HENRICO, V.A. — A wide range of Virginia organizations are praising the passage of the bipartisan, job-creating Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger voted to pass in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
The Spanberger-supported legislation marks the largest investment in America’s physical infrastructure in generations. Among its provisions for Virginia, the legislation includes an estimated $7 billion for Virginia highways and more than $530 million for Virginia bridge replacement and repairs over five years. Additionally, Virginia is expected to receive a minimum of $100 million to support its ongoing efforts to expand high-speed broadband internet access throughout the Commonwealth, as well as an expected $738 million over five years to improve Virginia’s pipes and water infrastructure. Click here for a White House fact sheet outlining the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Virginia-focused provisions.
In recent days, Virginia organizations representing Central Virginia workers and businesses— as well as the region’s agriculture, forestry, telecommunications, healthcare, transportation, and recreation sectors — are speaking out in support of the bipartisan bill’s historic investments in physical infrastructure projects in the Commonwealth and across the country.
AGRICULTURE & FORESTRY
“We appreciate Rep. Spanberger’s work to tell the story of Virginia farmers’ concerns on estate tax and stepped up basis that helped lead to a bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed without those provisions. This bill will make needed investments, including an estimated $7 billion for Virginia highways, $530 million for Virginia bridge replacement and repairs, and a minimum of $100 million to support ongoing efforts to expand high-speed broadband internet access throughout the Commonwealth. The bill will help to address transportation-related supply chain issues that impact the rural and farm economy. Notably, to help alleviate the driver shortage and strengthen our supply chains, the bill includes provisions to help train and recruit truck drivers, and an exemption for livestock and insect haulers from Hours of Service regulations within a 150 air-mile radius from their final destination. This funding is targeted to focus on our nation’s infrastructure challenges and help keep Virginia farmers competitive internationally, and we look forward to seeing the implementation of the bill,” said Wayne F. Pryor, President, Virginia Farm Bureau.
“Virginia Loggers Association hopes passage of H. R. 3684 will lead to significant improvement to Virginia’s bridges and highways because it includes an estimated $7 billion for Virginia highways and more than $530 million for Virginia bridge replacement and repairs over five years. Virginia loggers and wood mills need both, as well as, high-speed broadband and qualified truck drivers, to ensure safer commercial hauling and to compete in a global economy,” said Ron Jenkins, Executive Director, Virginia Loggers Association. “Virginia Loggers Association applauds Representative Spanberger for bringing attention to our high-speed broadband, commercial driver shortage, and transportation needs.”
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a critical and important investment in our Nation’s aging infrastructure,” said Brian Anderson, President & CEO, ChamberRVA. The bipartisan legislation provides needed resources for roads, bridges, broadband, rail, and airports around the US and specifically in the Commonwealth. Delayed maintenance is tremendously more expensive than maintaining our infrastructure on a timely and routine basis. The estimated $8 billion for Virginia is an investment in economy and will improve the lives of all Virginians.”
“The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber was pleased to see the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Chamber strongly supports much-needed improvements to our roads and bridges and expanded high-speed broadband access. As the voice of business for the Fredericksburg Region, we look forward to seeing the positive impacts the passage of H.R. 3684 will have on our area and our state,” said Susan Spears, President & CEO, Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“The Virginia Education Association is thrilled that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was passed by the House of Representatives last week and is on its way to President Biden’s desk. In particular, we are pleased that the bill extends the Secure Rural Schools program, begins to eliminate the lead service lines and pipes remaining in schools and childcare facilities, and provides the means to electrify thousands of school buses to reduce harmful emissions. This bill takes historic steps to improve the lives of—and provide new opportunities for — students, educators, and families across the Commonwealth and the entire country,” said Dr. James J. Fedderman, President, Virginia Education Association.
“VRHA is excited that the Infrastructure bill will mean big steps forward in addressing the lack of broadband in many of our rural communities. The internet is an essential component of modern life and necessary for access to healthcare, access to jobs, and access to education,” said Beth O’Connor, M.Ed., Executive Director, Virginia Rural Health Association. “As someone who doesn’t have access to the internet in my own home, this bill is a welcome relief.”
“We are grateful that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will provide critically needed investments in broadband infrastructure, which will enable greater access to important healthcare services provided through telehealth, remote patient monitoring and distance learning,” said Dr. Karen S. Rheuban, Director, University of Virginia Center for Telehealth. “Greater patient access, patient engagement and patient knowledge equitably facilitated by connected care tools will improve health outcomes and health related prosperity for all Americans.”
“The proud men and women of North America’s Building Trades Unions are ready to go to work,” said Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU). “We commend Rep. Spanberger for her unwavering commitment to passing the historic Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act for the American people. This critical investment to rebuild dilapidated water, transportation, communications and energy infrastructure across the nation will strengthen communities, create millions of family-sustaining jobs, and secure America’s global standing.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is the single greatest infrastructure investment in generations and a victory for the hard-working men and women in Virginia and across the country,” said Dennis L. Martire, Vice President & Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). “The $1.2 trillion investment will restore our roads and bridges, our water systems, transit, and broadband with historic new investments, while providing middle-class, family-supporting jobs for Virginia’s working families.”
“I was excited to hear about the House passing the Bipartisan infrastructure bill and appreciate all the hard work put into getting this bill through,” said Jason Ascher, Political Director, Mid-Atlantic Pipe Trades Association. “This legislation will invest billions of dollars in upgrading water infrastructure to provide clean drinking water while creating new jobs, with labor protections such as family-sustaining wages and benefits, across Virginia and the country. In addition, the legislation will also spend billions on upgrading our energy system to provide reliable, cleaner energy, including Hydrogen, Nuclear, and carbon capture.”
“The final passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a monumental political and legislative accomplishment, and Virginia’s workers are standing ready to rebuild the Commonwealth,” said Doris Crouse-Mays, President, Virginia AFL-CIO. “With $7 billion for roads, $537 million for bridges, $1.2 billion for transportation, $106 million for electric vehicle (EV) chargers, and $100 million for high-speed internet, the number of jobs that will be created will be astounding, and much needed to continue the revitalization of our labor force here in Virginia. Thousands of jobs for Virginians to repair and rebuild our roads and bridges, to improve our healthy sustainable transportation, to build a network of EV chargers to facilitate long-distance travel and convenient charging options, and to help connect every Virginian to reliable high-speed internet. This is the step forward in raising up our working class and our economy. We are so close to making our economy fairer and safer for working Virginians, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
“Sports Backers is thrilled to see Congress pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to nearly double Transportation Alternatives program funding for our region. Transportation Alternatives funding helps build sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and trails that improve safety, reduce vehicle emissions and improve residents health. These dollars are critical to supporting infrastructure like the Fall Line trail — a 43 mile multi-use trail connecting the Central Virginia region — and propelling our communities forward in leading active and healthy lives,” said Jon Lugbill, Executive Director, Sports Backers.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS & BROADBAND INTERNET
“Firefly Fiber Broadband applauds the federal level commitment with this infrastructure bill to make universal broadband service a reality, and we appreciate Representative Spanberger for beating the drum for broadband support throughout her tenure in Congress,” said Gary Wood, President & CEO, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative and Firefly Fiber Broadband. “In an age when broadband access has become an essential service, the funding is critical in rural areas to assure every family and business has reliable, affordable high speed internet access.”
“Electric cooperatives know just how important infrastructure investments are for rural communities. This bipartisan legislation makes significant investments in rural energy and broadband infrastructure that will improve the lives of rural Virginians,” said Marcus Harris, President & CEO, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative. “Electric cooperatives know just how important infrastructure investments are for rural communities. This bipartisan legislation makes significant investments in rural energy and broadband infrastructure that will improve the lives of rural Virginians.”
“A significant federal investment in critical infrastructure projects that, among other things, will help strengthen the nation’s supply chain and keep trade flowing is an important step forward,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO & Executive Director, Virginia Port Authority. “Since 2016 The Port of Virginia has invested more than $800 million to build a technologically-advanced, twenty-first century port complex. This federal spending package will enhance our efforts and help keep our port and this nation competitive by funding projects like the Norfolk Harbor deepening and widening. We applaud the focus of this legislation and what it will do for trade and the movement of cargo across this nation.”
“We have under invested in infrastructure for the past 20 years. 577 bridges are classified as structurally deficient in Virginia,” said Gordon Dixon, Executive Vice President, Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA). “The investment in roads and bridges will help main street business and farms get their customers, supplies, and employees to their intended destinations. VDOT has done a great job preparing for these investments to keep Virginia’ economy moving. While VDOT will manage these projects, private sector firms will design, build, repair and maintain these roads, bridges and airports. The safety and traffic mitigation of our supply routes are a daily need and every community will see a benefit from this investment over the next five years.”
“Roads and bridges are not political — we all drive on them. A majority in the House of Representatives realized this and did what’s right for the country. From farmers to truckers, the millions of hard-working people who make this country great won on Friday. This bill represents a significant investment in our nation’s roads and bridges with a 38% increase in funding and delivers a desperately needed injection into the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent. We are also pleased that the bill provides an infusion of highly-trained, younger talent into our workforce to help address the shortage of qualified truck drivers,” said Dale Bennett, President & CEO, Virginia Trucking Association.
Last month, Spanberger and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam joined representatives from several Virginia labor and business organizations to highlight the transformational and job-creating benefits of the bipartisan infrastructure package awaiting action in the U.S. House of Representatives — and to call for its swift passage.