Pedestrian bridge to relieve commuter congestion

Senator Mark Warner and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the construction of a new bicycle-pedestrian bridge crossing the Potomac River between Arlington and D.C..

The $20 million project was funded by the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity Program that was a part of Warner’s authored Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

This bridge is a component of the larger Long Bridge project which aims to relieve the bottleneck in the area.

The project also includes the construction of a new two track railroad bridge and expanding the existing railroad corridor.

The total project will cost $1.9 billion but is estimated to bring $6 billion in benefits to the region by 2040.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Rep. Price and Senator Warner Applaud Passage of the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act

Congressman David Price (D-NC), and Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) commend the passage of their bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act, which will now head to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“I introduced this bill in direct response to a constituent’s experience with a joint consolidation loan for which he remained wholly responsible for after a divorce. I am delighted by the passage of this common-sense bill that will bring immense relief to borrowers who are victims of abusive or uncommunicative spouses,” said Congressman David Price. “For decades, these borrowers have been trapped, with no legal options available, and this bill will give them the ability to regain their financial freedom. I look forward to this bill arriving on the President’s desk and delivering for America’s federal student debt borrowers.”

“For too long, individuals have been tied to abusive or unresponsive ex-partners through joint student loans,” said Senator Warner. “This legislation offers financial freedom to those who have spent decades unfairly held liable for their former partner’s debt. I am thrilled to see the House of Representatives pass this legislation and look forward to getting it in front of President Biden as quickly as possible to start offering relief to borrowers.”

From January 1, 1993 until June 30, 2006, married couples were able to combine their student loan debt into joint consolidation loans.  Both borrowers agreed at the time to be jointly liable for repayment, which proved problematic if they wanted to separate the loans.  Congress eliminated the joint consolidation program effective July 1, 2006, but did not provide a means of severing existing loans, even in the event of domestic violence, economic abuse, or an unresponsive partner.  As a result, there are borrowers nationwide who remain liable for this consolidated debt without legal options for relief.

The Joint Consolidation Loan Separation (JCLS) Act would allow both borrowers to submit a joint application to the Department of Education (ED) to split their joint consolidated loan into two separate federal direct loans.  It would also allow one borrower to submit a separate application if they are experiencing domestic or economic abuse or are unable to reasonably reach the other borrower.  The remainder of the joint consolidated loan will be split proportionally.

While the universe of borrowers still making payments on a joint consolidation loan is relatively small, this legislation would greatly benefit the individual borrowers who are most in need of relief (including victims of abuse and those who are unable to get in touch with their ex-spouse).

This bill has the support of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Consumer Law Center, American Federation of Teachers, North Carolina Coalition against Domestic Violence, and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. This bill was included in the Education and Labor Committee’s Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization during the last two Congresses.

 

A fact sheet on the Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act can be found here, and the bill text can be found here.

 

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Virginia invests in driver safety

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced Virginia received $1.9 million in federal funding that will be invested in increasing safety for the state’s motorists.

The main focus will be on commercial motor vehicles which were involved in 5000 crashes and 100 fatalities last year.

$1 million will go towards the Department of Motor Vehicles to enhance crash data analysis as well as improving and increasing the reporting of data.

This will help identify trends, problems, and help target spending.

Other funding will go to high risk areas of Chesterfield County and Virginia Tech who will begin driver education programs at high schools around the state and sessions in partnership with the AARP.

The money to fund these programs comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s High Priority Grant program.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Virginia receives funding to replace lead pipes

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $46.3 million in federal funds are coming to the Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water.

The funds will be used to replace lead service pipes throughout the state to help protect public health.

Both senators pointed towards the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi as a driving force to improve Virginia’s water infrastructure.

The funding is through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which was negotiated by Senator Warren with support from Senator Kaine.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

President Biden signs Warner backed act on Semiconductors

The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Virginia Senator Mark Warner issued a statement on President Biden signing his CHIPS act.

Warner stated by email that the CHIPS and Science Act will lower costs for families, strengthen the nations security and create manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Nearly everything that has an on switch contains a chip of this type.

Only 12 percent of these types of chips are produced in the United States.

The newly signed  Warner backed act will include $52 billion in funding to manufacture chips here in America.

Warner adds that this will help America compete against countries like China for the technology or the future.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Local representatives torn over SCOTUS decision

State representatives differ in their responses to the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe V. Wade.

An email from Governor Glenn Youngkin reminded residents of his pro-life stance.

He announced that he will pursue a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

He claims to support abortion in cases of rape, incest, or if the child bearing parent’s life is at risk.

Senator Mark Warner stressed in his email that the decision’s removal of personal health care sets “back the clock on nearly 50 years of settled and reaffirmed law.”

Senator Warner also believes the decision could leave states the chance to attempt to restrict contraception.

West Virginia already has a law on the books that makes providing abortions a felony with up to 10 years in prison.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Senator Warner urges action over automobile fatalities

Senator Mark Warner joined Senator Ed Markey and other Senate colleagues to urge Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to take action regarding the rising rates of motor vehicle fatalities.

The United States had the highest increase in traffic accidents since 2020.

Nearly half of fatal crashes are linked to speeding, impaired driving, or failure to wear a seat belt.

34% of fatalities are to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 42,915 deaths from motor vehicle crashes in 2021.

Those numbers are up 10% since 2020 and 32% since 2011.

To read the letter sent to Secretary Buttigieg, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Sen. Warner leads telehealth legislation

Senator Mark Warner led a bipartisan effort to introduce the Kidney Health Connect Act which would allow dialysis clinics to act as originating sites for telehealth services.

The bill was cosponsored by Sen. John Barrasso M.D. (R-WY) and Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Dan Kildee (D-MI), John Joyce M.D. (R-PA), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE).

The legislation also removes a 20% facility fee coinsurance obligation for patients utilizing telehealth services at the clinic.

This will help patients avoid additional costs and keep initial costs lower.

This effort is in addition to a 2018 initiative which expanded telehealth to home dialysis.

Warner originally co-sponsored a bill in 2016 which was reintroduced in 2021 advocating for telehealth to ease access to healthcare.

To view a copy of the bill, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

WIC restrictions on baby formula have been lifted

WIC restrictions on baby formula have been lifted according to Senator Mark Warner.

The Senate passed legislation allowing families in need to buy additional types of baby formula to alleviate the shortage situation.

Previously only center types of formula could be purchased using Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children funds.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children is also known as WIC.

An email from Senator Warner states that this gives families equal opportunity to feed their children.

The email went on to say that Warner and other legislators would keep up the pressure plaguing the situation until the baby formula issue is solved.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Culpeper Regional Airport receives $2.9 million in funding

Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $2.9 million in federal funding is coming to the Culpeper Regional Airport.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided the funding.

The act was originally which was negotiated by Warner and strongly supported by Kaine.

The infrastructure law will bring nearly $400 million to Virginia’s airports.

The funds for this project will go towards the final phase of removing an obstruction on a runway.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.