NORFOLK, Va. — If there's one thing that's true about Hampton Roads, it's that much of it is surrounded by water. And that's where the infrastructure bill could come in handy.
From a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, Senator Tim Kaine and Congresswoman Elaine Luria got an aerial tour of places where the $1.2-trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will play a big role.
The lawmakers surveyed the Port of Virginia, the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion, and the Coast Guard base in Portsmouth.
"We're really proud of the infrastructure bill and it's going to have such an impact on Virginia and maybe nowhere in Virginia more than right here," said Kaine (D-Virginia).
One issue of pressing concern for Hampton Roads is sea-level rise.
A NOAA report last week stated that U.S. coastlines will experience 10 to 12 inches of sea-level rise by 2050.
And that's where the infrastructure bill will come in with $47 billion -- the largest amount of money ever spent by the United States -- to prepare the nation to withstand the devastating impacts of climate change.
"You know, Hampton Boulevard has been a conversation point of discussion as far as access to the military bases," said Luria (D-Va., 2nd District). "And I think both of us talk about sea-level rise and flooding as national defense issues."
The infrastructure bill will also help Hampton Roads in one other key way: it provides $40 billion for bridge repair and rehabilitation, with a substantial portion of the funding undoubtedly coming here.
The bill had unusual bipartisan support. In the House, 13 Republicans voted yes. In the Senate, 19 Republicans voted for the measure, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-Kentucky).