Waterloo trail connector stalled - Republic-Times | News

Waterloo trail connector stalled

By on August 9, 2018 at 9:34 pm

A joint trail connector project between Waterloo and Monroe County has stalled due to lack of funding.

The county and city sought to fund the North Waterloo Trail Connector through Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grants, but this year’s grant application was recently rejected.

“ITEP is very competitive,” Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger said. “The way I look at it is you have every mayor in the state trying to improve their city.”

The proposed project would create a loop of sidewalks and bike trails from Rogers Street and Country Club Lane across Route 3 to North Market Street.

Without the grant money, the project has been delayed and its future is uncertain.

“It’s up in the air at this point,” Metzger said of the timeline and plans for the project.

The ITEP grant program is administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

According to the rejection, downsides of the application included that engineering was not complete and right-of-way is needed, meaning the project is not as shovel ready as others that competed in the same category.

Positive aspects of the application were that federal money was only requested for the construction phase and it has an early anticipated construction date.

“This project had a good score, but other projects scored a little better,” ITEP coordinator Christy Davis wrote to Metzger in an email.

A total of 218 applications were filed for 2018, with only 53 being approved. Making matters more competitive, 135 applications came in the same category the North Waterloo Trail Connector falls under.

The process for applying for ITEP grants is a lengthy one.

Eligible applicants or project sponsors must be local entities with taxing authority that can guarantee matching funds to carry out the proposed project. This includes local governments, school districts or tribal governments…>>>

Read the rest of this article in the August 8, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.

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James Moss