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Virginia senators praise new infrastructure bill

Virginia Senator Mark Warner calls the bill "the once-in-a-generation investments in infrastructure."

WASHINGTON — President Biden has signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, legislation hailed by the White House as the largest-ever federal investment in U.S. bridges, drinking water, passenger rail and public transit.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) says that measure will have a big impact on his state.

"Virginia is going to receive a minimum of $100 million for affordable broadband," he said. "At least $7.6 billion for roads and bridges. And at least $2.7 billion for transit, among other sizeable investments."

Fellow Virginia Senator Mark Warner is also weighing on what he calls "the once-in-a-generation investments in infrastructure."

He said: "For Hampton Roads, this will mean much-needed funds for resiliency, a total of $47 billion. That will make sure that things like the Norfolk Coastal Storm Management Program, or the LaSalle Quarter actually get funded. It'll mean that we might be able to see that third crossing become a reality in our lifetime. And it will mean increased rail traffic down the Peninsula and into Hampton Roads. All these, to make sure that Hampton Roads remains a world-class community."

The senators now want passage of the much more controversial $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act, to fund social safety net programs and combat the climate crisis.

All 50 Republican senators oppose that legislation, saying it goes too far in government regulation of the economy.

But, Kaine says the bill will do much good.

"This bill to me is fundamentally about preparing America's workers for tomorrow and making sure that our workforce has the training and the child care and the housing and the health care to out-compete any country in the world," he said. "If we pass this bill, and I'm confident we will, it's going to be the most pro-family, and most pro-child bill Congress has ever passed. I believe this bill will do for children what Social security did for seniors."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said Democrats aim to pass the Build Back Better bill in both chambers of Congress by Thanksgiving.

The Congressional Budget Office says it anticipates publishing a complete cost estimate for the Build Back Better plan by Friday.