Money from infrastructure bill already making its way to Hampton Roads

Posted at 1:56 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 18:18:34-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Money from the infrastructure bill is already making its way to Hampton Roads, local leaders said Monday.

Local groups met with Reps. Elaine Luria and Bobby Scott on Monday morning in Downtown Norfolk to discuss the funding and what the next priorities are.

The Port of Virginia has been awarded more than $69 million to continue efforts to deepen and widen the port's channel, which will eventually make it 55 ft. deep.

"It allows the East Coast to rise. It also allows Virginia to rise within the East Coast," said Stephen Edwards, the CEO and executive director of the Port of Virginia.

Rep. Scott said the enhancements at the Port could help address supply chain issues.

"When there's a shortage created because you can't get good to market, it gives the businesses the opportunity to jack up prices. If you can get the goods to the market quickly, then that opportunity would not exist," said Scott.

The Army Corp of Engineers also used infrastructure bill funding to award Norfolk nearly $250 million to address flooding, but the award does require the state and city to match with $134 million of their own funding.

"The City of Norfolk alone - I'm not sure we can do that. This is just for that one project. We really need our state partners to help us and join us," said Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan, who also chairs the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.

Virginia will also get $7 billion to address roads and bridges. McClellan says the region worked together to identify projects within Hampton Roads to prioritize.

"Our region is working better together than I've ever seen it. We recognize that so many of our residents live in one city and work in another," she said.

Several of the speakers said they believe Hampton Roads can utilize the Port, technological advancements and these infrastructure improvements to go to the next level.

"What was really interesting to me was thinking of the region as a gateway - not just the Port, but the opportunities of Hampton Roads," said Luria.

Related: Kaine, Luria tout potential impacts to Hampton Roads from infrastructure bill