The Virginia Food Access Investment Fund (VFAIF) has survived the powerful Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, reporting with amendments to the full Senate by a vote of 13-0.
SB 1073 (McClellan) provides funding for the construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades, or expansion of grocery stores, small food retailers, and innovative food retail projects in underserved communities. The effort is a refreshed take on legislation that has been introduced numerous times the past several years seeking to create the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund (VGIF). While the VGIF sought exclusively to provide funding for public-private partnerships that would aid in opening and expanding grocery stores in underserved communities, the VFAIF has two components – one focusing on infrastructure improvements and one focusing on nutrition efforts.
While SB 1073 passed out of committee unanimously, there was concern about the VFAIF’s fiscal impact on the Commonwealth. As such, prior to its passage, the bill was amended to stipulate that the VFAIF shall not become effective unless the General Assembly appropriates funding for the program in the 2020 budget bill.
SB 1073 (McClellan) is the Senate counterpart to Delegate Delores McQuinn’s HB 1509, which initially passed out of subcommittee last week. SB 1073 will now be heard this week by the full Senate, while HB 1509 will now be heard by the House Appropriations Committee.
VACo was pleased to speak on behalf of SB 1073 and HB 1509 and will continue to support these bills.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.