• Posted Aug 10, 2005

Iowa gets $30 million in Trails money!

[insert Howard Dean Yelp here!]
The new $286 billion federal transportation bill that was approved by Congress on July 29th and signed by President Bush on Friday, August 5th 2005 will make bicycling safer, more convenient, and more fun for all Iowans! Thanks to everyone who sent and email, a letter and/or contacted their legislator directly! Our voice was heard and we will definitely see some benefits from this bill! The money in this transportation bill for trails dwarfs the 1996 bill significantly! Iowa Congressional delegation pulled hard to bring over $30 million in trails money to Iowa. There will also be continued funding for the federal recreational trails grant program run by IDOT. Much more information will follow as it becomes available!
[insert another Howard Dean Yelp here]
A listing of the funded trail projects:
  • Central Iowa Trail loop $5.52m.
  • Carlisle trail $600,000
  • DM Area MPO (planning) $100,000
  • Ely Connector (Linn Co.) $600,000
  • Neal Smith Trail reconstruction $3.672m.
  • Hwy 58 trail, Cedar Falls $2m.
  • Clear Creek Greenway, I.C. $1.25 ($450,000 to connect to American Discovery Trail)
  • Scott and Muscatine $5.675m.
    • $2m. bridge at Credit Island
    • $2.165m. Beech park in Bettendorf
    • $510,000 Musser Park to Weggins Road in Muscatine
  • Dubuque Mississippi River Trail $2.68m. (Including Heritage Trail)
  • Mitchell/Howard Wapsi-Great Western trail $2.3m.
  • Allamakee Mississippi R. Trail improve $4.9m.
  • MRT Comanche to Clinton $2.1
  • Lewis and Clark trail study $250,000

a good article talking about the Twin Cities trails system... MINNEAPOLIS -- When Erika Sass moved here from Washington state, she had a choice of how to get to work: hop in the car and drive 15 minutes or get on her bike and pedal an hour. She chose the bike. "I've never seen trails like this," Sass said of the bike paths crisscrossing the Twin Cities, one of the nation's top bicycling areas. The transportation bill signed Wednesday by President Bush spends most of its $286.4 billion on road-building, but it also includes a chunk of change -- $3 billion by one group's estimate -- to expand cycling and walking trails. The Twin Cities are getting $25 million from a pilot project designed to measure how such trails can help reduce road congestion. "We want to figure out how to make these trails useful, not just for fitness but for actual transportation," said Lea Schuster of Transit for Livable Communities in St. Paul. According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a bicycle advocacy group, Minneapolis already has more people biking to work than any other city -- 2.63 percent of commuters. State transportation officials said the money probably would be earmarked for construction. A mile of bike path in the suburbs can cost from $100,000 to $500,000, but can grow to as much as $1 million in the city because of the high cost of land acquisition. A mile of new freeway, by comparison, can cost anywhere from $40 million to $75 million, according to the Metropolitan Council. Even if $25 million does buy a lot of trail, bicycle advocates themselves downplayed the likely effect on congestion. "It's not going to fix the Twin Cities congestion problem," said David Dixen, a board member at the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota. According to America Bikes, a coalition of eight national bike organizations, the transportation bill includes potentially $3 billion in bike and pedestrian money, depending on how states decide to spend the money. That figure covers projects such as bicycling and walking trails, sidewalks and bike lanes on roads, said Barbara McCann, a spokeswoman for the coalition, which lobbied for biking and walking provisions in the bill. In Columbia, Mo., which is also in the pilot program, planners envision an extensive trails network that could be key to growth. "Twenty-five million dollars in a town the size of Columbia and at this point in our growth could be very dramatic," said Chip Cooper, chairman of The PedNet Coalition, a group of locals that promotes non-motorized transportation. "This could really put us on the map as one of America's healthiest communities." Like Sass, the newcomer from Washington state, Jonathan Scott pedals to his job -- as a patent attorney. He does it to avoid the crowded roads. "With the millions and billions they spend on freeways," Scott said, "it's time they spend more money on trails." * __ Source:,1,6547205.story?coll=sns-ap-nation-headlines&ctrack=1&cset=true Associated Press writers Frederic J. Frommer in Washington and Alan Scher Zagier in Columbia, Mo., contributed to this report.
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