Getting to work on infrastructure
Our economic success and quality of life depend on our roads, rails, rural broadband, and electric grid. Unfortunately, Virginia’s aging transportation systems are struggling to meet the demands of our growing population. The Virginia Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gives Virginia a C- for infrastructure overall, and a D for road quality. As a resident of Northern Virginia for the past few years, these challenges are a daily reality for me, and I frequently hear from parents who get less time with their kids because of long commutes. And as a representative of the Fifth District, I know well the constraints that lack of broadband can impose both on economic development and quality of life in the Internet age.
Virginia’s infrastructure is not going to get better on its own. We have to invest in maintaining and upgrading it if we’re going to stay economically competitive and improve quality of life for Virginians. As Congressman for the 5th District, I served on the House Transportation Committee, and fought for funding to upgrade Virginia projects like the Robertson Bridge in Danville, as well as for much greater infrastructure investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that would have addressed transportation needs and put more Virginians to work. I worked on infrastructure bank options and advocated for greater public transit.
As Governor, I will make serious public infrastructure upgrades a priority, with a focus on transportation, broadband, and energy distribution. Construction and maintenance of safe and uncongested roadways and improvement of mass transit is crucial to both commuters and manufacturers sending goods to market. High-speed internet access has become as important to the modern economy as phones or electricity, and I believe we should aim for universal broadband that puts business owners and students in rural areas of the state on a level playing field with those in our cities. And as part of a renewable energy economy that creates jobs and lowers costs, we should emphasize energy efficiency investments and begin to move our state to a low-carbon, 21st century electrical grid.
Done right, infrastructure investment can make our state more economically competitive while also making it fairer and more inclusive. I will buy Virginian materials wherever possible, ensuring the greatest possible economic benefits from our state’s investment. I support prevailing wage agreements and project labor agreements in public infrastructure procurement, to maximize value for the commonwealth and protect workers. And I will make use of community workforce agreements to ensure that contracting is open to veterans, women and people of color.