Indy Cultural Trail gets needed funding for 2011 completion


-- Big news yesterday for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

The project designed to link all of the city's cultural districts with bike paths and greenways is receiving more than $20 million in funding from the US Department of Transportation to see the project to completion. The federal grant is funded by Obama's stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

According to city officials, the money will be used to build the remaining 4.5 miles of the trail connecting Fountain Square (Southeast Corridor), Washington St. (Central Corridor) and Blackford St. (West Corridor). Once completed, supporters say the Cultural Trail could have a total economic exceeding $800 million and create more than ten thousand jobs - all through direct construction, private sector investment along the trail and an expansion of tourism.

The announcement was made at a press conference featuring Rep. Andre Carson and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who both spoke to the rewards the finished project will bring the city once completed.

"Today's announcement is a serious jolt to our local economy and the future of tourism in Indianapolis," said Congressman Carson. "The Cultural Trail is a prime example of how the Recovery Act is both working to create jobs immediately and lay the groundwork for future economic growth. This $20 million will leverage hundreds of millions in private sector dollars and spur job creation for generations to come."

"This is a tremendous investment in Indianapolis," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "The Cultural Trail is an undeniable asset to our community, and this funding will assist by providing $20 million in new city infrastructure that will help increase the quality of life for our citizens and boost our efforts to make Indianapolis a more sustainable city."

The grant requires the funding to be spent by the end 2011, meaning that the Cultural Trail will be completed in time Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012.

Here are the details of the grant —

Under the Recovery Act program, up to $1.5 billion was made available for the Secretary of Transportation to make grants on a competitive basis for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. Projects eligible for funding provided under this program included, but were not limited to, highway or bridge projects, public transportation projects, passenger and freight rail transportation projects, and port infrastructure investments.

TIGER grants were awarded for projects that most closely met the following criteria:

Primary Selection Criteria:

State of Good Repair -- projects that will have a significant impact for the nation, a metro area, or region... and improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems. Economic Competitiveness -- projects that contribute to U.S. economic competitiveness. Livability -- projects that improve the quality of living and working environments and the experience for people in communities across the U.S.

Sustainability -- projects that improve energy efficiency, reducing dependence on oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and benefiting the environment. Safety -- projects that improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and systems. Job Creation &

Economic Stimulus -- projects that quickly create and preserve jobs and stimulate rapid increases in economic activity.

Secondary Selection Criteria:

Innovation -- projects that use innovative strategies to pursue the long-term outcomes.

Partnership -- projects that demonstrate strong collaboration among a broad range of participants and/or integration of transportation with other public service efforts.

To view the video submitted with the TIGER grant application or for more information visit


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