2024-07-13 8:31 AM

News Briefs: August 17 – 23

I-95 Extension Opens This Week, 10 Miles Added

The opening of a new, 10-mile extension of the 95 Express Lanes to Fredericksburg opening to mainline traffic late on August 17, 2023 was celebrated at a ceremonial ribbon cutting this week.

“Our robust economy is getting another boost today as the 95 Express Lanes provide faster, more reliable transportation along one of the Commonwealth’s busiest stretches of highway,” said Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “Through the continued power of public-private partnerships, investment in local and regional communities and booming job creation, we are solidifying Virginia’s status as a great place to do business.”

The $670 million project, a public-private partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation and Transurban, broke ground in 2019. 

Once the Extension is open to customers, drivers can experience ten more miles of Express Lanes with access to the length of the project, with additional access at Route 17, Courthouse Road, and Russell Road opening to traffic in late 2023.

Democrats Hail Anniversary of Historic ‘Inflation Reduction Act’

This week, Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker released the following statement on the anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act becoming law:

“One year ago, President Biden and Democrats passed the historic Inflation Reduction Act — despite every single Republican in Virginia voting against it.

The legislation is doing exactly what it promised: lowering health care and prescription drug costs for Virginia families, bringing new jobs to our communities, and making the largest investment in climate change mitigation in history. But MAGA Republicans pledge to roll back this historic legislation and increase costs on middle-class families. That’s why it’s so important that we send President Biden and Vice President Harris back to the White House next year to finish the job and elect Democrats up and down the ballot who will protect and build on the progress we’ve made.”

Former President Donald Trump on Friday slammed the Democratic-led climate, health, and tax bill, arguing that Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was ‘taken for a ride’ by Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.”

The leaders of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, released the following statement in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act.  

“Exactly one year ago, the trajectory of the U.S. economy was fundamentally changed for the better. On this day, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, putting the U.S. on a path to a clean energy economy for the first time. The impacts of this historic investment in climate action and clean energy will be felt for generations, but even in just one year, we’ve already seen staggering progress.

“In the past 12 months, private industry has already announced $270 billion in clean energy investments. This amount surpasses the last eight years of clean investments combined. The Inflation Reduction Act’s influence is powerful and widespread, with more than 170,600 new jobs and 272 new projects in the clean energy sector announced across 44 states. With this exponential growth, the U.S. is projected to reduce economy-wide emissions 33-40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, putting us well on our way to curbing the worst effects of climate change.”

Beyer Helps Form New AI Working Group in Congress

This week, the New Democrat Coalition Vice Chair for Policy Derek Kilmer  announced the formation of the Coalition’s first-ever Artificial Intelligence (AI) Working Group. Led by Working Group Chair Derek Kilmer and Vice Chairs Don Beyer, Jeff Jackson, Sara Jacobs, Susie Lee and Haley Stevens, New Dems will engage with the Biden administration, key stakeholders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and Capitol to develop and advance sensible, bipartisan policies to address this emerging technology. 

Since the Coalition’s founding, New Dems have been on the cutting edge of technological innovation. In 2019, the Coalition held its first roundtable on AI and New Dems will continue to respond to changes in the technological landscape through new initiatives. 

Artificial Intelligence Working Group Chair Derek Kilmer released the following statement: “Artificial Intelligence is the next great frontier of technological advancement, with the power to transform much of our lives – from health care to commerce to productivity, and more. We are already seeing how breakthroughs in this emerging technology present both great opportunities and challenges with potential disruptions for workers, for democracy, and for national security. As AI’s applications expand and change, it is incumbent on lawmakers to address its unique opportunities and challenges by creating a regulatory framework that both encourages growth while guarding against potential risks. This AI Working Group will focus on understanding AI’s many applications, assessing their benefits and drawbacks, and proposing policies that position the U.S. as a world leader in AI innovation and safety.”

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