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Delaware supports trails with $7 million appropriated in the FY 2012 Capital Improvement Budget, or Bond Bill for near term projects.

arrow See the "First State Trails and Pathways Initiative" application for federal TIGER funding (pdf 733 kb)

arrow See more on Delaware's Trails and Pathways Initiative

arrow See "Michael N. Castle Trail Opens at the C & D Canal"


Governor announces Delaware’s blueprint for trails

From the office of Governor Jack Markell, Delaware

Photo of children and adults at trail sign

Governor Markell joined local elected officials for the opening of the
Pomeroy and Newark Rail Trail, Sept. 12, 2012
(photo from Delaware State office of the Governor)

Delaware Governor Jack Markell, DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara announced Delaware’s blueprint for trails— “First State in Trails”— Governor Markell’s vision for a network of paths and trails that support non-motorized travel and recreation opportunities throughout the state. The details of the blueprint were unveiled Oct. 14, 2011 at the Delaware Bike Summit held at University of Delaware’s Virden Center in Lewes.

The State of Delaware recognizes the benefits of an integrated non-motorized pathway and recreational trail network to provide opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel safely and efficiently and to expand outdoor recreation opportunities while enjoying the natural, cultural and historic assets of Delaware. It also recognizes the benefits of an integrated multi-modal transportation infrastructure in improving the economic and environmental sustainability of communities, thereby improving the quality of life for all citizens. Last June, $7 million was appropriated in the FY 2012 Capital Improvement Budget, or Bond Bill, to support near term projects and to help DelDOT and DNREC leverage federal funds and other financial assistance.

“Our goal is to create a network of bicycle and pedestrian trails that builds on today’s existing trails and pathways and connects communities across the state.” said Governor Jack Markell. “Delaware’s trail network will expand recreational and transportation opportunities for our citizens and visitors, creating jobs, encouraging healthy lifestyles and improving our quality of life.”

“If we truly intend to improve transportation in Delaware, improve our state overall, we must also make Delaware more bicycle friendly,” said Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt. “By creating a strong system of trails, shoulders and other facilities, we can improve safety not only for the bicyclists, but also for the motorists. A strong network of trails also makes our state more attractive to business development and to people looking to relocate. Bike facilities are not just for cyclists, they benefit all of us.”

“Trails have far-reaching benefits, especially given the minimal public investment needed when compared to other community investments,” said Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Trails make our communities more livable, improve our air and water quality, provide opportunities for physical activity and recreation, and improve the economy through job creation, tourism and civic involvement.”

“A network of trails throughout our state will result in economic benefits to our communities,” continued Sec. O’Mara. “From an increase in small businesses, restaurants and even bicycle shops, research has shown that a trail can bring at least one million dollars annually to a community that embraces it.”

The goals of the Governor’s vision is to:

1) Re-establish Delaware in the Top Ten of Bicycling Friendly States.

2) Build a world-class interconnected, non-motorized trails and pathway network.

3) Support the creation of local jobs related to bicycling, including construction, maintenance, cycling-related services and eco-tourism.

4) Link Delaware communities internally to support more sustainable local economies and externally expand the linkages between the state’s neighborhoods, towns and cities.

5) Develop and implementing sustainable practices in the creation of Delaware’s pathway and trails network, such as supporting native landscaping and natural habitats.

6) Support more healthy communities by providing safe and affordable active transportation choices.

7) Develop workable strategies for ongoing maintenance and upgrading of existing facilities.

In their remarks, Secretary Bhatt and Secretary O’Mara outlined proposed projects that will expand and connect trails throughout the state. Over the next two to three years, DelDOT and DNREC will focus discussion on 14 proposed trail projects.

The State has already committed $7 million in Bond Bill appropriations to support the trails identified in the near term consideration of the Trails and Pathways Plan. While only a portion of the total estimated costs, this funding is will serve as important seed funding that will leverage significant external funding . The recommendation is to:

a) maximize opportunities to leverage State resources with Federal and private funding;

b) request on-going appropriations from the General Assembly;

c) apportion federal and state funding annually in the Capital Transportation Plan to support on-going upgrades and new networks; and d) incorporate maintenance funding either through government, private and / or non-profit contribution.


arrowSee the "First State Trails and Pathways Initiative" application for federal TIGER funding (pdf 733 kb)

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