January 21, 2010

Reed, Whitehouse, and Kennedy Announce $575K for Blackstone River Bikeway

Washington, DC – Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy announced today that Rhode Island is receiving $575,000 in federal funding for the Blackstone River Bikeway. The funds will go to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to support work on the Blackstone River Bikeway which passes through Lincoln, North Smithfield and Woonsocket. The work will occur on the section of the bikeway from Manville Hill Road in Lincoln to the Woonsocket Water Treatment Plant. Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Kennedy secured the federal appropriation.

“The Blackstone River was a major transportation artery long before Route 95. This bike path will help preserve the historic and scenic beauty of the area, while bringing more families to enjoy the valley’s attributes, thereby boosting the local economy. It will also help ease traffic congestion and serve as a vital link between communities,” said Reed.

“This exciting Blackstone Valley project will help drive private investment and stimulate the local economy, all while further opening this scenic and historic corridor to bicycles for recreation and commuting,” said Whitehouse.

“The Blackstone River Bikeway will continue to be an engine for the region’s economic development in part because of federal funding such as this. By creating jobs and offering Rhode Islanders a healthier, greener means of transportation, the bikeway is an investment that delivers,” said Kennedy.

Passing through the historic John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, the Blackstone River Bikeway is a critical component of a project to connect historic sites, municipal centers, state and local parks, recreational facilities and scenic areas in the Blackstone River Valley.

Ultimately, the Bikeway will connect Providence, RI and Worcester, MA. Extending the 48 miles between New England’s second and third largest cities, the bike path project will produce a mostly off-road alternative transportation system for commuters, provide recreational/fitness opportunities for local residents, and constitute an essential element of the tourism industry in Rhode Island.

There are currently 10 miles of the bike path open to the public in Cumberland, Lincoln, and Central Falls. Additionally 2.5 miles of bikeway have been completed in Worcester and Millbury, MA.

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