Public Comments for 03/07/2022 Appropriations
SB358 - Seafood industry; Governor shall designate a liaison to address workforce needs, report.
SB663 - Telemedicine services; state plan for medical assistance services, provision for payment.
SB707 - Wildlife Corridor Grant Fund; established.
The City of Portsmouth strongly supports these initiatives.
SUPPORT Senate Bill 707: SB707 creates a Wildlife Corridor Grant Fund. This fund will help implement Virginia’s Wildlife Corridor Action Plan which will recommend a series of high-priority wildlife crossing projects in the fall of 2022. Creating this fund now will help Virginia access federal matching funds in the new Infrastructure Jobs and Investment Act where over $350 million is being made available for wildlife corridor projects. Please support SB707 as an important investment in safer roads for people and wildlife. Over 57 thousand miles of roads carve up our state and make safe passage for wildlife increasingly difficult. By protecting wildlife corridors, we can help wildlife move safely throughout Virginia and maintain critical ecosystem connections. Virginia is also considered a “High Risk” state for wildlife/vehicle collisions, the 12th most dangerous state in the nation. Crashes on our roads cost Virginians over $533 million every year. Funding is needed now to put in place wildlife crossing projects that can reduce both the frequency and cost of these collisions.
Virginia has been a leader in taking action to incorporate habitat connectivity considerations into its infrastructure planning. The 2020 legislation (HB1695) directed the Commonwealth to produce a Wildlife Corridor Action Plan (WCAP) to identify important wildlife corridors and road crossings, and the 2021 bill (SB 1274) directed key agencies to incorporate wildlife corridors and road crossings into their planning. With the WCAP’s expected release this year, now is the time to help fund and implement this plan. This bill will not only provide the home for these much-needed funds to grow, but the funds in this account will make Virginia competitive in leveraging federal dollars through the new Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program that was passed as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. We urge you to pass this piece of legislation and establish this Wildlife Corridor Grant Fund.
SB153 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Secretary of; created.