Last week the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) authorized seeking up to $6 million in a federal grant to build 6.3 miles of trail from Wilder Ranch to Coast Dairies. Earlier this month the Land Trust Board promised to contribute $3 million in matching funds if the feds will approve the grant. The California Coastal Conservancy is planning on putting in $950,000 as well.
The grant is part of the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP). RTC and the Land Trust partnered in 2013 to seek a bigger grant to build more trail. This year we’re asking for less and increasing the Land Trust match from 11% to 40% in the hopes of increasing the chances of getting the grant. There’s a lot of competition for this and other grants – which is why the Land Trust’s matching funds are so important to getting the Rail Trail built. Our Board’s willingness to increase the match demonstrates our willingness to do what it takes to get these grants and get this trail built.
The 6.3 miles of trail includes 4.6 miles of the Coastal Rail Trail and another 1.7 miles of natural surface spur trails. We’ll find out if we get the funds in April. If we do, that will mean that a quarter of the 32-mile rail trail will have already been funded – with funds for segments in Watsonville and Santa Cruz already lined up and work underway.
This grand vision is turning into reality, step by step – and we’re excited to be a part of it!