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trails-mass-trail-imageMassDOT is reminding the public that February 1, 2019 is the application deadline for funding from the Baker-Polito Administration’s MassTrails Program, a competitive funding program which will allow municipal and public entities to expand and connect networks of off-road, shared-use pathways and recreational trails in Massachusetts.

The MassTrails Program will provide a total of approximately $5 million in matching grants through the first round of funding in Fiscal Year 2020 and will also offer technical assistance and resources to individuals, municipalities, non-profits, and other public entities to design, construct, and maintain high-quality Massachusetts trails.

The grants will generally range from $10,000-$100,000, with higher priority projects receiving grants up to $300,000. MassTrails grants can be used for the following purposes:  project development, design, engineering, permitting, construction, and maintenance.

The grant application for the MassTrails Program deadline for the first round of applications is February 1, 2019. More information is available on the MassTrails program website.

The MassTrails Program is being managed by the Baker-Polito Administration’s interagency Trails Team. Established by Governor Baker in 2017 in order to develop a unified vision for a trails network, the Trails Team is led by the Governor’s office and comprised of staff from MassDOT, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has constructed or funded 150 miles of paved trails, adding to the current statewide inventory of 565 miles of paved trails. Over 30 miles of trails spanning over a dozen projects were completed across the Commonwealth in 2018.

In addition to managing the MassTrails Program, the Trails Team is continuing other efforts to develop a unified network of trails across the Commonwealth. The Trails Team has doubled the amount of federal Recreational Trails Program funding distributed in Fiscal Year 2018 and Fiscal Year 2019 over recent years, addressed the permitting of trail projects at the state and local levels, leveraged partnerships with public and private-sector entities, and aligned resources to assist municipalities with the full range of trail issues.

The Team is also developing a Shared-Use Path Planning and Design Guide that covers planning, design, wayfinding and maintenance. As sections of the Guide are completed, they will be available on the MassTrails website. The first two sections are now live, including, a planning primer on moving a path project from a vision to a reality and a cost estimator tool and accompanying guidance document that helps approximate the cost of a shared-use path project.

MassDOT’s 5-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP) also sets aside $180 million for multi-use pathways construction. Other efforts to strengthen multimodal transportation include the Administration’s Complete Streets Funding Program, which has awarded over $30 million to municipalities throughout the Commonwealth to build pedestrian, bicycle and access to transit accommodations, and a $60 million program for high-priority projects identified in the Statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Plans.

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