The Akron Metropolitan Transportation Study (AMATS) is the regional transportation planning agency serving the Greater Akron area. They are responsible for awarding federal funds to invest in the region's transportation infrastructure. All funding is provided by the federal gas tax which is paid when consumers purchase gasoline.
On Thursday January 27th, AMATS formally announced that $40 million in federal funds were being awarded to 37 new projects. $4.2 million of those funds were designated for six trail and sidewalk projects. These funds are called Transportation Set Aside (TASA) funds. And among the six projects receiving TASA funds was a $700,000 grant for a 3.3 mile section of the Veterans Trail in Stow and Hudson!
This new section will go from where Metro RTA's abandoned rail right-of-way crosses Barlow Road in Hudson down to where it crosses Springdale Road in Stow. At that point, it will connect to another section that was funded by AMATS in 2019. That section is 1.5 miles long and extends south to the point in Silver Lake where the pedestrian bridge crosses over Route 8. Together, this adds up to 4.8 miles (out of the 12.5 miles that are envisioned) that are funded and being planned.
Stow and Hudson are ready to start design work on both of these projects soon. But, before they do, two things must happen. First, Metro RTA has to negotiate and approve leases for the multipurpose trail. Then, an application must be made to the Federal Transportation Administration to repurpose the right-of-way from rail to trail. TASCforce expects these activities to be worked on over the next several months and we'll be assisting in any way that we can.
Beyond that, TASCforce will be encouraging Silver Lake and Cuyahoga Falls to seek funding for the next 2.2 mile section that will go from the pedestrian bridge over Route 8 to Broad Blvd in Cuyahoga Falls. We are hearing that more trail funds may be available from the new infrastructure bill that was recently passed by congress. If you live in Silver Lake or Cuyahoga Falls let your city officials know that you think it would be a good idea to have a "shovel ready" project on the shelf for when these funds become available. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like some help with who to contact.
"Achieving some success increases the desire for more success. Let's all work together to make this project happen."
- A TASCforce philosophy