- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2012

A $10 million federal grant was awarded to the D.C. Department of Transportation on Friday in order to connect 60 miles of existing trails in Maryland and D.C.

The Anacostia Bicycle and Pedestrian Project received the money as part of the fourth round of Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The money will fund the completion of four miles of missing trails. Raised pathways, multi-use paths and five bridges will link low-income areas to services and jobs in Maryland and D.C.

“It brings in a component of economic development,” Monica Hernandez said, D.C. transportation department spokeswoman. “This was not just a standalone isolated project.”

The four miles are part of the planned 20-mile Anacostia Riverwalk Trail that will connect 16 neighborhoods to the Anacostia River, RFK Stadium, Navy Yard, Nationals baseball stadium, National Arboretum and other locations. More than 12 miles are currently open.

The D.C. Department of Transportation plans to start construction on the new trail by March 2013, Ms. Hernandez said.

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, chair of the Environment, Public Works and Transportation Committee, supported the grant in a written statement on Monday.

“It will enable residents to access new education, employment, and recreational opportunities on foot or on bike,” she said.

D.C Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s administration dedicated $3.5 million, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley committed $1.5 million for construction as well.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also awarded grants to 46 other projects. It received 703 applications.

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