Governor Terry McAuliffe joined U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julian Castro today to announce that Virginia will receive more than $120.5 million through HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC).
Speaking about today’s announcement at an event in Norfolk, Governor McAuliffe said, “These funds will significantly aid our work to protect the economic vitality and quality of life in areas like Hampton Roads by preparing now for the real impacts of climate change and sea level rise. I want to thank HUD for this important grant and all of the Virginia leaders, including Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who advocated for our application. I look forward to working with our federal, state and local partners to prepare every community to meet these historic challenges.”
Virginia competed with 40 other communities nationwide affected by natural disasters in recent years for funding from HUD’s $1 billion competition. The competition will fund the implementation of innovative resilience projects to better prepare communities for future storms and other extreme events, including climate change.
“This federal funding is great news for Hampton Roads and a testament to the hard work of the region’s municipalities, academic institutions like ODU and VIMS, Naval Station Norfolk, and leaders across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Tim Kaine. “I’m proud of the bipartisan work we’ve done to address the impacts of sea level rise in Hampton Roads, and I’ll continue serving as a loud voice in the Senate on the importance of combating climate change before its effects on our communities and military installations become even more extreme.”
“Sea levels are rising faster in Norfolk than almost anywhere else in the U.S., and recurrent flooding continues to damage the communities and homes in the region,” Senator Warner said. “By helping communities incorporate innovative policies to address the many challenges presented by extreme weather, we can create long-lasting resilience to protect Hampton Roads against the very real threat of climate change.”
“As home to some of the largest military installations in the world, Hampton Roads must remain prepared and vigilant to deal with the risks associated with living on a coast,” said Congressman Scott Rigell. “I appreciate the partnership among state, local, national and private-sector leaders to ensure that our region remains the best place to open or grow a command or business. I am glad this urgent matter has received bipartisan attention.”
“This federal grant is a down payment toward preparing for and alleviating the risk of climate change to Hampton Roads,” added Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott. “Our success in securing this critical federal funding demonstrates that by working together, our Commonwealth will be able to meet this challenge.”
In November 2015, Kaine, Warner, Scott and Rigell sent a bipartisan letter to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in support of Virginia’s application for NDRC grant funding.
Throughout the NDRC application process, Virginia created an innovative living-with-water approach called “thRIVe: Resilience in Virginia.” The goal of this plan is to unite the region, create coastal resilience, build water management solutions, improve economic vitality and strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods. This comprehensive approach is designed to capitalize on the region’s strengths, convert risks and vulnerabilities into economic opportunities, and demonstrate best practices for at-risk areas nationwide. Participation in Virginia’s effort has been broadly based, bringing together multiple state and federal agencies, local governments, institutions of higher education, community groups, residents and private-sector partners.
“Resilience, like homeland security, is a ‘whole of community’ endeavor,” said Virginia’s Chief Resilience Officer and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “I am very proud of the multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional team that worked throughout 2015 to develop this winning grant application.”
“These funds will enable much-needed resilience strategies at the local and regional level that we hope to replicate throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward. “I am proud that this collaborative effort will produce real solutions to some of the most pressing problems that climate change presents.”
“An essential quality for sustained growth in any community is resiliency,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “We are excited about this announcement, as it will enable us to continue to work on positioning our communities to withstand challenges and to further economic growth.”