DURHAM, North Carolina - The nonprofit East Coast Greenway Alliance announced the launch of Greenways for All, an effort focused on supporting communities from Maine to Florida, and beyond, in accessing funding for greenways and trails in this historic infrastructure moment.
Since its 1991 founding, the East Coast Greenway Alliance has been at the forefront of the movement to provide accessible, connected trails and greenways where people live, work and play. Working collaboratively with state and local partners, the Alliance has attracted $2 billion in investment to build out more than 1,000 miles of the East Coast Greenway from Maine to Florida.
“At this critical infrastructure moment, we are poised to leverage our experience and expertise to help communities navigate these once-in-a-generation federal infrastructure investment programs and complete the East Coast Greenway,” said East Coast Greenway Alliance Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano. “We estimate $4 billion in funding - less than 1 percent of monies allocated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law - will be needed to complete our Maine-to-Florida linear park. Based on a recent study, we project the return on that investment will be ten-fold – $40 billion in economic, social, health and environmental benefits for millions of Americans.”
In 2021, advocacy work by the Alliance staff helped attract a record $550 million in public investment toward completion of the East Coast Greenway, including key projects like New Jersey’s Essex-Hudson Greenway, Virginia’s Fall Line trail and the Core to Coast Loop in Jacksonville, Florida.
That momentum continued into 2022 with more than $200 million in public investment in the East Coast Greenway, including:
A record $50 million in federal funding from the United States Department of Transportation’s RAISE Discretionary Grant program in August 2022
$11.3 million in federal earmarks awarded in early 2022
$31 million in Philadelphia for design and construction of the Spring Garden Street Connector, a critical multimodal "complete street" project
At the state level, dramatic funding increases in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia and beyond
The Greenways for All initiative is a natural follow-up to the Alliance’s recent Greenway Stimulus effort that effectively brought together more than 200 organizations throughout the United States to ensure greenways and trails were included in the infrastructure legislation passed last fall.
Building on these recent and historic funding successes, the Greenways for All effort will be powered by the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s model of collaborative engagement at the grassroots level, instead of a “top-down” approach. This engagement includes community organizing and collaboration with municipal agencies, nonprofit and community partners and the public.
“The Greenways for All effort continues our model of community-based greenway development, which we have been successfully deploying for more than 30 years,” Markatos-Soriano said. “At this historic moment, we would love to work alongside the U.S. Department of Transportation to transform the health and sustainability of communities by completing the East Coast Greenway, a project of national and regional significance.”
The online home of Greenways for All is now live and is highlighted by a resources section designed to help local communities navigate the many funding programs for greenways and trails that are either larger than before or entirely new.
Trail projects must often be “shovel ready” (through planning and design) in order to apply for construction funding, and much of the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s work involves assisting partners in getting trails construction-ready.
With a focus on underserved communities that often have less capacity to pursue such funding, the Alliance team is poised to build upon this momentum under Greenways for All. In addition to continuing to advocate for greenways and trails, the staff also may provide community outreach and assist with identifying and applying for planning or construction funding.
Supporters of the Greenways for All effort are encouraged to visit greenwaysforall.org to sign up for an email newsletter list and follow Greenways for All on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
“The East Coast Greenway Alliance team helped drive historic investment in equitable public space for many years to come. Now we must focus on the crucial implementation phase,” Markatos-Soriano added. “We see the potential to attract many billions of dollars in public investment that will ultimately complete thousands of miles of safe biking, walking and rolling routes connecting homes to schools, workplaces and more.”
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