The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Board voted Thursday to award $4.5 million in grants to help design or construct 14 trails throughout the region.
The move represents the first part of a $10 million three-phase effort by the William Penn Foundation to improve the regional trail network. DVRPC is managing the program, which requires local funding matches.
Four other so-called “early action” projects projects were approved by the board in July, bringing the total spent to $5.2 million, including a cost increase on one early action project also approved Thursday.
All told, DVRPC received 37 applications totaling $18 million, a testament to the demand for increased trail access in the region, according to DVRPC officials.
The 14 projects approved Thursday span both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and include $260,000 for preliminary design of a trail that would cross the Schuylkill River at Grays Ferry Avenue, utilizing a currently unused bridge to connect the popular Schuylkill River trail with a smaller Grays Ferry Crescent trail.
It also provides $500,000 in design and construction money for a trail along Penn Street that would provide better access to the Delaware River.
The board also approved an intermodal study of the Norristown Transportation Center to improve access to the station. The project is being funded with $104,000 from the Federal Transit Administration.
And the board approved spending another $104,000 in FTA money to improve the DVRPC's travel forecasting model to take into account how transit fare changes, bridge tolls, gas prices and economic conditions could affect regional travel patterns.
The board also approved a $5 million cost increase for the first of six projects that will eventually reconstruct the Girard Avenue interchange along Interstate 95.
The project would cover the portion of the highway from Columbia Street to Ann Street and involve the relocation of Richmond Street, as well as the relocation of various underground utilities.
The increase is happening because bids for the work came in higher than expected. The project is projected to cost about $100 million.