Jacksonville lands BUILD funds for Greenway segment

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The St. John's River in downtown Jacksonville, FL.

DOT funding choices favor highways

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the City of Jacksonville, FL, with $12.5 million for its Urban Core Riverfront Revitalization and Complete Streets project that includes traffic calming and bicycle and pedestrian paths downtown. The funding is a win for the East Coast Greenway: In early December, our Greenway Council voted to recommend a rerouting that loops through Jacksonville. City officials pitched us on this rerouting, embracing the Greenway as part of their city’s renaissance.

But we are disappointed to learn that the DOT did not choose to fund any of the BUILD grant applications focusing specifically on the East Coast Greenway. The DOT’s BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) program is a rebranding of the federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program. Most of the $1.5 billion in BUILD funds went to bridge reconstructions, rail line work in five states, port improvements in a number of cities, and highway work.

2018 BUILD grants awarded

“I'm proud of the role we played in bringing people and projects together, from the local to the federal level,” Executive Director Dennis Markatos-Soriano says of the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s work to educate partners about the funding opportunity and application process and to advocate for projects during meetings in Washington, D.C. “While I wish the Greenway could have benefited more from BUILD 2018, we will do our best to make the most of future federal opportunities. We will continue to play a convening and connecting role in our 15 states and 450 communities. Our region deserves a healthy and sustainable tomorrow, and we'll do what we can to make that happen.”

Eleven sets of partners in seven states worked to submit lengthy grant applications that would have spurred the planning, design, and/or construction of more than 200 miles of East Coast Greenway from Massachusetts to Florida. Thanks to the hundreds of Greenway friends and advocates who sent letters to show their support for the Greenway applications. Read more

In addition to the Jacksonville funding, two other BUILD awards are tangential wins for the Greenway. In Philadelphia and Raleigh, NC, two key cities along our route, BUILD funding will go towards major transit improvements: an expanded 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, on the Greenway, and a new bus station to connect with the new train station in downtown Raleigh, also on the Greenway.

 

Read more of December 2018 On the Greenway newsletter

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