State must appropriate funds for trails initiative
Delaware, over the last couple of years, has made a commitment and put significant resources toward creating new and improving current pathways and trails in our state. Gov. Jack Markell called this the First State in Pathways and Trails initiative.
The bold vision was to create an interconnected network of attractive and safe routes that would allow opportunities for some other modes of transportation, namely our feet and wheels we power with human energy, to transport ourselves throughout and between the towns, cities, communities, and parks across the entire state. The initiative would support the creation of jobs, resulting in investments for bicycling and walking. It will also support construction and trail maintenance jobs.
During the first year of this initiative, roughly $5 million was allocated for this project and during the second year about $13 million was allocated. Unfortunately, this year the funding for the initiative has been cut to zero. As a cardiologist, I understand how important it is for Delawareans to have the opportunity to live active healthy lives. I also know that nearly $3 in medical cost savings is seen for every $1 invested in building these trails.
We have an annual transportation budget that ranges between $150 million to more than $200 million. The vision of the First State Pathways and Trails initiative cannot be achieved without a modest appropriation for it, year after year on a continuous basis. Gov. Markell, please don’t abandon your vision.
We support it.
William S. Weintraub, M.D.