Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced approximately $70 million in awards to fund 68 bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use path transportation projects in New York. The projects, funded by the Federal Highway Administration and which leverage a total investment of $103.7 million, will promote walking and biking, and boost tourism and economic development opportunities in dozens of communities across the state.
"These projects will help communities become more walkable and bicycle friendly, as well as show off the natural beauty that exists in every corner of this state," Governor Cuomo said. "I thank the Federal Highway Administration and our representatives for helping the state secure this funding so that residents and visitors alike can enjoy New York like never before."
The projects include the addition of accessible sidewalks, improved pedestrian access to public transportation services, construction of new bicycle and pedestrian facilities and the preservation and conversion of abandoned railroad corridors for trail use.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, "We are investing in projects that meet the increasing public demand for walkable and bikeable communities, while promoting sustainable transportation alternatives, tourism and recreation, and local and regional economic development. Governor Cuomo has shown a historic commitment to investing in transportation infrastructure in New York State, including making bicycle and pedestrian safety a priority."
The funds are made available to the State through the Federal Highway Administration and are administered by the State Department of Transportation. The program provides up to 80 percent of the cost of each project, with the remaining share coming from the project sponsor. The funds are dedicated for strategic investments in transportation alternatives and with a local sponsor match of more than $33.6 million, support a total investment of nearly $103.7 million.
The projects announced today were chosen through a competitive solicitation process and rated on established criteria that included public benefit and community support for the project; connectivity to an existing transportation system; how well the proposed improvements benefit walking and bicycling; impact on local or regional economies; availability of matching funds; and ability to deliver the project within federally required timeframes. 135 applications were received.
Selected projects relate to one or more of the following categories: on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized forms of transportation; infrastructure-related projects and systems that provide safe routes for non-drivers to access daily needs; use of abandoned railroad corridors for surface-transportation related trails; scenic byway turnouts and viewing areas; safe routes to school; construction of boulevards and complete streets thoroughfares; and storm water management related to highway runoff.
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Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand said, "We must ensure that our communities have safer streets that protect our children, seniors, and pedestrians. This federal funding is a step toward making New York's bicycle paths, sidewalks and roadways more accommodating for our families. I will continue to fight for vital infrastructure funding that enhances the quality of life for New Yorkers and keeps more residents safe."
Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Veronica Vanterpool said, "Making it easier and safer for residents and visitors to walk and bike in New York isn't just a transportation investment, it's an investment in the economy, health and environment. The release of these federal grant funds to local municipalities helps meet the surging demand for multimodal communities that welcome all ages, abilities and income levels. We applaud Governor Cuomo and NYSDOT Commissioner McDonald for acknowledging this demand with a second grant announcement this year."
Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, "We applaud Governor Cuomo and Commissioner McDonald for recognizing the importance of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure to the health, safety and economy of New York communities by awarding Transportation Alternatives Program funds to 68 projects across the state. This significant investment will build the trails, side paths, bike lanes, and sidewalks to help more students safely bicycle or walk to school, strengthen and revitalize communities by creating more walkable and bikeable Main Streets, and allow additional New Yorkers to run errands without using a car and get the physical activity needed for sound mental and physical health."
NY Bicycling Coalition Executive Director Josh Wilson said, "On behalf of our members and people who ride bikes across New York State, I want to applaud Governor Cuomo for making a meaningful investment in safe, accessible streets by fully funding and implementing the federal Transportation Alternatives Program. New York communities are eager to build on and off-road facilities for biking and walking to improve safety, health and active transportation options. These projects must be recognized as an essential element of community infrastructure and receive adequate resource allocations so that all New Yorkers can have access to safe, interconnected places to bike and walk.
Congresswoman Lousie M. Slaughter said, "These investments will enhance the quality of living in Monroe County with the addition of bike lanes for the avid bicycle community and the installation of audible crossing signals and LED lights for the safety of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and others. I am proud to support the federal push for investments like these and I will continue to work with my partners in the state and federal government to make these efforts to deliver a quality and safe environment in our communities."
Congressman Eliot L. Engel said, "We cannot promote alternatives to driving if we do not have the right infrastructure. Constructing new bike paths and sidewalks, renovating old train tracks for trail use, and improving access to public transit will help create safer and more environmentally-sound communities. It would also give tourists yet another reason to discover why the Empire State is the place to be."
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, "Making our communities more walkable, bicycle-friendly and welcoming will ensure Rockland residents can enjoy local attractions and tourists can experience the county's natural beauty. I have been working hard to secure more federal infrastructure investments that make it easier and safer for New Yorkers to travel throughout the Lower Hudson Valley. As the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for resources that fix our transportation infrastructure and improve our public spaces.
Congressman José E. Serrano said, "Thanks to these funds, Bronx residents will have access to more transportation options in their daily commute, expanded recreational opportunities locally and around the state, and a better quality of life. These federal and state funds will also help boost our state's economy both short- and long-term, while promoting a clean and healthy environment. This is another important step forward for the Bronx River and South Bronx Greenways. I applaud Governor Cuomo for choosing to invest in the development of our state's sustainable transportation infrastructure, a key area for New York to remain a competitive and attractive place for residents and tourists in the future."
Congressman Jerrold Nadler said, "New York's pathways and public transportation system have been drawing people to our city for more than 100 years. Such a wide range of travel options allows New Yorkers to experience a high quality of life, fostering a sense of local community while still remaining connected the rest of our great city. The new trails and pathways that will be built will ensure New Yorkers and our visitors continue to explore New York. I have long fought for greater funding for local walkways and bike paths, and I commend Governor Cuomo for his support for these worthwhile projects."
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy said, "I am thrilled to hear that more than $7 million in federal and State funds will be coming to Nassau County to make much-needed improvements to our transportation infrastructure. These investments will help provide more transportation options, make our roads safer, and allow for greater recreational opportunities at our parks. We must continue moving forward on these critical investments so Long Island will remain the best place to live, work and play."
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, "I commend the Governor for his steadfast commitment to investing in transportation infrastructure to promote economic development and tourism throughout the City. Among the 68 projects awarded funding are PS 95 and PS 35 in Queens, which will provide for safe school routes for children who typically walk or bike to school. Ensuring our children's safety as they commute to and from school every day is a priority for our community and I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Governor as we implement these important initiatives."
Congressman Tim Bishop said, "There is a great need on Long Island to ensure the safety of our pedestrians and cyclists as our population continues to expand. The Federal Highway Administration funding will help to make projects that improve accessibility and reclaim old railroad corridors a reality. This will help not only to increase safety along shared roadways, but also lessen the burden on our environment by aiding in the effort to decrease automobile traffic."
Congressman Brian Higgins said, "It is great to see funding for improvements and extensions to bicycle and pedestrian paths across Western New York. This money will allow for creation of new paths, and will make existing paths more accessible and safer to use, making it easier for the people of Western New York to enjoy the outdoors and utilize sustainable transportation."
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said, "These investments in our infrastructure are critical to the safety of the families and children of Brooklyn, who depend on many different forms of transportation for travel to work, to school and to other activities. Each level of government -- federal, State, and local -- have an important part in the development of public facilities for the twenty-first century that will reduce traffic crashes, saving lives and will improve our ability to reach our destinations more easily."
Congressman Paul Tonko said, "These infrastructure improvements will make it easier for New Yorkers to commute and recreate in the Capital Region and throughout the entire state. I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing these local needs and acting on them in a way that boosts our economy and creates quality jobs in our area."
Congressman Bill Owens said, "These investments in North Country infrastructure and trails will help drive the continued growth of tourism in our region. Improving these resources will also encourage people to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, encouraging visitors and residents of all ages to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. I applaud Governor Cuomo and the Federal Highway Administration for their foresight in funding these worthy projects."
Congressman Tom Reed said, "The Southern Tier is home to some of the most beautiful parks and lakes in the country. Not only will these bike paths create jobs, through new transportation projects, they will also promote biking and walking through scenic Western New York and the Finger Lakes."
Congressman Chris Gibson said, "These safety improvements will not only protect pedestrians, they will make our communities more walkable, bringing new economic activity, calming traffic, and enhancing the scenic beauty of historic towns and villages. I want to thank the Department of Transportation for partnering with Hudson Valley municipalities to improve transportation infrastructure. We will continue to advocate for changes to Federal policy that make it safer to walk or ride a bicycle in New York."
Congressman Dan Maffei said, "This funding is an investment in infrastructure that will help grow the economy in Central New York by promoting more tourism and recreational opportunities in our region. These projects will also give Central New Yorkers more opportunities to utilize environmentally-friendly transportation alternatives in our communities like walking and bicycling."
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries said, "This is an important step in improving the safety of our roads and protecting the millions of people who travel on them each day. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership."
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, "Working together, we can invest in local infrastructure in our communities that will allow my neighbors and all visitors to safely enjoy the scenic Hudson Valley -- all while creating good paying jobs and growing our local economy."