TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announced individual projects that will help complete the long-awaited Coast to Coast Connector, Florida’s cross-state hiking and biking trail.
In the greater Tampa Bay area, they include:
$1 million to link the Suncoast Trail to the Good Neighbor Trail in Hernando County.
$460,000 to build another link from the county line to just north of State Road 54 in Pasco County.
$3.9 million for the East Lake Road/Keystone Road intersection to the Pinellas/Pasco county line.
“Our tourists increasingly desire new ways to explore this beautiful state and the Coast to Coast Connector will do just that as the only trail in America connecting the Gulf to the Atlantic,” Scott said in a news release.
The Coast to Coast Connector is a patchwork of trails that aren’t stitched together yet. When complete, it will stretch 275 miles, from St. Petersburg to Merritt Island.
The network includes the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a popular segment running along an old rail line from downtown St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs.
Trail advocates say the completed connector will prove a boon to the state economy, creating jobs and boosting tourism and outdoor activities, and bringing dollars to local communities.
“The Department of Transportation will invest $15.9 million to complete 11 phases of separate trail segments in nine counties,” the news release said. “This new funding is in addition to the more than $26 million that has already been invested by FDOT.”