DVRPC Proposes Landmark Funding for Circuit Trails in Draft Transportation Plan

Woman and dog walking on trailPhoto by Humphrey Muleba on Pexels.com

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) has unveiled a draft of its FY2025 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Pennsylvania, proposing significant funding for the Circuit Trails. This draft marks a pivotal step in advancing regional trail projects, which now stand to receive more than $200 million in funding. The majority of this comes from the Carbon Reduction Program established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Circuit Trails Coalition has long advocated for four major trail corridors: the Spring Garden Street Greenway, Cross County Trail, Chester Valley Trail, and Route 291 Trail/East Coast Greenway. These trails are now included in DVRPC’s proposed TIP, which will streamline their funding process. Patrick Starr, Executive Vice President of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition, explained the significance: “Trail funding has long been a time-consuming and competitive process of seeking project-specific grants that delays trail creation and disadvantages under-resourced communities. Inclusion in the DVRPC TIP on a corridor basis allows for flexibility as trail development projects advance while guaranteeing that construction funding for fully-designed trails is budgeted in the TIP regional transportation infrastructure capital plan.”

This proposed funding marks a transformative moment for Pennsylvania, positioning the state as a national leader in leveraging Carbon Reduction Program funds for trail and active transportation network creation. The initiative aims to enhance the region’s climate resiliency and improve residents’ quality of life by providing reliable alternatives to car travel. Nationally, connected trails and active transportation infrastructure are projected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 12 million tons annually, playing a crucial role in developing a low- or no-carbon transportation system.

The support from county commissioners in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties, along with regional partners, has been vital in bringing these projects to the forefront. In 2023 alone, $41.7 million in federal, state, and local funds were secured for multiple Circuit Trails projects. This includes a $19 million federal RAISE grant for the Camden County LINK Trail and a $2.5 million federal Neighborhood Access and Equity grant for the Route 291/East Coast Greenway project in Chester.

The momentum generated by this influx of funding aligns with the Circuit Trails Coalition’s ambitious goal of completing 500 miles of trail by 2025. Achieving this goal promises to offer safe, convenient walking and biking routes throughout the Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region.

Ensuring that all proposed Circuit Trails projects are included in the final TIP requires public support. The DVRPC’s public comment period is open until 5:00 p.m. on June 24. Residents are encouraged to voice their support and participate in shaping the future of the region’s transportation infrastructure.

These investments in connected trail systems are not just about recreation and health; they represent a strategic move toward sustainable urban planning. By reducing reliance on cars, these trails can help lower traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and foster community engagement.

As the DVRPC moves forward with its TIP, the vision is clear: transforming the region through better connectivity and sustainable transportation options. This plan represents a significant advancement toward creating a more resilient and inclusive region, where every resident can benefit from improved accessibility and environmental stewardship.

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