Kaine, Luria tour Hampton Roads projects by helicopter

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Posted at 10:26 AM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 17:43:16-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) toured several projects Monday around Hampton Roads as the region sees the impacts of the infrastructure bill.

They toured the sites in a Coast Guard helicopter, with visits to the Port of Virginia, the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and the offshore wind project.

The tour follows a roundtable discussion last week, where Luria and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) met with local groups to discuss funding from the infrastructure bill.

Local leaders say money from the bill is already making its way to Hampton Roads. The Port of Virginia is receiving nearly $70 million to help make the channel at the Port wider and deeper. One day, it will be the deepest on the East Coast, officials say.

"These investments are going to be really good for people," said Kaine after the tour.

Already, the City of Norfolk has been awarded $250 million to fight flooding around downtown, but the funding requires the state and city to provide some of their own funding.

Future funding could come to other parts of the city, including perhaps around Naval Station Norfolk. Portions of Hampton Boulevard can flood easily.

"I think both of us talk about flooding and sea level rise as national security issues," said Luria.

Congress still needs to pass a spending bill. Sen. Kaine said Virginia could lose out on more than $300 million of infrastructure dollars if they don't reach a deal by mid-March, but he is optimistic they will.

"We've done the bipartisan infrastructure bill, so those dollars are waiting to go out the door," said Kaine.

He says with more money more opportunities to address big issues in the city, like around the base.

"We're seeing this problem and this infrastructure investment is going to give us the ability to start to tackle some of those bigger projects," said Kaine.

Residents News 3 spoke with support using infrastructure funding to fight flooding.

"If we want our city to continue to prosper and if we want our city to continue to remain the great city that it is, we need to care care of these areas near the water," said Ryan Dunigan, who lives in Norfolk.