TIGER grant to create unified regional trail system in Pennsylvania & New Jersey
Pennsylvania/New Jersey, February 18, 2010 – The East Coast Greenway (ECG) is about to get safer and more accessible throughout the Philadelphia region thanks to significant support from the US Department of Transportation (DOT). On Wednesday, $23 million was awarded to complete numerous sections of the ECG through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program.
The federal stimulus grant will create jobs and improve the quality of life throughout the region. East Coast Greenway Alliance Executive Director, Dennis Markatos-Soriano, remarked, “The Department of Transportation made a great choice today. Not only will this grant create and save around 1,000 jobs, but it will also improve the region’s air quality and give people access to a safe route for bicycling and walking to lower transportation and health costs for generations to come. By connecting this effort to the East Coast Greenway, the project both unifies the Philadelphia region of six million people and connects them to a corridor that goes North all the way to Canada and South all the way to Key West, Florida.”
While some of the 51 TIGER projects funded were bigger (such as a $105 million rail project in Tennessee and Alabama), the East Coast Greenway package was the largest bike and pedestrian recipient in the country. For significant funds to go to efficient modes of transportation like bicycling, walking, and transit is a testament to the current DOT’s commitment to a green economic recovery in the months and years ahead. Developed trail systems like the East Coast Greenway are well documented to support economic development and raise real estate values. And the economically distressed urban areas that this grant helps the ECG connect (to be constructed over the next two and a half years) are important targets for economic recovery.
The Pennsylvania section of the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway is poised to grow quickly from its base of 22% completion today. The application was coordinated by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, regional partners of the ECGA, in collaboration with six counties and agencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Background on ECGA:
The East Coast Greenway Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to establishing a safe, accessible 3,000-mile greenway from Maine to Florida through major urban centers along the East Coast. Mobilizing our network of staff, volunteers and partners, ECGA works to achieve its vision of an extensive bike/pedestrian corridor that links communities to the areas of natural beauty around them. By serving non-motorized users of all abilities and ages, the East Coast Greenway will help people safely bicycle or walk for their daily commutes to work, school, and play as well as for long-distance travel. The greenway will help free America from its expensive dependence on oil, lower health costs by improving citizens’ fitness, address climate change and air quality concerns by reducing pollution, and provide good construction and maintenance jobs to help our economy recover. Further details and membership information to support the project can be found at www.greenway.org.