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VPM Daily Newscast March 19, 2021

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Hosted by Benjamin Dolle, episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.

Listeners can subscribe through NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Megaphone, Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts.

Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Friday, March 19, 2021:

  • Virginia has received nearly $7 billion from the American Rescue Plan, the new federal stimulus bill. But Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine say there’s additional funds coming from the bill for specific initiatives, like school reopening, childcare and expanding broadband access. VPM’s Alan Rodriguez Espinoza breaks down how much Virginians could see invested in their communities.


  • The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts have announced a partnership with GRTC and a local transportation company, UZURV to give residents a new option for getting to their vaccine appointments. During a press conference Thursday the partners announced free, on-demand rides for people who need them.  The service will both help people schedule and, for those who don’t have access to a GRTC bus, get to their appointments. The two primary vaccination sites people are being taken to are The Richmond Raceway in Henrico and The Arthur Ashe Center in Richmond.


  • Amtrak ridership from Richmond’s Staples Mill Station dipped nearly 50 percent last year compared to 2019. But Amtrak is planning to resume daily service on three lines going through the station beginning in June. Passenger traffic at Richmond International Airport was also down 65 percent last year compared to 2019. As Ben Paviour reports, it’s showing signs of recovery.


  • Broadband infrastructure is getting a boost across Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday over $20 million in grant funding will be used to connect over 13,000 homes and businesses to high-speed internet. These projects will be in 17 localities, including Albemarle County and Goochland County. The money comes as part of the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative, which has invested over $73 million into broadband infrastructure since 2018. 


  • Starting this month, the state OK’d loosening up restrictions for outdoor events, since COVID-19 cases are going down and more people are getting vaccinated. However, there are still limits on the number of spectators. This means one of the region’s most popular sports and music festivals, “Dominion Energy Riverrock,” will look different this year.
VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.