At DOT, we strongly believe in helping communities add the transportation options their residents want. In Mesa, Arizona, that means a light rail connection. Near Charlotte, North Carolina, it means a safer interchange between area highways. Here in the metropolitan Washington, DC, region, it means a walkable, bikeable, and safe Anacostia River trail network.
Right now in Washington, the beautiful Riverwalk Trail extends 12 miles from Nationals Park to Benning Road, where it stops just four miles from a vibrant 40-mile trail system that takes trail users in Maryland all the way to the Bladensburg Water Park. For folks on bike and foot, this four-mile gap between DC and Bladensburg is a considerable obstacle that prevents a successful commute, blocks access to an urban waterfront, and impedes recreation.
That is about to change.
Yesterday, our Deputy Secretary John Porcari joined Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, DC Mayor Vincent Gray, US Senator Paul Sarbanes, and US Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton and Donna Edwards to unveil the design of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens segment that will finally connect these two regional trail systems into a more useable single transportation network.
The four-mile connecting segment is funded in part by a grant from our successful TIGER program. And for Deputy Secretary Porcari, it represents the culmination of work begun in the 1980s when he was a planner for the Department of Environmental Resources in Maryland's Prince George's County.
As the Deputy Secretary said, "This is a golden spike moment."
Transportation is about giving Americans choices. Not only must we maintain safe highways and roads, we also need options like transit and trails that help Americans save gas and valuable commuting time.
When DC's Anacostia Riverwalk connects seamlessly to Maryland's Anacostia Tributary Trail System, residents will be able to walk and bike along the river for recreation, and they will be able to use the trail to get to work, school, and shopping. Using this trail helps keep our water clean, takes cars off the road and makes people healthier.
And that's why this problem-solving segment was selected for funding from our highly competitive TIGER program.
Through all four rounds, TIGER has provided a total of $3.1 billion to fund 218 projects in all 50 states. Projects funded by TIGER create good jobs today and build a stronger American economy tomorrow. They are all the result of local officials working together to tell the federal government what their communities need.
And they are all the result of what happens when the federal government listens.