Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposal to relocate two research agencies, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City.

“USDA’s proposed relocation of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture will unnecessarily uproot hundreds of dedicated federal employees and could negatively impact the missions of both agencies,” the Senators said. “These agencies play a critical role in setting agricultural, nutritional, and environmental policy in the U.S. Disconnecting them from other vital research agencies in the National Capital Region will undoubtedly disrupt the work they carry out and impact their ability to attract and retain highly-qualified personnel. We have introduced legislation to block this ill-conceived move and will continue to work with our colleagues to keep these agencies in the National Capital Region.”

 In May, Sens. Warner and Kaine, along with other members of Congress representing the National Capital Region, sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging him not to relocate ERS and NIFA. The Senators have also introduced legislation barring the research agencies from leaving the National Capital Region. In addition, Sen. Warner has placed a hold on nominee Scott Hutchins for Undersecretary for research, education, and economics at the Department of Agriculture in opposition to the proposed relocation.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) wrote today to the Secretaries of the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force, asking for detailed information regarding the military’s contracts with private companies to provide on-base housing for military families in Virginia. Prompted by pervasive allegations of health hazards – including lead poisoning, cockroaches, mice, mold blooms and water leaks – the Senators raised concerns about existing contracts with several private companies that manage thousands of family housing units at military bases across Virginia, and asked each of the services to provide copies of any existing policies and operating procedures meant to hold companies accountable for health and safety failures.  

“Military families make great sacrifices for our nation and they deserve housing that is safe and healthy,” said the Senators. “It is crucial that military leaders prioritize the well-being of military families and hold private housing companies accountable for anyhealth hazards or issues.” 

The specific contracts and locations for which the Senators requested information include:

  • Lincoln Military Housing, a residential real estate management company that provides 36,000 housing units for military families nationwide, including 5,700 units for Navy and Marine Corps servicemembers stationed at Dahlgren, Wallops, Quantico, and throughout Hampton Roads; 
  • Balfour Beatty Communities, Clark Realty Capital and Hunt Military Communities, which manage military homes for families stationed at Fort Belvoir, Fort Story, Fort Eustis, and Fort Lee; and
  • Hunt Military Communities, which manages approximately 1,430 units at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.  

In letters addressed to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper, and Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, the Senators asked for: 

  • Copies of housing contracts with private companies;
  • Copies of any service- or department-level guidance and policy documents that relate directly to contracting for on-base privatized housing;
  • Any information about any cure notices that may have been sent to contractors regarding failures to adhere to contractual obligations at Virginia installations; and
  • Copies of standard operating procedures to responding to and rectifying problems in government-owned housing, such as mold, mildew, lead paint,  and other habitability, safety, and health complaints in government-owned housing. 

This is not the first time that Sens. Warner and Kaine have taken actions to address concerns with military housing conditions. In August of 2018, both Senators pressed Secretary Esper to address lead poisoning concerns at a number of Army installations, including Fort Belvoir. Additionally, last November, Sen. Warner asked the Department of Defense to provide a detailed briefing outlining the Defense Department’s plan to ensure the safety of military families residing in both public and private housing. He alsomet with Secretary Esper earlier this month to emphasize the importance of prioritizing improvements to military housing conditions. In the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Kaine has called on military leaders and private companies charged with maintaining housing to work together to quickly address these problems.

 

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WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) led a letter, signed by every Democratic member of the Virginia Congressional Delegation, expressing opposition to the five Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) permits issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last November, and requesting the Trump Administration revoke these IHAs and refrain from issuing seismic airgun survey permits off the coast of Virginia. The letter also expresses opposition to the inclusion of the Commonwealth’s offshore area in the final 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

“Virginians have too much to lose when we prioritize polluters’ profits over the health and safety of our ocean and coastal communities,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Seismic airgun blasting can devastate marine life, including endangered species and essential fish stocks. History has shown us that offshore drilling accidents can irrevocably harm coastal communities’ economies, public health and marine life – and compromise military activities that are important to national security. The potential toll from an oil spill—in terms of damages, injuries, deaths, and other harms—is incalculable. I urge the administration to listen to Virginians, who have expressed vehement opposition to all forms of oil and gas exploration off Virginia’s coast.” 

“In Virginia alone, more than 20 communities have officially voiced their opposition to seismic surveys and offshore drilling, including Virginia Beach and Norfolk – Virginia’s most populous cities. The Commonwealth has a diverse and robust economy based on sectors like tourism, recreation, aquaculture, deepwater port commerce, and Department of Defense infrastructure. Moving forward with seismic testing and offshore drilling could threaten these critical engines of Virginia’s economy, along with the valuable ecosystems along the coast and within the Chesapeake Bay. These shores, and the ecosystems and jobs they support, are simply too vital to the Commonwealth to risk,” wrote the Members of Congress. “Our constituents remain concerned with the administration’s efforts to open the Commonwealth’s offshore area to oil and gas exploration and drilling. Accordingly, we again request that the Department of Commerce revoke these IHAs, and that the Department of the Interior deny all pending seismic survey permits for the Atlantic.”

“Assaulting our ocean with seismic airguns in search of dirty and dangerous offshore oil is reckless and wrong,” said Diane Hoskins, Offshore Drilling Campaign Director of Oceana. “Today’s letter calls on President Trump’s administration to do the right thing and protect Virginia from the harms associated with offshore drilling. Seismic airgun blasting threatens serious injury and even death to whales, dolphins and other marine life.  This dangerous blasting is being proposed so that companies can come in and drill for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast. Local communities and businesses up and down the East Coast have objected to expanded offshore drilling activities, like seismic airgun blasting.” 

 

Full letter text is available here and below. 

 

Background:

The issuance of the five IHA permits is a significant step in allowing companies to conduct widespread seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean for the purposes of oil and gas exploration. 

 

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Link to release: https://mceachin.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-mceachin-leads-members-va-congressional-delegation-letter-opposing-seismic

 

 

Dear Secretary Ross and Acting Secretary Bernhardt:

 

We are writing to express our opposition to the November 30, 2018 issuance by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of five Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) permits—a significant step in allowing five companies to conduct widespread seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean for the purposes of oil and gas exploration. We request that the Department of Commerce revoke these IHAs, and that the Department of the Interior refrain from issuing final seismic survey permits for geological and geophysical exploration off the coast of Virginia. In addition, we oppose the inclusion of the Commonwealth’s offshore area in the final 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

 

The administration’s recent decision to issue these IHA permits runs counter to the explicit wishes of coastal communities up and down the Atlantic that would be at risk from offshore drilling and exploration. Over 240 localities on the East Coast and Florida’s Gulf Coast, 1,600 elected officials, 42,000 businesses, and 500,000 fishing families from Florida to Maine have all voiced their opposition to oil and gas activities.[1] They recognize that these activities have the potential for serious impacts on everything from tourism to fishing catch rates—important sectors of these local economies. 

 

In Virginia alone, more than 20 communities have officially voiced their opposition to seismic surveys and offshore drilling, including Virginia Beach and Norfolk – Virginia’s most populous cities. The Commonwealth has a diverse and robust economy based on sectors like tourism, recreation, aquaculture, deepwater port commerce, and Department of Defense infrastructure. Moving forward with seismic testing and offshore drilling could threaten these critical engines of Virginia’s economy, along with the valuable ecosystems along the coast and within the Chesapeake Bay. These shores, and the ecosystems and jobs they support, are simply too vital to the Commonwealth to risk.

 

Studies have shown that seismic airgun blasting, which involves loud, disruptive, and repeated blasting for days or weeks at a time, can have harmful effects on marine life, including endangered species and essential fish stocks. The repeated, loud noises from seismic airgun surveying could negatively impact the ability of marine life to feed, reproduce, and navigate. Whales and dolphins, which rely on hearing for all aspects of life, can be particularly impacted. The North Atlantic right whale—which is critically endangered—would face threats of particular severity.[2] The impacts of surveying could also potentially diminish fish stocks along Virginia’s coast, putting at risk these communities that rely upon commercial and recreational fishing.

 

Our constituents remain concerned with the administration’s efforts to open the Commonwealth’s offshore area to oil and gas exploration and drilling. Accordingly, we again request that the Department of Commerce revoke these IHAs, and that the Department of the Interior deny all pending seismic survey permits for the Atlantic. We also reiterate our request that Virginia’s offshore area be excluded from the Department of the Interior’s 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for offshore drilling.

 

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your response.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD) released on the following statement on the findings of a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report regarding Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) capital planning and maintenance program: 

“We requested the GAO study because we were concerned – after multiple safety lapses – about WMATA’s capital funding of and processes for performing maintenance work and replacing capital assets. As their audit found, putting in place clear project ranking methodology, measuring program performance, and developing an accurate inventory of assets will all be critical to improving performance of the Metro system. We appreciate GAO’s work, as well as WMATA’s ongoing efforts to address these recommendations. We plan to give this information careful consideration as we move forward to introduce important WMATA legislation in the coming weeks.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $2,238,496 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the Loudoun Community Health Center. This funding will enable Loudoun County to provide accessible, quality health care to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

“We’re pleased to announce federal funding to ensure the Loudoun Community Health Center can continue to offer valuable care to those in need of support,” the Senators said. “The Health Center helps ensure that patients of any economic background can access the medical, dental, and mental health services they need.” 

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

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), along with Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), wrote to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld to express safety and security concerns regarding the possibility that Metro may award a contract to build its newest 8000-series rail cars to a Chinese manufacturing company.  

The Senators wrote, “In the transportation sector, there has been increased interest from particular foreign governments to participate in state and local procurements, including those to manufacture and assemble rail cars for transit agencies around the country. While other cities have welcomed this kind of investment, we have serious concerns about similar activity happening here in our nation’s capital, particularly when it could involve foreign governments that have explicitly sought to undermine our country’s economic competitiveness and national security. As Metro continues its procurement process for the 8000-series rail car, we strongly urge you to take the necessary steps to mitigate growing cyber risks to these cars.” 

The Washington Post recently reported that “the state-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., or CRRC, has used bargain prices to win four of five large U.S. transit rail car contracts awarded since 2014. The company is expected to be a strong contender for a Metro contract likely to exceed $1 billion for between 256 and 800 of the agency's newest series of rail cars.”

In their letter, the Senators noted that Metro’s 8000-series rail car is expected to incorporate safety and communications technology such as automatic train control, network and trainline control, video surveillance, monitoring and diagnostics, and data interface with WMATA, among other potentially vulnerable mechanisms that could allow a foreign spy, terrorist, or other rogue actor to break in and take control of Metro’s systems to conduct foreign espionage or impact operations. 

 

“Many of these technologies could be entirely susceptible to hacking, or other forms of interference, if adequate protections are not in place to ensure they are sourced from safe and reliable suppliers. In a Q&A document posted as part of the RFP, WMATA noted that there are ‘no Buy America or DBE requirements for this contract,’ raising further questions about what protections will be in place to ensure the integrity of these components,” the Senators told Wiedefeld.

 

The Senators then posed a series of questions regarding Metro’s plans for the rail car procurement process, including:

  • While we are aware that nearly all passenger railcar manufacturers in the United States are foreign-owned, what steps is WMATA taking to ascertain and mitigate against the involvement of foreign governments in this procurement?
  • Has Metro received briefings from the Department of Homeland Security or related agencies on the attempts of foreign adversaries to infiltrate our critical infrastructure and the significant cyber vulnerabilities that can stem from them doing so?
  • Will Metro take a company’s ties to foreign governments with a record of industrial and cyber espionage into account when evaluating bids, particularly if such company is a state-owned enterprise?
  • If so, will Metro allow sensitive component parts of these railcars to be sourced from such countries?
  • Will Metro consult with the Department of Defense prior to awarding a contract to confirm whether the Department would permit railcars built by certain foreign governments to operate through the Pentagon?
  • We understand that Metro has announced that the RFP will be amended to include baseline cybersecurity protocols. Please provide information about these protocols and how they are being developed. How will Metro evaluate bidder responses to this forthcoming cybersecurity addendum? Will Metro review these responses with the Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Department of Homeland Security, and seek the concurrence of USDOT and DHS in its cybersecurity evaluations before making any final contract award in this procurement? What specific requirements will the addendum include to ensure that any communications technology included in the rail car procurement is protected from being exploited for surveillance purposes? 

The Senators concluded, “U.S. national security should be of the utmost importance as WMATA considers bids for its procurement of 8000-series rail cars, and we therefore request that you consider submitting an addendum to the earlier RFP [Request for Proposals] to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to protect against the aforementioned concerns.”

 

The full text of the letter is available here

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WASHINGTON – Following inquiries by Virginia and Maryland’s Senators, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) disclosed today that it is losing, on average, $400,000 each weekday during the government shutdown. In response, the Senators issued the following statement:

“At a time when Metro already is undertaking substantial, disruptive projects to improve safety and reliability, President Trump’s shutdown is jeopardizing the health and stability of the entire Metro system. This wasteful, destructive shutdown must come to an end.” 

On Friday, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD), wrote to WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, seeking information on the impact that the partial government shutdown has had on WMATA’s transit system, ridership, operational services, staffing, financial position, and infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.  

In response, the Senators received a letter tonight from Wiedefeld detailing the multiple ways in which President Trump’s government shutdown is harming WMATA’s safety and finances:

  • According to Wiedefeld, “Our preliminary analysis estimates that for an average weekday when the government is closed, Metro is losing approximately $400,000 in fare and revenue.”
  • Additionally, the shutdown is putting $638 million in federal transit funding in jeopardy. If a prolonged shutdown of the Department of Transportation leads to delays in certifying the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) by the April 15, 2019 statutory deadline, “the [Federal Transit Administration] indicates that it would be prohibited by law from issuing a total of $638 million in FY2019 federal transit funding to all transit providers across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia,” according to the letter.
  • As of January 10, the federal government owes Metro $33 million in unreimbursed expenses as a result of the shutdown. That number is expected to grow to $50 million by the end of this month.
  • Other federal funding sources are also on hold, including a $20 million BUILD grant that Metro was awarded last year, and $15 million in grant revisions that are awaiting FTA review. According to Wiedefeld, “If the federal shutdown continues for an extended period, Metro will be forced to either turn to its Line of Credit (LOC) to support the Capital program, incurring additional costs, or defer important state-of-good-repair projects, which could undermine our recent reliability gains.”
  • The combined shutdowns of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service means environmental review work for a number of planned projects has also been delayed.

A copy of Wiedefeld’s full response to the Senators is available here.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) led a bicameral letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of the National Park Service’s (NPS) grant application to secure $126 million in funding to reconstruct an eight-mile stretch of the north end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP).

The George Washington Parkway serves as a major commuting route for residents of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., facilitating the travel of more than 33 million vehicles per year. The north end of the roadway, which also serves as a memorial to the first president of the United States, was completed in 1962 and has since faced worsening conditions due to large increases in traffic.

The grant application, under the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects (NSFLTP) Program at the Department of Transportation (DOT), would help repair this 7.6-mile stretch of highway, while addressing a substantial portion of the George Washington Parkway’s $230 million deferred maintenance backlog.

“The proposed project will address serious deterioration of the GWMP and implement significant safety improvements. If funded, the Park Service plans to repave nearly eight miles of road along the parkway, repair storm water management systems to prevent erosion at drainage outfalls; and rehabilitate two historic, scenic overlook. The project will also include replacing guardrails, repairing walls, constructing new curbs, and building emergency turnarounds along the north end of the Parkway,” wrote the Members of Congress. 

“This project will improve a critical link in the National Capital Region’s transportation network while preserving the historical and cultural characteristic that make the Parkway one of the most scenic roadways in the country. These proposed improvements will increase the safety of visitors while significantly extending the life of the Parkway,” they concluded.

Sen. Warner was joined on the letter by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and U.S. Reps. Don Beyer (VA-8), Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) and U.S. Del. Eleanor Norton Holmes (D-DC).

 

A copy of the letter can be found here and below.

 

The Honorable Elaine Chao

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590-0001

 

 

Dear Secretary Chao,

 

We write today in support of the National Park Service’s application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Nationally Significant Federal Land and Tribal Projects (NSFLTP) Program seeking funding to rehabilitate the north section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP). If funded, the GWMP North Section Rehabilitation Project will reconstruct a heavily-used 7.6-mile section of the GWMP from Spout Run Parkway to Interstate 495.

 

The GWMP is a scenic and historic roadway that serves as a memorial to the first president of the United States and connects Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The Park Service first completed the northern stretch of the Parkway in 1962, using the most up-to-date engineering methods of the time to maximize the lifespan of the roadway. However, in the decades since completion, traffic on the Parkway has increased dramatically as the population of the region has continued to expand. Today, the GWMP facilitates the travel of more than 33 million vehicles per year, with the northernmost section experiencing the heaviest traffic.

 

The proposed project will address serious deterioration of the GWMP and implement significant safety improvements. If funded, the Park Service plans to repave nearly eight miles of road along the parkway, repair storm water management systems to prevent erosion at drainage outfalls; and rehabilitate two historic, scenic overlooks. The project will also include replacing guardrails, repairing walls, constructing new curbs, and building emergency turnarounds along the north end of the Parkway. In addition, work on the north section of the Parkway will address a significant part of the National Capital Region’s $1.7 billion dollar maintenance backlog, which includes over $395 million for the Parkway alone.

 

This project will improve a critical link in the National Capital Region’s transportation network while preserving the historical and cultural characteristics that make the Parkway one of the most scenic roadways in the country. These proposed improvements will increase the safety of visitors while significantly extending the life of the Parkway.

 

We understand the NSFLTP grant program is highly competitive and we appreciate your consideration of this project. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about our request

 

Thank you again for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – Today Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD), wrote a letter to Paul J. Wiedefeld, General Manager and CEO of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), seeking information on the impact that the partial government shutdown has had on WMATA’s transit system, ridership, operational services, staffing, financial position, and infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.  

WMATA “serves a unique national security role, providing transportation for federal employees traveling to and from the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security and ensuring continuity of federal operations during an emergency,” wrote the Senators. “Thus, it is critical that WMATA systems and services continue to serve riders in the nation’s capital.” 

In recent years, Metro’s investments to reverse declining ridership numbers have highlighted the extent to which transit systems depend on robust ridership to succeed. Federal employees currently make up about 40 percent of WMATA’s peak hour ridership. However, a government shutdown can adversely affect the transit system’s ridership and overall financial stance.

“During the October 2013 shutdown, the Metro system experienced a 22 percent decrease in ridership, or a decline of 1.7 million trips.  According to a 2015 report, ridership during that shutdown dropped nearly 50% at stations near federal facilities.  The shutdown not only affected ridership, but also put the WMATA long-term operations at risk,” continued the Senators.“The 16-day shutdown, according to the agency, resulted in a loss of $5.5 million in revenue and funding was delayed as the federal appropriation process was halted.”  

To gauge the impact of the shutdown’s effects, the lawmakers requested data on changes in ridership and asked how a decline could affect the WMATA’s financial situation in the long-term and short-term. They also solicited information on any lapses in federal funding and possible contingency plans. Additionally, the lawmakers asked for the details of any halted infrastructure or capital improvement projects, as well as specifics on how the WMATA’s credit rating could be weakened if the shutdown continues. According to recent reports, large and mid-sized transit agencies across the country have already tapped into their lines of credit to make payment obligations to their vendors and Moody’s has warned that a prolonged shutdown could negatively impact the credit ratings of mass transit systems.

The four lawmakers reassured Wiedefeld that they are actively working to reopen the government. Earlier today, Sens. Warner and Kaine met in Alexandria with federal workers and families who have been hurt by the ongoing government shutdown.  

 

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

January 11, 2019

 

Mr. Paul J. Wiedefeld

General Manager & CEO

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

600 5th Street NW

Washington, D.C. 20001

 

Dear Mr. Wiedefeld, 

We write seeking information about the effects the current partial government shutdown has had – and the effects a prolonged shutdown could have – on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) transit system, ridership, operational services, staffing, and infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.

In recent years, WMATA has undertaken actions to prioritize safety, often through substantial rehabilitative projects that have caused significant disruption to the system. Metro’s recent investments to reverse declining ridership underscore the extent to which a functional and sustainable transit system depends upon robust ridership to succeed.

We have also seen that events outside the control of WMATA, such as a federal government shutdown, can adversely impact ridership and a transit system’s overall financial outlook. During the October 2013 shutdown, the Metro system experienced a 22 percent decrease in ridership, or a decline of 1.7 million trips.  According to a 2015 report, ridership during that shutdown dropped nearly 50% at stations near federal facilities.  The shutdown not only affected ridership, but also put the WMATA long-term operations at risk. The 16-day shutdown, according to the agency, resulted in a loss of $5.5 million in revenue and funding was delayed as the federal appropriation process was halted. 

Federal employees comprise approximately 40 percent of WMATA’s peak hour ridership, and during the current shutdown, many government employees continue to carry out their duties and rely on WMATA to do so. WMATA also serves a unique national security role, providing transportation for federal employees traveling to and from the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security and ensuring continuity of federal operations during an emergency. Thus, it is critical that WMATA systems and services continue to serve riders in the nation’s capital.

To understand how WMATA and its transit systems have been affected by the government shutdown and to prevent the negative impacts displayed during the 2013 shutdown, please provide us with the following information by January 15, 2019:

 

1.      Data on changes in ridership, both rail and bus operations, during the government shutdown. Has there been a decline in ridership from the same period in prior years, or from the period immediately preceding the shutdown? 

2.      Assuming there has been a decline in ridership during the shutdown, can you provide information on how that decline will affect WMATA’s financial situation, both in the short-term and the long-term? For example, what is the current (or estimated) loss in revenue? What would be the estimated revenue losses if the shutdown lasts a full month, or if it lasts two months? What other financial, safety or operational impacts would result from a prolonged and substantial decline in ridership brought on by the government shutdown? 

3.      Given that WMATA receives federal funding to help run its transportation network, can you detail any lapses in funding that have occurred due to the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration being shut down? Can you provide information on what funding may be at risk if the shutdown continues for a full month or even two? What contingency plans does WMATA have in place to address a lapse in expected funding?

4.      Please confirm if any planned infrastructure and capital improvement projects have been stalled or halted during the shutdown. What are the expected effects of the delay in starting and finishing these projects? 

5.      It has recently been reported that Moody’s believes a prolonged shutdown could negatively impact the credit ratings of the nation’s public transit systems, noting that the shutdown has already “interrupted an important source of operating, capital and debt-service funding.”  These interruptions, in turn, could lead to higher debt service costs and delays in numerous capital improvement projects. Can you provide information on how WMATA’s credit rating could be impacted if the government shutdown continues for a prolonged period of time? What effects would a credit downgrade have on WMATA’s overall financial position, capital construction plans and operational capacity? 

Please trust that all four of us are doing everything we can to support the federal workforce, re-open the government, and get back to working towards improving the lives of all Americans. We ask for answers to the above questions as soon as possible so that we better understand the impacts of the shutdown on the vital transportation networks that serve our constituents, and so we can continue to highlight all of the numerous reasons that the federal government should be re-opened. 

 

Sincerely,

 

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WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded an announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will receive $20 million in federal funds to support platform rehabilitation work at seven outdoor Metrorail stations in Virginia. The funding provided through the DOT’s Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program, formerly known as the TIGER program, will be used to restore platforms, increase safety and improve the rider experience at the Braddock Road, King Street, Eisenhower Avenue, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, National Airport, and Huntington stations on the Blue and Yellow lines.  

“This is a welcome federal investment in stations that serve thousands of Virginia residents and commuters every day,” said the Senators. “After years of exposure to snow, rain, wind, and other elements, many of Metro’s outdoor platforms are in need a significant rehabilitation. This money is part of a significant multi-year effort to improve safety at Metro’s outdoor stations, the majority of which are located in Northern Virginia.”  

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement after Amazon selected Crystal City in Virginia as one of two sites for their second headquarters:

“As a former Governor, now Senator, but also as a former technology executive, I'm really excited about the potential Amazon offers not only to Northern Virginia but the whole capital region and the entire Commonwealth. We've seen that major investments like these can bring not only thousands of direct jobs but also lead to job growth in other industries. As we welcome Amazon's new investment in Virginia, we must commit to implementing this announcement in a way that will benefit the whole region and all of the Commonwealth.”

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), joined by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) sent a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board of Directors Chairman Jack Evans, opposing their proposal to terminate the Riders’ Advisory Council. Tomorrow, after previous assurances by the WMATA Board Chairman that the Council would continue to operate, the Board plans to vote on whether to eliminate the Council and instead rely on its web survey system for rider input. Since 2005, the WMATA Riders’ Advisory Council has provided direct rider feedback to the WMATA Board on issues impacting all WMATA customers. The Council meetings are a way for riders and the general public to provide comments and express concerns about WMATA’s services.

The Senators write, “At a time when WMATA is rebounding from years of deep safety and operational problems and rebuilding trust with riders, it is disappointing to see an effort that is interpreted as a lack of interest in public input. We hope you will reconsider your position on this and not vote to terminate the Council. It is important to show riders that WMATA is interested in hearing from the people it serves.”

They continued, “We appreciate the need to evaluate the most productive means of facilitating public input. If there is a need to restructure the channels through which WMATA receives feedback, that can be done without dissolving the primary entity through which the views of Metro riders can reach Metro leadership.” 

The Senators concluded the letter stating, “Metro has a long way to go to restore rider trust but has made significant strides, including in being forthright with the public about necessary inconveniences associated with long-deferred safety maintenance work. Dialogue with the public is a critical element of bringing Metro ‘Back2Good,’ and we hope you will not let this priority fade. We hope to learn from you why you support the termination of the Rider’s Advisory Council and how you intend to proceed to ensure that the people who use the system will continue to be able to provide feedback.”

 

 

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

 

Dear Chairman Evans:

 

We write in opposition to the proposal to terminate the Riders’ Advisory Council. At a time when WMATA is rebounding from years of deep safety and operational problems and rebuilding trust with riders, it is disappointing to see an effort that is interpreted as a lack of interest in public input. We hope you will reconsider your position on this and not vote to terminate the Council. It is important to show riders that WMATA is interested in hearing from the people it serves.

 

We appreciate the need to evaluate the most productive means of facilitating public input. If there is a need to restructure the channels through which WMATA receives feedback, that can be done without dissolving the primary entity through which the views of Metro riders can reach Metro leadership.

 

If WMATA’s intent is to receive more public comment in written form, we suggest it adopt rules for public responsiveness similar to the provisions in federal laws like the Administrative Procedure Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Under these laws, federal agencies may agree or disagree with public comments, but they must, upon pain of litigation, substantively address all issues raised in comments. An equivalent requirement would give the public some certainty that their communications will be read and will not disappear into a digital void.

 

Metro has a long way to go to restore rider trust but has made significant strides, including in being forthright with the public about necessary inconveniences associated with long-deferred safety maintenance work. Dialogue with the public is a critical element of bringing Metro “Back2Good,” and we hope you will not let this priority fade. We hope to learn from you why you support the termination of the Rider’s Advisory Council and how you intend to proceed to ensure that the people who use the system will continue to be able to provide feedback.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced a total of $1,413,108 in federal funding for drug courts with the Northern Neck Regional Jail and in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.  The dollars are awarded through the U.S. Department of Justice’s FY 18 Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program. Fairfax and Loudoun County will each receive $500,000 and Northern Neck Regional Jail will receive $413,108 to support drug courts that integrate evidence-based substance abuse treatment, mandatory drug testing, sanctions and incentives, and transitional services in a court setting to address opioid abuse reduction. 

“Tackling the substance abuse crisis requires a comprehensive strategy that addresses it from all angles including prevention, treatment, and recovery. This funding is crucial to supporting drug courts that mandate treatment services, enhance public safety, reduce crime and give those suffering from addiction a better chance at recovery,” the Senators said.  

In September, Warner and Kaine voted in support of legislation to dedicate $5.7 billion to combat substance abuse and played a critical role in the passage of a comprehensive opioid and substance abuse bill.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine praised new federal funding for Loudoun County Fire and Rescue awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, totaling $1,486,000. The fire department will use the funding to support fitness assessment and counseling for firefighters. 

“We’re pleased Loudoun County Fire and Rescue will receive federal dollars to support staff training and ensure the firefighters are prepared to serve the community,” the Senators said.

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, D.C. — U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced a total of $5,524,852 in federal funding for Washington Dulles International and Warrenton-Fauquier Airports through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). 

“We are pleased to support upgrades at airports in Northern Virginia that will improve travel for Virginians and visitors. These are long-term investments in cleaner technology and upgraded infrastructure,” the Senators said.

Washington Dulles International will receive $4,000,000 to install 112 electrical recharging stations for electrical ground support equipment.    The project aims to implement clean technology infrastructure to reduce ground emissions and improve air quality through the Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) Program.

Warrenton-Fauquier will receive $1,524,852 to complete the construction of an airplane ramp and finish the new terminal area.

The funding was awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration’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 critical upgrades like these can happen. The Senate is expected to consider an FAA reauthorization measure in the coming weeks.

 

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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.

 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today released the following statement on today’s GSA Inspector General’s report on the FBI headquarters decision:

“The IG’s findings are extremely troubling. The IG report reinforces the concerns that I have had since the Trump Administration halted the consolidated FBI headquarters procurement process. It highlights problems – both procedural and financial – that have resulted from Trump’s impulsive decision to halt a process that was years in the making. It is clear that the Administration’s flawed approach has failed, and that our law enforcement and intelligence workforce would be best served by returning to plans to build a consolidated headquarters building.”

Sens. Warner and Tim Kaine have for years worked with the Maryland Senators as well as the bipartisan Virginia delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives to secure funding for a new FBI headquarters to replace the current, deteriorating J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington, which was built in 1974. In 2014, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced that a site in Springfield, Va. was one of three finalists for a consolidated HQ that would house all 11,000 area FBI employees, who are currently scattered across multiple sites in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. However, in July 2017, the Trump Administration abruptly backed away from more than five years of government preparations to relocate the FBI HQ, announcing instead in February 2018 plans to demolish the existing FBI headquarters in Washington and build a new facility in its place. The GSA has estimated that this new plan would cost $3.3 billion – including $1.9 billion in construction costs, added to the cost of temporarily relocating thousands of FBI employees while the existing structure is demolished and a new building constructed in its place.

 

###

WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. (CRI) will receive $75,000 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist small or emerging businesses in the Historic Downtown District in Culpeper, Va. CRI plans to use this funding to set up a financing mechanism that will allow local businesses to leverage loans that will help develop and expand their businesses.   

“We are pleased these federal funds will give local businesses in Culpeper the ability to expand, innovate, and invest in their own community,” said the Senators. “We look forward to continuing to support the work local entities are doing to revitalize the Culpeper downtown region and spur business investment that will benefit the local economy.”

Designated in 1988, Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. (CRI) is a member of the Virginia Main Street program. The Main Street program was organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help revitalize the economic vitality of downtown commercial districts. The funds provided by CRI will be used for the acquisition and development of land, easements, and rights-of-way, loans for startup operating costs, and working capital, and other business needs. This project has a total cost of $90,000, with $15,000 provided by the local organization while the rest is being covered by USDA through this grant.

The USDA Rural Business Development Grant Program is designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas. Sens. Warner and Kaine have long fought for increased funding to help support rural communities, most recently voting in support of legislation that provided funding for this federal program.  

 

###

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the below statement on the status of a new headquarters building for the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

“Congress worked with GSA and the FBI for years to put together a comprehensive plan and bidding process to replace the current deteriorating headquarters building. With no warning and no rationale, the Trump Administration halted that process, and since then, has made no progress on replacing a building whose condition will only get worse in the years to come. That’s one reason why it is important that we see the results of the IG investigation into this decision. Our hardworking law enforcement and intelligence professionals deserve a state-of-the-art and secure facility. Having President Trump micromanage this complex procurement – with so many other issues on his plate and so many questions about apparent conflicts of interest here – just isn’t helpful to these public servants or to the region.”

Sens. Warner and Kaine have for years worked with the Maryland Senators as well as the bipartisan Virginia delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives to secure funding for a new FBI headquarters to replace the current, deteriorating J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington, which was built in 1974. In 2014, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced that a site in Springfield, Va. was one of three finalists for a consolidated HQ that would house all 11,000 area FBI employees, who are currently scattered across multiple sites in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. However, in July 2017, the Trump Administration abruptly backed away from more than five years of government preparations to relocate the FBI HQ, announcing instead in February 2018 plans to demolish the existing FBI headquarters in Washington and build a new facility in its place. The GSA has estimated that this new plan would cost $3.3 billion – including $1.9 billion in construction costs, added to the cost of temporarily relocating thousands of FBI employees while the existing structure is demolished and a new building constructed in its place.

 

###

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner hosted a roundtable with representatives of Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Virginia Latina Advocacy Network, and other women’s healthcare advocates to discuss President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. 

“What I heard from physicians, community health organizations, and advocates is that communities across the Commonwealth fear for the future of safe access to women’s reproductive healthcare,” said Sen. Warner. “As the Senate considers Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, it’s important for me to hear from Virginians about issues that could affect their freedoms and well-being.” 

President Trump has repeatedly stated that he will nominate candidates to serve on the Supreme Court who will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. On Monday, July 9, President Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Sen. Warner plans to closely examine Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record thoroughly during the nomination process. Sen. Warner has warned that he cannot support a Supreme Court nominee who would undermine healthcare protections, women’s rights, workers’ rights, voting rights, or LGBT rights.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $43,246,753 in federal funding to support affordable housing development across Virginia. The funding, which will go to 26 municipalities across the Commonwealth, has been awarded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Public Housing Capital Fund.

“Families all across the Commonwealth should have access to safe and affordable housing,” the Senators said. “We are pleased that these federal dollars will help support the health and safety of Virginia communities.”

President Trump’s FY 2019 budget eliminates funding for the Public Housing Capital Fund. The Capital Fund provides critical federal dollars to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in Virginia for the development, financing, and modernization of public housing developments and for managementimprovements. In March, Sens. Warner and Kaine voted in favor of the omnibus bill that provides more than $2.75 billion in funding to the Capital Fund program.

 

The selected Virginia housing authorities and funding amounts are listed below:

 

Virginia Housing Authority Recipient

City

Amount

Portsmouth Redev. & Housing Authority

PORTSMOUTH

$2,184,978.00

Bristol Redevelopment & Housing Authority

BRISTOL

$803,731.00

Newport News Redev. & Housing Authority

NEWPORT NEWS

$4,021,967.00

Alexandria Redev. & Housing Authority

ALEXANDRIA

$1,957,491.00

Hopewell Redevelopment & Housing Authority

HOPEWELL

$800,481.00

Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority

NORFOLK

$8,576,413.00

Richmond Redev. & Housing Authority

RICHMOND

$10,911,250.00

Danville Redevelopment & Housing Authority

DANVILLE

$1,056,943.00

Roanoke Redevelopment & Housing Authority

ROANOKE

$3,265,133.00

Chesapeake Redev. & Housing Authority

CHESAPEAKE

$1,037,894.00

Lynchburg Redev. & Housing Authority

LYNCHBURG

$820,492.00

Norton Redevelopment & Housing Authority

NORTON

$460,027.00

Charlottesville Redev. & Housing Authority

CHARLOTTESVILLE

$832,974.00

Hampton Redevelopment & Housing Authority

HAMPTON

$1,306,266.00

Franklin Redev. & Housing Authority

FRANKLIN

$147,828.00

Petersburg Redev. & Housing Authority

PETERSBURG

$1,025,085.00

Wytheville Redev. & Housing Authority

WYTHEVILLE

$462,256.00

Waynesboro Redev. & Housing Authority

WAYNESBORO

$390,498.00

Wise County Redev. & Housing Authority

COEBURN

$409,332.00

Suffolk Redev. & Housing Authority

SUFFOLK

$1,024,358.00

Williamsburg Redev. & Housing Authority

WILLIAMSBURG

$258,697.00

Cumberland Plateau Reg. Housing Authority

LEBANANON

$548,009.00

Marion Redevelopment & Housing Authority

MARION

$536,689.00

Scott County Redev. & Housing Authority

DUFFIELD

$210,200.00

Abingdon Redev. & Housing Authority

ABINGDON

$63,093.00

Lee County Redev. & Housing Authority

JONESVILLE

$134,668.00

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $9,442,626 million in federal grant funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Head Start programs throughout Virginia.

“We are thrilled to announce funding through Head Start to ensure young children in Virginia have the resources they need,” the Senators said. “We strongly believe in efforts to support early childhood development that can promote  kids’ readiness for school and beyond.”

The following localities and organizations will receive funding:

  • Child Development Resources Inc. in Williamsburg will receive $1,558,265.
  • Fauquier Community Action Committee Inc. in Warrenton will receive $1,152,617.
  • Northern Virginia Family Service in Oakton will receive $5,324,853.
  • Prince William County Public Schools will receive $1,406,891.

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, and social services.

 

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WARNER & KAINE ANNOUNCE $94.8 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR HOUSING & INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS ACROSS VIRGINIA

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $94,819,202 in federal funding to help Virginia communities with housing and infrastructure projects. The funding, which will go to more than 30 locations across Virginia, will be awarded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), HOME, and Housing Trust Fund (HTF) programs. 

“We are pleased to announce funding that will help provide many Virginia families with the safe and affordable housing they need,” the Senators said. “These grants will help strengthen the well-being of communities throughout our Commonwealth.” 

President Trump’s FY 2019 budget proposes eliminating the Community Development Block Grant, HOME, and Housing Trust Fund programs. The budget also proposes cutting ESG by 5.6% and cutting HOPWA by 12%. Warner and Kaine have opposed President Trump’s budget cuts to Virginia priorities and will continue fighting for this important HUD funding in Congress. 

The $94,819,202 in funding will be awarded through HUD grants as follows:

 

Recipient

CDBG18

HOME18

ESG18

HOPWA18

HTF18

Total

Alexandria

$941,853

$536,873

$0

$0

$0

$1,478,726

Blacksburg

$482,932

$672,718

$0

$0

$0

$1,155,650

Bristol

$254,487

$0

$0

$0

$0

$254,487

Charlottesville

$408,417

$624,013

$0

$0

$0

$1,032,430

Chesapeake

$1,182,627

$550,827

$0

$0

$0

$1,733,454

Christiansburg

$111,703

$0

$0

$0

$0

$111,703

Colonial Heights

$94,495

$0

$0

$0

$0

$94,495

Danville

$865,416

$270,868

$0

$0

$0

$1,136,284

Fredericksburg

$186,790

$0

$0

$0

$0

$186,790

Hampton

$1,156,814

$557,513

$0

$0

$0

$1,714,327

Harrisonburg

$559,588

$0

$0

$0

$0

$559,588

Hopewell

$177,848

$0

$0

$0

$0

$177,848

Lynchburg

$733,913

$438,772

$0

$0

$0

$1,172,685

Newport News

$1,257,434

$786,711

$0

$0

$0

$2,044,145

Norfolk

$4,323,842

$1,278,608

$351,181

$0

$0

$5,953,631

Petersburg

$624,601

$0

$0

$0

$0

$624,601

Portsmouth

$1,557,075

$452,783

$0

$0

$0

$2,009,858

Radford

$165,992

$0

$0

$0

$0

$165,992

Richmond

$4,442,476

$1,500,301

$366,794

$1,050,009

$0

$7,359,580

Roanoke

$1,732,287

$606,064

$139,611

$0

$0

$2,477,962

Suffolk

$466,234

$377,689

$0

$0

$0

$843,923

Virginia Beach

$2,000,832

$1,122,655

$164,230

$1,524,127

$0

$4,811,844

Waynesboro 

$193,586

$0

$0

$0

$0

$193,586

Winchester

$231,081

$615,483

$0

$0

$0

$846,564

Arlington County

$1,363,320

$762,215

$0

$0

$0

$2,125,535

Chesterfield County

$1,390,089

$558,425

$0

$0

$0

$1,948,514

Fairfax County

$5,574,509

$2,103,044

$447,834

$0

$0

$8,125,387

Henrico County

$1,692,829

$897,341

$138,560

$0

$0

$2,728,730

Loudoun County

$1,334,299

$0

$0

$0

$0

$1,334,299

Prince William County

$2,504,696

$919,946

$201,653

$0

$0

$3,626,295

Funds for Virginia to administer to lower population areas

$18,289,253

$10,094,628

$2,771,457

$962,389

$4,672,562

$36,790,289

Total

$56,301,318

$25,727,477

$4,581,320

$3,536,525

$4,672,562

$94,819,202

 

 

Additional details on each program from HUD:

 

The Community Development Block (CDBG) Grants program provides annual grants to states and local units of government to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.

 

The HOME program helps to expand the supply of decent, affordable housing to low- and very low-income families by providing grants to states and local governments to fund housing programs that meet local needs and priorities.

 

The Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program provides funding to engage homeless individuals and families living on the street; improve the number, quality, and operations of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families; provide essential services to shelter residents, rapidly re-house homeless individuals, and families, and prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless. 

 

The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program provides housing assistance and related supportive services to local units of government, states and non-profit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons medically diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and their families.

 

The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) is a new affordable housing production program that will complement existing Federal, State and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households, including homeless families.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen has led a bipartisan letter with his colleagues to the Senate Agriculture Committee urging the inclusion of his legislation, the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act, in this year’s Farm Bill. This bill would dramatically increase the amount of funds available to Bay-area farmers to aid in conservation and anti-pollution efforts.

The Senators write, “As the Senate Agriculture Committee considers the upcoming Farm Bill, we urge you to consider inclusion of the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act. The bill makes a number of changes to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through additional funding, enhancing critical conservation areas, and boosting technological assistance.”

They note that “the bill has broad, bipartisan support from the Governors of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the Mayor of Washington, D.C.” in addition to “over 70 different organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Choose Clean Water Coalition.”

The Senators close the letter stating, “We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that our regional Bay economy continues to thrive and that all Americans can enjoy this treasure for generations to come.”

Senator Van Hollen was joined in sending the letter by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

Senator Van Hollen introduced the bipartisan Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act of 2017 in November 2017. This legislation increases mandatory funding available to the Bay, strengthens the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCCP), and provides more opportunities for effective conservation efforts. It builds on the historic funding that Senator Van Hollen obtained in the 2008 Farm Bill to help farmers and protect the Bay.

 

The text of the letter can be found here and below. 

 

Dear Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow:

As the Senate Agriculture Committee considers the upcoming Farm Bill, we urge you to consider inclusion of the Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act.

The bill makes a number of changes to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through additional funding, enhancing critical conservation areas, and boosting technical assistance. These provisions are necessary to ensure that CCA partnerships are consistent with national, regional and state priorities and generate outcomes that address critical resource concerns, such as the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. They will also address issues experienced by stakeholders in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The bill has broad, bipartisan support from the Governors of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the Mayor of Washington D.C.  Furthermore, over 70 different organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Choose Clean Water Coalition support the bill.  Identical legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Thank you for your attention to and consideration of this important request. We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that our regional Bay economy continues to thrive and that all Americans can enjoy this treasure for generations to come.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) expressed increased concern over how President Trump’s trade war would hurt Virginia’s soybean production, which is the Commonwealth’s number one cash crop. China’s Ministry of Commerce has recently announced they will begin proactively taxing Chinese companies that import some American agricultural products at 178.6% to discourage imports. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed that China is the Commonwealth’s biggest export market for agricultural goods and suggestedPresident Trump’s tariffs could hurt Virginia businesses and employees. Soybean production in Virginia accounts for roughly $187 million in economic output, which helps supports thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth. Amid escalating rhetoric by the Trump Administration, China announced that it is considering raising tariffs on soybeans, beef, and other critical agriculture commodities produced in Virginia.  

“Virginia’s soybean producers should not be held hostage to the uncertainty of President Trump’s trade games,” said Sen. Warner. “While China should be held accountable for its unfair trade practices, this should not be done at the expense of the hardworking soybean farmers in this country. President Trump needs to work with us to find the best way to resolve these disputes and avoid threatening an industry that creates thousands of new jobs and brings millions of dollars to rural communities in Virginia.”

“Clearly China is not taking President Trump’s threats lightly and we’re going to start feeling the pain of his rash actions. Our farmers deserve better than this,” said Sen. Kaine. “President Trump says he wants to create jobs and stimulate the economy yet his actions will have the opposite effect. His inflammatory, bullying tactics are going to hurt Virginians.”

“Exports are a vital source of income for Virginia’s farmers and here in the Commonwealth we have worked hard to open new markets around the world for our agriculture and forestry exporters. However, these efforts are jeopardized by threats of tariffs and trade wars at the national level,” said Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “I hope that our trade negotiators will keep our hardworking farmers and agribusinesses front of mind when working with their Chinese counterparts to solve this trade dispute.”

“The Virginia Soybean Association is concerned with the potential of trade wars within the global marketplace, including China. International trade is vital for the economic viability of the soybean industry,” said Nick Moody, President of the Virginia Soybean Association. “Uncertainty in trade agreements directly affect the stability of markets and price, which is a major concern for producers in a business that is already largely dependent on weather. Our hope is for the administration to work with leaders in international markets to create solid solutions to these trade disputes, which will not continue to disrupt soybean markets.”

According to VDACS, agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, with an economic impact of $70 billion annually that provides more than 334,000 jobs.The agriculture and forestry industries combined have a total economic impact of over $91 billion and provide more than 442,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.7 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy. Production agriculture alone employs 54,000 Virginians and accounts for more than $3.8 billion in economic output. Almost 10 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is directly tied to agriculture and forestry.

Sens. Warner and Kaine previously raised concerns about how President Trump’s trade war with China could hurt Virginia businesses and employees, listing the set of products grown and made in Virginia that have been targeted by the Chinese for duties. They also wrote to the Administration last week warning that withdrawing from the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—another significant source of agricultural exports for Virginia—would negatively impact Virginia’s agricultural industry.

 

Below is a detailed list of soybean producing areas in Virginia as of 2017. A comprehensive list can be found here

 

COUNTY

PRODUCTION (Bushels)

NORTHERN VA/VALLEY

 

Culpeper

524,000

Fauquier

642,000

Frederick

68,500

Loudoun

301,000

Madison

384,000

Page

25,400

Rockingham

405,000

Shenandoah

259,000

Other NOVA counties

314,100

 

 

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

 

Amelia

429,000

Bedford

20,300

Campbell

162,000

Caroline

1,056,000

Chesterfield

66,000

Cumberland

134,000

Goochland

183,000

Louisa

224,000

Orange

380,000

Prince Edward

48,400

Spotsylvania

180,000

Other Central Counties

1,413,300

 

 

EASTERN SHORE

 

Accomack

1,577,000

Charles City

434,000

Essex

971,000

Gloucester

284,000

King and Queen

718,000

King George

222,000

King William

740,000

Northampton

937,000

Northumberland

767,000

Richmond

779,000

Westmoreland

895,000

Other Eastern Counties

1,041,000

 

 

SOUTHSIDE

 

Charlotte

240,000

Halifax

299,000

Lunenburg

148,000

Nottoway

128,000

Pittsylvania

193,000

Other Southside Counties

253,000

 

 

HAMPTON ROADS

 

Brunswick

364,000

Dinwiddie

553,000

Greensville

353,000

Isle of Wight

728,000

Prince George

437,000

Southampton

992,000

Surry

592,000

Chesapeake

887,000

Suffolk City

898,000

Virginia Beach

454,000

Other HRVA Counties

1,459,000

 

 

TOTAL

25,960,000

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