Lions And TIGER Affairs, Oh My!

The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County pushes the Rail Trail further down the road to completion with a $2.5 million match for a federal grant with an awesome moniker.

by Hilltromper staff

May 14, 2015—You may know the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County as the folks who are bringing the mountain lion crossing to Highway 17. And that they are. But today the Land Trust announced that it has also entered the ring with a TIGER.

Let us explain. You know the Rail Trail—the 32-mile bike trail that will run alongside the railroad from Davenport to Watsonville and change transportation in this county forever? Land Trust is the lead fundraiser, meaning it collects money from local donors and uses it to attract funding from state and federal agencies to build the thing.

Well, this week the Land Trust announces that it's put up $2.5 million to match a $12 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, which, obviously, everyone involved prefers to call a TIGER grant.

If the TIGER application manages to make it through the flaming hoops, the money will go toward constructing 1.7 miles of trail next to the railroad tracks between the south bank of the San Lorenzo River and 17th Avenue (Segment 9, in the soul-stirring terminology of the Rail Trail Master Plan).

If it doesn't, no worries—Land Trust will plow its $2.5M into an effort to build the trail from the Yacht Harbor to 17th Avenue via a $6 million Active Transportation Program grant, the ATP, which has a sad acronym you can't even pronounce. Though we'd still take it.

But let's say the TIGER goes through. Coupled with an all-but-guaranteed federal grant to build 4.6 miles of trail between Wilder Ranch and Coast Dairies—for which Land Trust kicked in $3 million—it would mean almost 10 miles of the 32-mile Rail Trail is funded.

About that all-but-guaranteed federal grant for the North Coast, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission's point person on the Rail Trail says that feds will send planners out later this month to take a gander at the project and discuss details with the locals. Final word should come down in late July, but Cory Caletti says she's feeling "very, very confident" about it. And props for that go to Land Trust, according to her. "It's a very rare situation when you submit a grant application with such a huge match. It really speaks to the faith of our local partners in this project."

Read about the North Coast segment of the Coastal Rail Trail
Read about the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and its Conservation Blueprint

Hilltromper signup ad