VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Two key waterborne passageways in Virginia Beach are on track to get a much-needed boost.
The Lynnhaven and Rudee Inlets are on the verge of getting a multi-million dollar appropriation for critical dredging and shoal removal.
Congress still has to vote on a final budget, but Virginia's two senators are confident it will happen.
Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have tentatively secured more than $4.7 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct two key maintenance projects for both Lynnhaven Inlet and Rudee Inlet.
Lynnhaven Inlet will receive $4.1 million for maintenance dredging and removal of shoals. Rudee Inlet will receive $580,000 for the same thing.
"We are all very pleased to hear that," said Casey Hasell of Rudee Tours. "Hopefully, it will fix the problem for many years to come."
The cash infusion is much needed. Mother Nature takes a toll as time goes by, impacting commercial and recreational boaters.
"We've had multiple boats get stuck on the shoal over there. We had to go tow them out," said Hassell.
For the first time in over ten years, the Senate revived a process that allows lawmakers to make Congressionally-directed spending requests, otherwise known as earmarks.
In a statement, Warner and Kaine said: "We have long supported water infrastructure projects like these and were glad to advocate for these federal funds to support important dredging projects in Hampton Roads. As negotiations continue on this year's government funding bill, we will continue pushing for funding critical to the region."
Of course, nothing is going to happen with the federal budget this holiday week. The Senate is on recess until next Monday, while the House is off until Tuesday.