New Castle, DE - New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced today that New Castle County has been awarded a $23 million RAISE grant to expand the Jack Markell Trail from Wilmington into the town of Newport. Information on the trail is located here.
The proposed connection of the Jack A. Markell Trail to the Town of Newport will give non-motorized transportation access between highly populated areas in New Castle County including the Town of Newport to the Riverfront in Wilmington and Historic New Castle. This segment will also form a part of the proposed 16-mile Wilmington Loop project, and also become part of a connection between Wilmington and Newark. The connection will provide hundreds of thousands of Delawareans new access to parks, open space, river viewsheds and wildlife areas.
RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) discretionary grants help project sponsors at the State and local levels, including municipalities, Tribal governments, counties, and others complete critical freight and passenger transportation infrastructure projects. The eligibility requirements of RAISE allow project sponsors to obtain funding for projects that are harder to support through other U.S. Department of Transportation grant programs.
“We are beyond thrilled to be selected for this RAISE grant,” said County Executive Meyer. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect communities, encourage healthy lifestyles, provide an alternative to vehicle trips on our roads, and further enjoy our nationally recognized bike and walking trail systems in Delaware. This is a major step forward in connecting Wilmington to Newport and in completing the long imagined Wilmington Bike Loop. I am especially thankful to our federal delegation for their advocacy for this project and appreciate the partnership of many State legislators and community groups in supporting our application for this project.”
New Castle County commissioned a feasibility study with Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLC in 2019 for this potential trail, with the support of the Delaware Bicycle Council Cycling Infrastructure Innovation Grant, which then led to conceptual and engineering design phases, funded in part by State of Delaware Bond Bill funding. New Castle County sought construction funding via the RAISE grant, as Final Design is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Delaware is receiving millions in funding to connect our communities and make our state a better place to live, work, and play,” said Senator Carper, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This grant will make it easier for Delawareans to experience our state’s natural beauty by providing safe alternatives for bicyclists and pedestrians while also helping to drive economic growth and opportunity. I am so proud to have helped secure this funding with Senator Coons and Congresswoman Blunt Rochester as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition, I look forward to running on these trails myself.”
“Delaware earns its ‘small wonder’ label because it’s packed with incredible green spaces that stretch from our parks in New Castle County to our beautiful beaches in Sussex, and everything you can see along the way,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “The tens of millions of dollars coming through this RAISE grant will help preserve even more green space in Delaware and expand access to one of our state’s crown jewels of the outdoors in the Jack Markell Trail.”
“Investing in transportation Infrastructure was the goal of the transformational Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, legislation Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and I championed in Congress,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester, member of the Regional Leadership Council, a group of lawmakers appointed to lead the implementation and communication of historic legislation passed in the 117th Congress. “With the $44 million in RAISE Grant funding made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’ll be able to increase access to scenic trails in New Castle and Sussex Counties with a focus on strengthening our environmental sustainability, job creation, and quality of life across Delaware.”
A broad coalition of State legislators and community groups supported the grant application, including Senators Hansen, Hoffner, Lockman, Mantzavinos, Poore, Sokola, Walsh and Wilson, Representatives Baumbach, Cooke, Minor-Brown, Morrison, Osienski, Phillips, Ramone, Smith, and Williams, Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, County Councilman Toole, Delaware Bicycle Council, Delaware Greenways, Bike Delaware, East Coast Greenway, Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO), Town of Newport, City of Wilmington, City of Newark, ChristianaCare, Cornerstone West CDC, Delaware BioScience Association, Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce, Delaware League of Local Governments, Delaware Nature Society, Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau, Harvey Hanna & Associates, Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, League of Women Voters, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Riverfront Development Corporation, University of Delaware, and the Urban Bike Project.