State, feds award Southern Maine $20 million for trails

Posted Nov. 09, 2010, at 6:45 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Thirty pedestrian trail projects in southern Maine are going to benefit from $20.3 million in federal and state grant money.

The money that will be distributed over the next five years by the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System will be used for 30 projects from Biddeford to Freeport.

System Director John Duncan says the money won’t cover the entire cost of the projects, but it will let them move forward. A 25 percent local match will be required.

The Portland Press Herald says that among the project that stand to benefit are a 2-mile pathway in Cape Elizabeth, improvements to Scarborough’s Dunstan Corner and a pedestrian connection from the new Bayside Trail to the Back Cove Trail in Portland.

Representatives from the system’s 15 member communities and seven public transportation systems spend months sifting through funding requests, selecting the projects they feel are most worthy.

Duncan said the projects can vary widely in their scope and purpose. For instance, Casco Bay Lines will receive $112,000 to modernize its ferry ticketing system.

Operations Manager Nicholas Mavodones Jr. said tickets could be scanned, providing the ferry service with real time data on where people are going. The money may also go toward putting ticket kiosks outside the ferry terminal on Portland’s waterfront.

In Cape Elizabeth, the construction of a 2-mile pathway along busy Shore Road is expected to cost just under $1 million. The 5-foot-wide path for runners, walkers and cyclists would connect Fort Williams Park with the town center.

A citizens group called Safe Access for Everyone hopes to raise most of the money through state grants. The local share of the project would be $200,000.

Safe Access for Everyone says it has raised about $75,000 of that, and now the project will receive $40,000 from PACTS.

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