CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — In an ongoing effort to combat the rising flooding threat, members of the Hampton Roads congressional delegation are working to make the issues famous.
“Really wanted to emphasize the impact that it has on our local economy and military installations,” said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-V irgina Beach.) following a tour of the area with Florida Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Tampa.).
Castor is the chair of the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which is charged with delivering climate policy recommendations to Congress “to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis,” according to a news release.
Recommendations are due March 31, 2020.
Luria along with Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) met and toured with Castor areas including the Port of Virginia, Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic HQ, Norfolk Naval Station, Myrtle Park and the Fernwood Farms neighborhood in Chesapeake.
“We’ve got to be ready to confront these risks and mitigate them,” Castor said.
The tour concluded with a meeting of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission. In May, the group released a study highlighting concerns flooding could have on military readiness.
The commission came up with 22 points of action. The top eight they find to be the most vital were laid out to the lawmakers.
They include projects that would improve drainage, existing ditches, as well as raising sections of the roadways of Hampton Boulevard, as well as along Shore Drive near Naval Station Norfolk and between Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
Castor told reporters it is clear the federal government must pitch in. “In this community, I see a significant roll for (the Department of Defense),” she said.
The news is likely welcome to cities like Virginia Beach. While real estate taxes were recently raised to help with the eventual financing of billions of dollars worth of flood fighting infrastructure, leadership said it won’t be enough.
“There’s a huge price tag to being able to continue this,” Luria said. “Need to look at some of the (Department of Defense) programs…and how we can partner across federal, state, and local government to bring together the resources to help with these problems. Both for individual homeowners and main transportation corridors within the area.”
The tour all occurred ahead of the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act scheduled for a full House vote later this week.