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Photo by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Bergstrom Spur, MoKan Corridor trails could get big boost from federal funds

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 by Jonathan Lee

Two proposed urban trails may soon see federal dollars thrown their way. 

Thanks to congressional funding requests from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, the six-mile Bergstrom Spur Trail could receive up to $11 million in federal funds, and a one-mile segment of the MoKan Corridor Trail could get up to $1 million.
If the funds come through, the city plans to foot the rest of the bill through bond money or other funding mechanisms.

The Bergstrom Spur, a former Union Pacific rail corridor that traverses South Austin between Vinson Drive and U.S. Highway 183, has long been envisioned as a bike and pedestrian trail. The city also considers the corridor a potential location for mass transit in the long run.

The one-mile piece of the MoKan Corridor identified by Doggett runs from East Fifth Street to Springdale Road along the future Project Connect Green Line. Together with other urban trail projects in development, the segment would connect the Lance Armstrong Bikeway to the Southern Walnut Creek Trail, linking Downtown and East Austin.

Council members were joined by over a dozen nonprofit and advocacy groups in hailing the potential funding for the long-awaited projects.

“Over the years, we as a city have been on a roll when it comes to investing in safer, more accessible modes of getting around,” Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison said. The resolutions, she said, represent “a great strategy to leverage federal dollars to help us get closer to our 50/50 mode split goal.”

Council Member Vanessa Fuentes spoke enthusiastically about the benefits of the Bergstrom Spur for residents of South and East Austin. “It will provide my neighbors here in District 2 vital connections to transit, schools, employment centers and the like,” she said.

The two trail segments are likely to be funded in part by the$460 million 2020 active mobility bond – $80 million of which is reserved for urban trails. But with the federal funds, more bond money would free up for other urban trail projects.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to get the funds for Bergstrom Spur,” Council Member Pio Renteria said, “but it’s also going to be an opportunity where we’re going to be able to use some of the extra money that we have left over on other trails.”

Photo of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway made available through a Creative Commons license. This story has been changed since publication to correct funding amounts. 

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