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Pinellas County receives $7.1 million in state funding for trail projects

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Two major projects connecting and completing Pinellas County trails have received $7.1 million in funding from the Florida Department of Transportation’s SUN Trail program.

The grants were part of the total $44.4 million the SUN Trail program awarded across the state.

The bulk of the money — $5.7 million — will go for construction to close a gap in the Duke Energy Trail between Chestnut Park in Clearwater and Enterprise Road, a key part of completing the Pinellas Trail Loop around the county.

The remaining $1.4 million will be used for pre-construction work on a project to create a bike and pedestrian overpass on the Courtney Campbell Causeway at Gulf-to-Bay and Bayshore boulevards.

“The SUN Trail funding helps us close two critical gaps in Pinellas County’s trails network,” Forward Pinellas Executive Director Whit Blanton said. “These investments in active transportation provide a strong economic return from increased property values, support for small businesses, and as a catalyst for economic redevelopment.”

Both projects were on the Forward Pinellas 2016 Multimodal Priority List. Forward Pinellas is the agency created by the merger of the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Pinellas Planning Council. Forward Pinellas is responsible for providing leadership and collaboration for countywide and regional land use and transportation development.

The SUN Trail network consists of paved multi-use trails for bicyclists and pedestrians that are separated from vehicle roadway traffic. The $7.1 million that Pinellas County received is the second-highest amount of any county in Florida. This is the first year projects have received funding under the SUN Trail program.

“Florida is proud to be an outdoors state, and our many incredible bicycle, pedestrian, and multi-use trails are great activities for Floridians and visitors to enjoy,” Gov. Rick Scott said. “I am proud to join FDOT in celebrating this investment today as we work to provide more safe recreational opportunities for families across our state.”

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