Beginning in 2016, the federal government implemented a new program which is entitled “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” or the FAST Act for short. The FAST Act has set aside $835 million dollars per year over the next five years for the purpose of funding “a variety of smaller scale transportation projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, safe routes to school projects, community improvements such as historic preservation and vegetation management, and environmental mitigation related to storm water and habitat connectivity.” Quoting Department of Transportation website fact sheet.
For 2016, Kentucky was allocated $13 million of the $835 million. Of this funding, Paducah received $68,095.00 for the health park. However, in years past Paducah has faired well in the “grant getting” and utilized excellent planning to develop the Greenway Trail. Obviously the better “present day plan” Paducah proposes for grant funding, then the better chance we have to receive the future grant funding. Over the next four years, Kentucky will be allocated $52 million dollars for these projects. Paducah needs its share of this $52 million. Let’s go get some.
While recreational trials receive some funding, it seems there is a strong preference for funding which truly creates an alternate transportation route and/or a safer route to school. This is why I believe that we should look closely at a project which incorporates sidewalks and urban trails in a way that results in connecting these trails and sidewalks to destinations such as Noble Park, our three elementary schools, Paducah Middle School, Paducah Tilghman, Western Baptist Hospital, Midtown locations, Coleman Park, Paducah School of Art and Design and Lowertown. The attached map (Ross Perot style graphics for those old enough to remember Ross Perot graphics) is just a sketch of the fluid thought process of a relative newcomer to this effort. I certainly do not have all the answers, but I am pretty sure now is the time for this conversation.
Bikeable Walkable – It’s Doable.