Wolf Administration Announces Significant Investment in Acquisition of Kiski Junction, Assisted by Bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Act
Schenley, Pennsylvania — Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and Larry Shifflet, Undersecretary of Planning for the Department of Transportation, today joined Armstrong Trails and other officials to celebrate the acquisition of the Kiski Junction bridge and 14 miles of rail corridor in Armstrong County.
“I am thrilled to be here today to celebrate this acquisition as it helps fill a critical trail gap in the area and provides new recreational opportunities for residents and visitors,” Dunn said. “Thank you to Armstrong Trails for prioritizing this project and securing the support of PennDOT to ensure this important portion of land is widely available for public use.”
DCNR awarded $710,000 to Armstrong Trails for the design and engineering of the Kiski Junction Bridge in September.
A $3.5 million transportation grant helped acquire the 14 miles of rail corridor, which helps fill several trail gaps, including the Erie Trail in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Mainline Canal Greenway and the multi-state Industrial Heartlands Trail.
The $3.5 million grant from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission and PennDOT came from the federal Transportation Alternatives Set Aside program.
The Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act made the investment possible so the county could purchase the railroad bridge.
Additionally, increased funding for the program in the bipartisan Infrastructure Act allowed PennDOT to announce 64 projects earlier this year, 43 of which were made possible by federal law.
“This program is so important to our communities and our planning partners – and we always have far more requests than we have funding available,” Shifflet said. “Transportation is an important part of how people can equitably access services and live their lives, and Pennsylvanians deserve safe access to transportation no matter how they travel.”
Pennsylvania is home to over 12,000 miles of trails and DCNR supports trail projects across the Commonwealth as part of its goal to have a trail within 10 minutes of every resident.
The department is working with other state agencies and other partners, such as Armstrong Trails, to make further progress toward this goal.
“The Kiski Junction Corridor and Bridge Acquisition and Development Project is a perfect example of strategic partners working together in the trenches to identify challenges and creative solutions,” said Chris Ziegler, Executive Director of Armstrong Trails. . “Connectivity is key to unlocking the health, social and economic benefits of a trail. The longer the trail, the greater the impact, which will transform former coal towns into towns of the outdoors, creating opportunities to revitalize existing businesses and activate new ones.
Armstrong County Commissioners have backed the Kiski Junction trail project and officials view the bridge and trail connections as a much-needed tourist magnet and economic spark for small towns along the Kiski and Allegheny rivers including Freeport, Leechburg , Gilpin, Ford City, Kittanning, and others.
“Before I got involved, I had no idea it could generate so much revenue for small businesses and attract people,” said Don Myers, chairman of the Armstrong County Commissioners. “We are at full throttle on the economic development and growth of this county and are seeking all available grants. We all seek to attract people and places to do so.
The Wolf administration recently announced a historic $90 million investment to improve recreation and community revitalization throughout Pennsylvania through grants.
A special grant opportunity in the fall will focus on helping underserved communities, closing trail gaps, supporting a reinvigorated focus on the outdoor recreation sector, and planting trees along streams and in communities.
The deadline for submitting applications for the fall grant cycle is October 27.
For more information on the fall grant cycle or to apply, visit the DCNR Grants Customer Service Portal.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315
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