The First District of Virginia is home to some of the most unique transportation challenges in the country and solving these problems is one of my top priorities. We face congestion on I-95, strained commuter rail, crumbling roads and bridges, aging airports, and maintaining the Port of Virginia. I believe that we must get out of just fixing current problems and get to investing in a true 21st Century infrastructure. I will continue to support projects that prioritize innovation, leverage public-private resources, and maintain the safety of motorists within the region.
The I-95 corridor from Fredericksburg to Northern Virginia has been identified as the “worst traffic hot spot” in the nation and as a commuter myself who travels along I-95 almost every day, I know firsthand the issues with congestion in the area. To help alleviate congestion on I-95, I supported the Rappahannock River Crossing Project along I-95 between Rt. 17 and Rt. 3 as part of the Atlantic Gateway Program and extending HOV lanes on I-95 to exit 126 – the Massaponax Exit.
An important component to reducing traffic congestion in Northern Virginia is commuter and passenger rail. Long Bridge, which spans the Potomac River between Virginia and DC, is the critical gateway between southeast and northeast rail networks. The current Long Bridge structure is the primary constraint limiting Virginia Railway Express’s (VRE) ability to operate more passenger trains that could significantly reduce traffic in Northern Virginia and in the Fredericksburg area. That is why I introduced the Long Bridge Act of 2020: a new Long Bridge will ease congestion along the I-95 corridor and cut down on the commuter travel time that plagues many VA-01 residents and lead to a better quality of life. The construction of a separate passenger-only bridge will allow freight to move more freely from the Port of Virginia, taking thousands of large trucks off of Virginia roadways. The Long Bridge Act was passed by the House of Representatives in December 2020. Constituents in my district rely on the services of Amtrak and the VRE to commute throughout D.C. and Northern Virginia. I have fought for federal funding to help expand and improve commuter capacity of the VRE and expand existing platform capacity at many stations within the DC metro area.
In other parts of the First District, our bridges and infrastructure need special attention. Rural transportation infrastructure’s unique challenges need to be considered in order to meet our Nation’s priority transportation goals of safety and economic competitiveness. The Coleman Bridge in Gloucester is a connector not only for vehicles to the Middle Peninsula but also for Navy ships traveling between installations. I included a provision in the annual defense authorization that aims to save local taxpayer dollars by requesting the Department of Defense to review the military value of the bridge to determine whether they should split costs in funding bridge management and upkeep. I am also active in bringing stakeholders together to find a state funding solution to fix the Norris Bridge. I hosted a Norris Bridge Roundtable with county officials of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula and Virginia Deputy Secretary of Transportation Nick Donohue where we discussed options for innovative funding sources. Moving forward I remain committed to ensuring rural transportation projects are not forgotten.
Right outside the First District is the Port of Virginia, which services all 48 contiguous states and faces an urgent need for expansion. Widening to 1,400 ft. and deepening to 55 ft. will make way for safe and efficient two-way passage between larger commercial vessels and other operators in the Harbor and Channels including the Navy. With a Benefit-Cost-Ratio of more than $5 returned for $1 invested in construction, the Norfolk Harbor deepening and widening presents a huge return on investment for the nation. I have urged the White House and the US Army Corps of Engineers to grant the Port of Virginia a New Start Designation to advance its important work in the Norfolk harbor and channel. It will allow American businesses from across the country to further benefit from the Port of Virginia as an integral part of their supply chain.
The First District of Virginia is home to some of the most unique transportation challenges in the country and solving these problems is one of my top priorities. We face congestion on I-95, strained commuter rail, crumbling roads and bridges, aging airports, and maintaining the Port of Virginia. […]Read More