Download Economic Development Press Release 2017 in PDF.
RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia General Assembly has passed legislation submitted by Delegate Keith Hodges (R-98th) that launches a comprehensive rural coastal Virginia legislative package to address economic development and environmental protection. House Bills 1774, 2055, and 2064 have bipartisan support and are likely to be signed into law by the Governor. “I am pleased to report sweeping legislative changes that refocuses the regulatory framework, financial accountability, state agency reform and economic improvements necessary to drive the 98th District and all of rural coastal Virginia forward.
The legislative package seeks to address the specific needs faced exclusively by the rural areas of coastal Virginia. It includes the creation of the Rural Coastal Virginia Community Enhancement Authority. Giving the rural coastal areas a unified voice and programmatic structure to compete for the financial opportunities that are available.
The coastal areas of Virginia are blessed with abundant natural resources that creates barriers to economic development unlike other areas of the Commonwealth. House Bill 2055 will require a new approach for stormwater management to be created that results in higher water quality protection for our waterways, while simultaneously allowing for enhanced strategic economic growth. The solution requires the Commonwealth Center for Flooding and Resiliency to bring together stakeholders
Issues that limit economic development and increase costs in the Middle Peninsula and Tidewater areas of Virginia include stringent stormwater regulations, a lack of organized economic authority, and a disconnect between VDOT and localities regarding cost estimates of potential businesses. The legislation submitted by Delegate Hodges, creates a framework for economic development that will create jobs and make the area more attractive to potential businesses. The legislation seeks to examine the functionality of current stormwater regulations, create an economic development authority for rural areas of coastal Virginia, and to increase the transparency of VDOT cost estimates, each with the end goal of boosting economic development in the region.
Delegate Hodges noted “Rural areas of coastal Virginia face problems that other parts of the Commonwealth do not. The majority of people who live in Middle Peninsula commute out of the district to work and those who don’t face some of the lowest wages in the state. I believe the legislation I have submitted can be a game changer for economic development in the region and will create higher paying jobs for people living in rural areas of coastal Virginia”
Delegate Hodges’ plan will assist rural areas of coastal Virginia in tackling the economic problems unique to the area. The legislation will improve the current strategies employed to manage stormwater, create a clear line of communication between VDOT and localities, and will help with developing a plan to boost economic expansion within the region