Today, Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) introduced the VA Community Infrastructure Act, legislation that would allow the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide funding to state and local governments for infrastructure projects that support VA medical facilities.
Like many VA medical centers across the country, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is increasingly threatened by recurrent flooding as a result of sea level rise, and the Charleston medical district is in desperate need of additional flood mitigation infrastructure. Currently, the VA is not authorized to fund infrastructure projects off of VA property; this bipartisan legislation would enable the VA to work with surrounding communities on critical infrastructure projects, such as drainage tunnels, road improvements, and flood walls.
“The Lowcountry needs serious investment in flood mitigation, especially in Charleston’s medical district. Recurrent flooding is compromising access to Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center when our veterans might need it the most, and VA medical facilities across the country face similar challenges,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “This common-sense legislation would ensure the VA is able to fund infrastructure projects that address critical community needs and ensure veterans can safely access the care they are owed.”
“We have to address critical infrastructure needs throughout our country. As part of that initiative, our commonsense bill tackles those issues in areas that are contiguous to VA facilities located in flood prone areas, such as the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, which many of my Veteran constituents rely on for care. This is one important way we can ensure Veterans are able to access the care they need at VA medical centers, regardless of weather conditions,” said Congressman Bilirakis.