Virginia wins big with infrastructure bill

Biden is preparing to sign a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which Congress adopted more than a week ago. This bill was up against another one that would spend $1.75 trillion, but the choice went to the 13 crucial votes from Republicans in the House of Representatives, after receiving significant bipartisan support in the Senate in August. This plan, the biggest investment in the nation’s infrastructure in more than a generation, will help rebuild America’s broken infrastructure and potentially speed up the supply chain that’s currently being choked at the ports. 

Places like Virginia have many infrastructure needs, from broadband access to making sure roads and bridges are reinforced and maintained, and much more. 

The package includes $7 billion for transportation projects in Virginia alone, with more than $1.5 billion on the new transportation projects. About 1/3rd of the money will flow through the funding programs that Virginia set up in 2015. 1/3rd will provide new money to repair and replace roads and bridges over the next five years, and another 1/3rd will go into programs to reduce carbon pollution contributing to climate change, as well as protecting road networks against flooding. This will allow the state to bring forth big projects it otherwise wouldn’t have this soon in the game.

The full impact will not be felt until 2025, says Gordon Dixon, Executive Vice President of the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance. He adds, “There is this expectation that all this money from Washington, D.C. is going to be flooding into Virginia. It’s not going to happen that fast.”

The infrastructure package will provide at least $100 million for accelerating the state’s effort to broadband access to all parts of Virginia, universally. This will close the large gap for high-speed internet service that is critical for work and study during COVID-19. It will also provide $1.2 billion to improve public transportation in Virginia by modernizing bus and rail fleets. Especially such places as passenger rail, including $22 billion in grants to Amtrak to expand the passenger rail service between Washington, D.C. and Richmond; as well as Hampton Roads and western Virginia. 

Airports will receive an estimated $386 million over five years to make improvements in their infrastructure in the form of runways and terminals. The Port of Virginia will be eligible for funding through $17 billion in grants nationally.

The state also expects to receive $378 million to replace lead water pipes and other drinking water systems. $106 million to install electric vehicle charging stations, and funding to replace school buses to reduce the pollution they emit. It will account for cleaning up hazardous waste sites and make the electric power grid more secure from cyber-attacks.

All in all big changes are coming to the Virginia infrastructure and ports all across the state. Over the next five years, things are going to be changing for the better.