With the East Coast Greenway Alliance playing a lead role in statewide coalition building and legislative outreach, the North Carolina General Assembly’s 2023-2025 recently passed a budget that invests $55 million to advance trail and greenway infrastructure in North Carolina. This leap forward will support continued development of the East Coast Greenway in the Tar Heel State.
According to the Alliance-supported Great Trails State Coalition, “this investment is the largest amount designated for trail and greenway projects in the state’s history.”
The Alliance is a founding member of the coalition, which is “a broad-based group of diverse organizations, agencies and supporters advocating for increased state investment in all types of trails in North Carolina.” The Alliance also serves as the fiscal sponsor of the Great Trails State Coalition’s highly impactful 2023 North Carolina Year of the Trail initiative.
Highlights of the new budget include:
A new non-recurring $25 million trail and greenway funding program called the Great Trails State Program
The addition of $5 million to the Complete the Trails Fund supporting authorized North Carolina State Trails such as the East Coast Greenway
Nearly $25 million to specific trail and greenway projects across the state
The East Coast Greenway Alliance will directly benefit from $200,000 for development of East Coast Greenway eligible trail projects Downeast in Bertie, Chowan, Perquimans, Pasquotank or Camden counties, as well as $50,000 in capacity-building funds marked for each of the 15 North Carolina State Trails partner organizations.
“This historic investment will open up new opportunities to develop the East Coast Greenway in communities along our route in North Carolina,” said East Coast Greenway Alliance North Carolina Manager Andrew Meeker. “It is a strategic moment to invest state resources at a time when there are historic levels of federal funding available that need local matches in order to draw these federal dollars to our local communities. The Alliance is grateful for the support of the North Carolina General Assembly members who committed this funding to trails, as well as to the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for administering these impactful programs.”
Within North Carolina, the East Coast Greenway features a 365-mile spine route and a 425-mile complementary coastal route. The 75-mile stretch of greenway from North Durham through Cary, Raleigh and Clayton forms the longest nearly continuous stretch of the entire 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway in a metropolitan area.
In 2021, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 130 into law, officially designating the East Coast Greenway as a unit of the North Carolina State Parks system and an official North Carolina State Trail.
"As a North Carolina native raising my family here, I'm proud of this breakthrough and am looking forward to the bike rides and hikes it makes possible,” East Coast Greenway Alliance Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano said. “Professionally, I'm excited to see the East Coast Greenway and trails all over this great state receive the investment they need to create Greenways for All and usher in a healthy and sustainable future.”
The recent record-setting funding - in North Carolina and beyond - for design and construction goes directly to building the Greenway - as it should. The East Coast Greenway Alliance needs your support to continue our advocacy work that is fueling completion of the Greenway. The Alliance has a sustained track record of turning every dollar donated to our nonprofit into $100 in public infrastructure investment.
Receive the East Coast Greenway news directly in your inbox.
Recent record-setting funding for design and construction goes directly to building the East Coast Greenway - as it should. The East Coast Greenway Alliance needs your support to continue our advocacy work that is fueling completion of the Greenway. The Alliance has a sustained track record of turning every dollar donated to our nonprofit into $100 in public infrastructure investment. Invest today and support the growth of the East Coast Greenway from Maine to Florida.