MONTPELIER,VT – The Vermont Agency of Transportation is awarding $3.6 million in funding to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects.
Jon Kaplan is the bicycle and pedestrian program manager for Vermont Agency of Transportation. He oversees the grants for bicycles and pedestrian infrastructure improvement projects.
“We are trying to put more facilities in place so that people have a safe place to walk,”said Kaplan.
This year, $3.6 million will be awarded to over 25 communities.
”It’s a very competitive program and there’s a lot of interest across the state in communities who want to make walking and biking safer,” said Kaplan.
$3.3 million will come from federal funding, and municipalities can apply in April for the type of project they want.
”We have a set of criteria and the applicants have to apply for that and then we have a committee who ranks them based on that criteria,”said Kaplan.
As a part of the grant, $300,000 from state funds will go to smaller projects like fixing gaps in sidewalks.
”We are funding ten small-scale projects which are all sidewalks because that’s just the way applications came in,”stated Kaplan.
For larger scale projects, municipalities will receive 80% of the money from federal funding. For small-scale projects communities will get 50% of the money from state funding.
According to Kaplan, the majority of projects involve sidewalks. Some of the other projects include bike paths or shared paths.
”It’s not just about the transportation aspect of being able to walk or bike but it’s about physical activity just tying into other downtown developments and economic development,” said Kaplan.
Vermonters are happy to see improvement around the state.
”I’ve personally seen a lot of people trip over the cracks in the sidewalks. it’s important to take care of the roads and improve them all over,” said local vermonter, Walter Adams.