Valley lawmakers frustrated with federal response to I-81 assistance

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Interstate 81 is a highway full of frustrations not only from drivers, but also lawmakers representing the area in the Virginia General Sssembly.

"I think, like many citizens, frustrated with the inactivity or the apparent lack of concern to address the issues that the citizens are coming to us about related to interstate 81," said Delegate Steve Landes.

On Wednesday, several Valley delegates, including Steve Landes, Dickie Bell, and Todd Gilbert, all expressed frustration with not hearing back from Senators Tim Kaine or Mark Warner in regards to I-81 assistance on a federal level.

But WHSV reached out to Senator Kaine's and Warner's staff, who did send out a return letter of their concerns earlier this month.

"But they addressed it to the General Assembly rather than the individuals that had actually written him," said Delegate Landes.

A spokeswoman for Senator Kaine said his office has been in touch with Governor Ralph Northam.

Senator Warner's office said, "He has been pushing for improvements to I-81 since he was governor. As Congress considers infrastructure proposals in the coming months, he will be a strong advocate for funds to make long-overdue repairs and upgrades to I-81."

Delegate Landes said they did hear back from the House of Representatives, like Congressman Bob Goodlatte's office.

Landes and Delegate Gilbert still feel no progress has been made toward funding a solution, however.

"You know, these things take a long time, and a lot of money to fix, and certainly we would love our federal partners to be more involved in moving that ball forward more quickly," said Delegate Gilbert.