US DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION GIVES 10.2 MILLION GRANT TO EAST BAY REGIONAL PARKS East Bay Regional Park District Receives $10.2 Million Green Transportation Initiative Grant from U.S. Department of Transportation
GardenNews.biz - Dec 07,2010 - East Bay Regional Park District Receives $10.2 Million Green Transportation Initiative Grant from U.S. Department of Transportation
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the East Bay Regional Park District’s Green Transportation Initiative has been awarded $10.2 million as part of its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER II) grant program. TIGER II grants were awarded nationwide with over 1000 applications totaling $20 billion competing for $600 million in available funding. DOT officials congratulated the Park District for being one of the agencies – one of three in Northern California -- to receive TIGER II funds. The Park District’s application focused on completing critical gaps in its expansive nearly 200-mile paved regional trail system that connects communities schools, employment centers and transportation nodes.
“We’re very pleased with this important award,” states Park District General Manager Pat O’Brien.“The Park District began developing this integrated network of paved trails in the 1970s, and we’ve seen the use of these trails just explode with the population growth over the past several decades for both commuting and recreational purposes. With this grant, we will be able to expedite closing critical gaps in the Green Transportation network, providing a real boon to those who live and work in the East Bay.”
O’Brien applauded the local Congressional delegation’s enthusiastic support and regional stakeholders and other organizations. “We had significant support because our elected officials and regional organizations understand the value of the Green Transportation Initiative. Work on the trail system will create hundreds of jobs and, once finished, the regional trail network will enhance East Bay communities by relieving traffic congestion, and creating opportunities for a healthier lifestyle.” DOT received over 80 letters of support from regional stakeholders in favor of this project.
In August, the Park District submitted an extensive application outlining seven projects throughout the District where gap closures would provide a tremendous impact for connecting to local and regional transit. O’Brien states that the Park District is focusing on what are called “last-mile connections” or the final segment that provides a safe convenient transit connection.
“Filling these gaps will have a multiplier effect with much greater usage of the new trail segments and the corresponding transit options,” says O’Brien. “A safe convenient connection means commuters are much more likely to take public transit, walk or bike as a commute alternative to driving, and that benefits everyone including commuters, transit agencies, and our environment.” Studies have shown that the most cost effective way to reduce congestion, greenhouse gasses, and dependence on fossil fuels is by getting people out of their cars. The seven projects parallel congested roads and provide commute alternatives for communities, including economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in both counties, to transportation centers, employment areas, schools, shops, parks and community services.
One of the primary selection criteria in the TIGER II grant award was that a project should enhance a region’s livability. The East Bay Green Transportation Initiative provides extensive qualitative benefits to the communities of the East Bay. The 265,000 residents