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Federal money earmarked for Surry bike trail

A $715 billion five-year federal infrastructure bill includes $6.3 million for a bicycle path in Surry County.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 221-201 along party lines to pass the INVEST in America Act July 1. The bill includes targeted investments for roads and bridges in rural communities and areas of persistent poverty, as well as funding for public transportation, freight rail and water and sewer infrastructure.

“I was proud to advocate on behalf of my constituents to help bring our nation’s infrastructure into the modern era and secure funding for important local priorities,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin, a Democrat, whose Fourth Congressional District includes Surry County. “For too long, Congress has failed to act boldly when it comes to our infrastructure, leaving our country with congested roads, failing sewer systems, lead in our pipes, unsafe bridges, infrequent and unreliable bus service, and slow-moving trains. The funding included in the INVEST in America Act will create new jobs, stimulate our economy, and help expedite the transportation of people, goods, and services in our district and throughout the Commonwealth.”

The bill will now head to the U.S. Senate and, if approved, it will then head to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The $6.3 million for Surry County would widen Route 31 (Rolfe Highway) to create a bicycle lane from the town limits of Surry to the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry.

According to Shahid Ahmed, a spokesman for McEachin’s office, the funding the congressman was able to secure for the project was based off Surry County’s request.

The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization hopes to eventually extend the bike path down Route 10 through Surry and Isle of Wight counties and the city of Suffolk, and connect it to the in-progress 41-mile South Hampton Roads Trail from downtown Suffolk to Virginia Beach. That project, referred to as the Birthplace of America Trail, is intended to connect the existing 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail connecting Richmond with Williamsburg with areas of Hampton Roads south of the James River.