order to enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion.