For Immediate Release: June 27, 2023
Media Contact: Victoria Bonney, 202-577-8541
WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today welcomed $4 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to expand the Eastern Trail in Southern Maine. The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant, funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, builds on the Congressionally directed funding Pingree secured for the Eastern Trail’s “Blaze the Trail South” project in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bill.
“The Eastern Trail supports local economies and fosters a safe, sustainable route through some of southern Maine’s most populated areas,” said Pingree. “I was proud to secure the funding Maine DOT needed to get this project started with sound engineering, planning, and design. With this additional federal grant, we’ll be hitting the trail in no time!”
The RAISE grant will go towards the construction of approximately 2.7 miles of off-road trail that continues the expansion of the Eastern Trail from Kennebunk to North Berwick, supporting the development of an active transportation corridor and recreational trail that offers significant social, economic, and environmental benefits.
The Eastern Trail is the Southern Maine portion of the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway that traverses the East Coast between Calais, Maine and Key West, Fla. Based on a 2021 economic impact analysis, there are 250,000 people using the trail annually, and each user spends an average of $118 per day. The trail also supports 364 jobs across the state, $12.5 million in earnings and $32.1 million in sales, with most sales coming from overnight lodging, food and drink, and retail items.
When complete, Blaze the Trail South will add 25 miles of off-road trail connecting 7 communities from Kennebunk to Kittery in one of the most densely populated regions in the state (York County). This will provide a safe and convenient facility for bicycle commuters, recreational riders, walkers, runners, and wheelchair users for transportation, health, and outdoor enjoyment.
Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.