Local leaders, senators discuss Interstate 81 issues
On Wednesday, local leaders discussed issues with Interstate 81 with Senators Mark Warner, D-Va., and Tim Kaine, D-Va.
The leaders were members of chambers of commerce along the interstate corridor. They are part of the I-81 Corridor Coalition, which has been working to find solutions to the issues with the interstate.
Annette Medlin, a member of the coalition and president and CEO for the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, said they've been working at the state level to gather support and arrange funding.
The meeting with the senators was a step towards gaining support at the federal level.
"We want to make sure that as the state develops a plan," Medlin said. "We also have support at the federal level, because it has to be a combined effort in regard to funding."
There have been increasing concerns about safety and congestion on the interstate, and Medlin says the group wants to find solutions to improve conditions.
"I think there's real solidarity in saying it's time to see some solutions and some progress with this," Medlin said.
She said she thought the senators were engaged and receptive to the changes they suggested. In a press release, the senators emphasized their support for the coalition's work.
“We support the coalition’s goal to improve travel conditions on I-81," the senators said in a statement, "which is in desperate need of repairs after years of congestion and safety concerns."
The press release said they also discussed how the coalition and the senators could work together to push for more federal funding for infrastructure updates.
The coalition also met with Representatives Barbara Comstock, R-Va. 10th, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. 6th.