FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 28, 2023
Patricia Brooks, Patricia@matchmapmedia.com, 202.351.1757
Kalli Krumpos, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 964-5266
Regional Partnership Secures $25 Million Federal Grant for Massive Investment in Trail Network
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s (M-NCPPC) Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation, Montgomery Parks and the District Department of Transportation receive $25 million to fix and build trails in underserved communities
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $25 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to a regional partnership investing in trails. The grant, submitted by Prince George’s County Office of the County Executive on behalf of M-NCPPC Prince George’s County Department of Parks & Recreation, Montgomery Parks and the District Department of Transportation, will drive massive investments in the regional paved trail network across underserved communities in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and Washington, D.C. The award supports renovation or construction of six projects and is a significant win for the region and the Capital Trails Coalition, a collaboration of public and private organizations, agencies and volunteers with an ambitious vision to connect Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia via a 990-mile trail network.
The funding will accelerate more than $70 million in projects that help complete the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, rehabilitate Sligo Creek Trail and Northwest Branch Trail and build the Central Avenue Connector Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail and Prince George’s Connector. Each project is located completely within Areas of Persistent Poverty and/or Historically Disadvantaged Communities, as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and will directly improve outcomes for traditionally underserved populations across the region. The network improvements include seven miles of new construction, eight miles of trail rehabilitation and safety improvements at major intersections and at-grade crossings. The projects will make new trail connections to four metrorail stations, are in close proximity to three future Purple Line light rail stations and provide access for more than 600,000 residents within a mile and a half of the trails.
The trail projects will close gaps, rehabilitate and upgrade sub-standard facilities, increase carrying capacity, enhance safety, improve access for people with physical disabilities and expand access to the Capital Trails Network for underserved communities.
This package of projects addresses some of the oldest trails in the Capital Trails Network in need of maintenance and introduces new trails to close gaps within communities that were historically overlooked in local trail development. Eighty percent of Prince George’s County is comprised of households identifying as Black or Hispanic, and certain segments of this project benefit census tracts where over 90 percent of households are low-income. In DC’s Wards 7 and 8, where the construction of two new trails is proposed as part of this project, over 90 percent of the population identifies as Black, and the median household income is half of that of the District’s average. This project will play a critical role in advancing racial equity by improving the mobility of these communities and significantly improving access to transit.
“We are Prince George’s Proud to secure another RAISE grant that will not only improve the quality of life for Prince Georgians, but residents across our region,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “This new funding is critical to moving forward with the Central Avenue Connector Trail, a key component of our smart growth vision to build walkable, bikeable, amenity-rich communities along the Blue Line Corridor. We are thankful for the support of our regional and federal partners to expand access to trails across the County.”
The requested amount represents 34 percent of the $73 million total cost for this project. This investment maximizes the economic and recreation benefits of existing infrastructure, while significantly mitigating financial risk to the federal government. This project will help ensure the region’s trail system can continue to meet demand, while promoting nonmotorized transportation in underserved communities throughout the region.
“The Capital Trails Coalition commends the impressive partnership at every level of government to advance the development of the Capital Trails Network and to connect underserved communities,” said Laura Miller Brooks, Steering Committee Chair of the Capital Trails Coalition. “This federal investment is imperative to creating safe, inclusive outdoor spaces to meet the increasing use and demand for multi-use trails, active transportation and outdoor recreation options.”
Additional Quotes in Support of the Grant
“With this funding, we can build a greener, more connected DC and realize our vision of a fully connected, 28-mile Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. We are grateful that the Biden Administration has made infrastructure a priority, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the region to build and connect a system of safe, accessible and sustainable trails that provide new recreation and transportation options and improve the quality of life for our residents.”
- Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia
"This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will complete the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, which provides recreational opportunities and community connections on both sides of the river. The ART is an important part of the region's trail network and will expand access to national parks and outdoor recreation, especially for underserved communities."
- Tara D. Morrison, National Park Service, National Capital Parks-East superintendent
“These enhancements to Prince George’s and Montgomery County’s trails and connections will allow residents to travel by bicycle, foot and other non-motorized means, easily and safely, and enjoy our park resources. This win is an important step as we work to design and construct our remaining planned trails in the Capital Trails Network.”
- Peter A. Shapiro, Chair of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
“This award will allow us to make much-needed improvements to existing hard-surface trails within the Capital Trail Network in some of our most densely-populated neighborhoods, providing better outdoor recreational opportunities, connecting communities and building a more resilient transportation network.”
- Michael F. Riley, Montgomery Parks, Director of Parks
“Under Mayor Bowser’s leadership, DDOT has been very proactive and intentional about securing all federal funding opportunities available for projects that aim to promote a better quality of life for all our residents.The Arboretum Bridge and Kenilworth Park Trail project improves connectivity for residents across the Anacostia River and helps complete the Anacostia Trail System helping us meet our MoveDC strategy to build more trails in the Capital Trails Network.”
- Everett Lott, District Department of Transportation, Director
About the Project Portfolio
The Prince George’s County Office of the County Executive, on behalf of a cross-jurisdictional coalition of public agencies in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, secured $25 million in FY 2023 RAISE Program funds to address the urgent and critical need to rehabilitate existing and construct new multi-use paths to fill key gaps in the regional bicycle and pedestrian trail network.
- This project will directly improve outcomes for traditionally underserved populations in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding counties in Maryland and promote multimodal transportation to curb the impacts of climate change. The project will enhance both recreational and economic opportunities in the region, provide non-motorized commuting options to the 53,000 workers that are within half a mile of the trails and improve access for nearly 300,000 residents.
- This proposed package of non-motorized transportation trail network improvements will include seven miles of new construction, eight miles of trail rehabilitation and safety improvements at major intersections and at-grade crossings. There will be new trail connections to four Metrorail stations; in total, the project will be within a half mile of nine rail stations, including three future Purple Line light rail stations.
- The requested amount represents 34 percent of the $73 million total cost for this project. This investment maximizes the economic and recreation benefit of existing infrastructure, while significantly mitigating financial risk to the federal government. This project will ensure the region’s trail system can continue to meet demand, while promoting non-motorized transportation in underserved communities throughout the region.
Each of the trails in the project are included in the Capital Trails Coalition network. A 2021 report found that completing the trails network will result in economic, health and environmental benefits to our region:
- $1 billion in total economic impact every year.
- $517 million in public health savings every year.
- 9 million residents served every year.
- 16,100 jobs supported over 25 years.
- 19,580 metric tons of CO2 emissions prevented every year.
National trail use in 2022 increased 45% in comparison to 2019, demonstrating enduring demand for trails across the country, according to recently released data from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation’s largest trails advocacy organization.
About the Capital Trails Coalition
The Capital Trails Coalition is a collaboration of public and private organizations, agencies and volunteers working to advance completion of an interconnected network of multi-use trails for metropolitan Washington, D.C. The Coalition convenes and coordinates among the public and private stakeholders who are critical to accomplishing the vision of an interconnected network. The network includes the District of Columbia, City of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia, and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland.
Our vision is to create a world-class network of multi-use trails that are equitably distributed throughout the Washington D.C. metropolitan region. The regional trails network will transform public life by providing healthy, low-stress access to open space and reliable transportation for people of all ages and abilities.
The founding partners of the Capital Trails Coalition include the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), and the National Park Service. It is also one of RTC’s TrailNation™ projects, comprising regional trail networks that represent diverse people, places and approaches to building connected trail systems across city, county and state lines. Learn about TrailNation at railstotrails.org/trailnation. For more information about the Capital Trails Coalition, visit www.capitaltrailscoalition.org.