Surrounded by trail supporters and officials from the East Bay Regional Park District, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton), made the announcement Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Transportation had chosen the Iron Horse project over more than a thousand other applications.
The money will come from the TIGER II (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program, part of President Barrack Obama's stimulus package.
"The idea is to expand the Iron Horse Trail from Walnut Creek to Livermore," McNerney said. "This will create 500 jobs in this district."
While the $10.2 million grant may be an economic boon to the area, it's also good news for walkers, bicyclists and commuters, and McNerney, a Pleasanton resident, said he'll be taking advantage of the expansion, too.
"I'm a jogger and a bike rider and I enjoy these kinds of trails," McNerney said, adding, "It's good for the entire East Bay.
The grant will pay to close the 1.6 mile gap in the trail from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station through the Hacienda Business Park and complete the Iron Horse Trail between Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore.
The rest of the grant will fund other projects in Alameda and Contra Costa counties that are part of the Park District's Green Transportation Initiative.
Park District General Manager Patrick O'Brien said the complete project, with its links, will be the largest trail system in the U.S.
"We have about 170 miles of trails in the East Bay now," O'Brien said. "What this project does is connect them all."
The completed Iron Horse Regional Trail will run from Livermore in Alameda County to Suisun Bay in Contra Costa County. It will run more than 55 miles, connect two counties and nine communities, and will link to other trails that run to Martinez, Hercules and Oakland, among others.