Kentucky governor backs federal trails program

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has confirmed his backing for the federal Recreational Trails Program in a letter to US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reaffirming his state’s commitment to use funds available under the program.

“I am extremely pleased that the Recreational Trails Program has been reauthorized for funding,”  Beshear said.

“Kentucky is dedicated to effectively and efficiently using this program’s resources in an effort to enhance tourism, increase economic development and promote healthy, active lifestyles in our rural and urban communities.”

The progame provides funding to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

Last month, Congress and President Obama reauthorized the funding with the passage and signing of the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012.

As part of the legislation, $US85 million in annual funding is dedicated to states for the trails program. However, the legislation also contains a provision that allows state governors to opt out of the program funding.

With this letter of support,  Beshear officially states that Kentucky recognizes the importance of the programs and opposes any efforts to opt out of it.

“Recreational trails not only provide an alternative form of transportation, they also spur economic development, increase property values and aid in land conservation,” Beshear said.

“Trail funding has been a valuable resource to enhancing the quality of Kentucky communities and I encourage other states to take advantage of this funding tool.”

The program is funded by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.

Kentucky’s grants under the program are administered by DLG and require that applicants match the amount of funds requested.

The grants may be used to provide assistance for acquisition of easements; development and/or maintenance of recreational trails; and trailhead facilities for both motorized and non-motorized use.

In 2011, Kentucky awarded $1.8 million in grants to 38 applicants in communities across the state to help fund hiking, cycling, horseback riding and other trails.

 

 

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