PORTSMOUTH, Va. ( WAVY) — The head of the Hampton Roads Planning District commission has his wish list in place for when the money from the new $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package begins to flow into Hampton Roads.
HRPDC Executive Director Bob Crum was part of a roundtable discussion Tuesday with U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) at the Port of Virginia International Gateway that included leaders from the shipping industry.
The infrastructure bill provides for $110 billion in road and bridge improvements. At the top of Crum’s priority list is a $635 million project to continue widening Interstate 64 between the Virginia Peninsula and Richmond until it’s three lanes in both directions all the way.
“20 of those miles are outside the region in Hampton Roads,” Crum said. “So we are really excited and hopeful that this federal infrastructure package can add that additional lane in each direction.”
Kaine says it would help Hampton Roads join forces with the capital area when it comes to attracting business.
“There’s this new effort to try to connect the 757 with RVA and think about it as a big region for economic development. That project would be really important for making that happen,” Kaine said.
The federal package also earmarks $65 billion in broadband development. Some of that money could help Hampton Roads attract new business, Crum says.
“Our region is building out its regional fiber network and the super-fast sub-sea cables that come ashore in Virginia Beach,” Crum said.
“We have too many people in Virginia who don’t have access, or if they do have access it’s not affordable. We can [build broadband] in a way that will benefit Hampton Roads and all over the commonwealth,” Kaine said.
The federal infrastructure bill also provides $66 billion for rail improvements, $47 billion in resilience projects to combat sea level rise and climate change, and $39 billion in upgrades to public transit. The amount that will come to Hampton Roads has yet to be determined.