Towpath Trail Funding
The Towpath Trail Extension Project is primarily funded through the Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program. The CMAQ program “was implemented to support surface transportation projects and other related efforts that contribute air quality improvements and provide congestion relief.” The CMAQ funds are used for construction and right of way acquisition.
The CMAQ funds were awarded to the Towpath Trail Extension Project through the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), which provides transportation and environmental planning for greater Cleveland.
The Towpath Trail Extension Project has also received Federal funding from House/Senate Priority 1688/4639 and House Project No. 3058. These funds are used for preliminary and final engineering costs.
Federal funding requires local match. One way the Towpath Trail Extension Project fulfills this requirement is through competitive grant programs such as the Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program and the Clean Ohio Recreational Trails Fund. Grants such as these have very specific areas where the funds can be applied within the project.
Additional sources of grant funding include the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association, the State of Ohio Cultural Arts Facilities and the Cleveland Foundation. The project was also awarded $1 million in funds from a Federal judge in a FENOC settlement.
The Towpath Trail Extension Project also provides local match to Federal funds through a Steelyard Commons “TIF”. The State of Ohio’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program “is an economic development mechanism available to local governments in Ohio to finance public infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation.” Thanks to the generosity of First Interstate, the developer of Steelyard Commons, 70% of non-school TIF funds are held in trust for development of the Towpath Trail.
Cuyahoga County is the Project Manager on the Towpath Trail Extension Project. The Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works is in charge of tracking project funds and contracts.
Canalway Partners is the chief fundraiser for the Towpath Trail. We take the lead in grant writing and community outreach. Canalway Partners does not pay staff wages or overhead through funds awarded to the Towpath Trail Extension Project.
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) funds are Federal funds that were created to support transportation projects and related efforts that contribute air quality improvements and provide congestion relief. The Towpath Trail Extension project has been awarded CMAQ funds through the Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency (NOACA.)
The Clean Air Act requires that, in areas experiencing air quality problems, transportation planning be consistent with air quality goals. The Environmental Protection Agency establishes air quality standards for each state known as National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS.)
To help Ohio become compliant with the NAAQS, the state receives about $60 million annually in CMAQ funding. This funding goes towards programs that reduce ozone, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.
The Towpath Trail Extension Project has received $27,550,000 in CMAQ funding. $8.75M for Stage 1, $10.6M for Stage 3 and $8.2M for Stage 4.
The CMAQ program can pay up to 80% of total eligible project costs. The minimum local share is 20% and must be provided from local, state, or other non-federal sources.
The CMAQ program is jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.
CMAQ Fact sheet- https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/factsheets/cmaq.cfm
Read more about CMAQ funding from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency- http://www.noaca.org/index.aspx?page=4430