Winneshiek County has been awarded a $1.651,475 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for its $2.2 million Northeast Iowa's Livable Rural Community project.

The grant will pay to extend a trail from the village of Freeport to the Trout Run Trail near Walmart, and north of Freeport to the Haugen Hummel subdivision for a total of 2.52 miles of asphalt trail. The grant also will pay for the reconstruction of 2.5 miles of River Road from Moellers Drive to Drake Hill Road.

"This regional project replaces an aged, limited-use road with a multi-modal system of roads, bridges and trails. It will provide alternative transportation options for small town and rural community members, students and commuters. This project demonstrates strong collaboration among a broad range of participants from the public and private sectors," a news release issued Thursday from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.


The news release said the project:

• Creates a structurally sound roadway that will reduce traffic congestion and extend the life of local transit buses

• Provides access for pedestrians and bicyclists along routes where no lanes for walking or biking currently exist

• Creates construction-related jobs and provides access to long-term employment opportunities.

"This project will repair a main road in a rural area while creating a modern, multi-modal roadway that supports healthy living, downtown vibrancy, economic development and connectivity. The project provides a ladder of opportunity by directly serving low-income community members, including low-income populations that live in multi-unit apartments, mobile home parks, single-family homes, and senior housing. By providing more transportation choices, this project more fully connects people to work, school and commercial areas," the news release stated.

Only Iowa project

The Winneshiek County project was the only project in Iowa awarded TIGER funding. The local $550,000 match for the project will come from in-kind donations from Winneshiek County and $190,000 in donations raised by Trails From Freeport (TFF), which has been working for three years to extend the Trout Run Trail, which encircles the city of Decorah, to Freeport.

Currently Freeport residents have to ride their bikes or walk on the shoulder along River Road, the county's busiest road outside the city of Decorah, to access the Trout Run Trail.

52 projects

Foxx said 52 transportation projects in 37 states will receive a total of approximately $474 million in Tiger funding.

Among these, 25 projects funded at $123.4 million will be designated for projects in rural areas of the country.

"These transformational TIGER projects are the best argument for investment in our transportation infrastructure," Foxx said. "Together, they support President Obama's call to ensure a stronger transportation system for future generations by repairing existing infrastructure, connecting people to new jobs and opportunities, and contributing to our nation's economic growth."