Appropriator Rep. Fattah Pedals Up on His Bike to Dedicate Schuylkill River Trail for Bicyclists, Hikers

Mar 28, 2013, 13:51 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

PHILADELPHIA, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02), the Congressional appropriator who has announced tens of millions in federal grants for transportation infrastructure and bike paths in Philadelphia, arrived in style on his bicycle today to cut the ribbon and dedicate the Schuylkill River Trail.

Fattah joined Mayor Michael Nutter, other officials, neighbors and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia for ceremonies at Shawmont Avenue and Nixon Street in the Shawmont/Roxborough neighborhood. The new one-mile bicycle and hiking trail segment runs to the Montgomery County Line, the final section of the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia that will eventually extend 130 miles along the river.

Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis, introducing Fattah, said, "This money doesn't just get here from Washington by itself. You need people to fight for you."

Fattah, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, fought for the city's competitive bid to the U.S. Department of Transportation under TIGER 1 (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery). The grant brought $17.2 million for the City of Philadelphia of which $1.4 million went for the Schuylkill River Trail.

"This is not just about a bike path," Fattah said. "It's an entire effort to have the federal government as a partner" in building up Philadelphia's roads, bridges and pathways. "These are tens of millions, hundreds of millions for projects that are really important to our city and for putting people to work."

The Congressman reminded listeners that "when you fill out your tax form I want you to feel good about where your taxes are going. Your fair share is coming back to Philadelphia."

Fattah, in his biking gear, took some gentle ribbing from the suit-and-tie officials who gathered for the ceremony on a cold, blustery morning. Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. thanked the Congressman for "that large check that he brings whenever he comes down on his bike."

Fattah, who often joins his family to enjoy bicycling throughout the city and as far as Valley Forge National Park, has advocated for a dozen bike-related grants over the past decade that have brought more than $9.8 million to Philadelphia. This is one of seven trails that received a TIGER grant in 2010 with the Congressman's support and assistance. Mayor Nutter pointed out all seven projects are open or nearing completion.

"I'm pleased to see that federal resources that I have fought to bring to Philadelphia have been used so successfully to complete this excellent recreational trail," Fattah said. "Philadelphia is already a notably bike-friendly community. Completion of the Schuylkill River Trail makes us even better."

In the last four years, the Congressman has announced $60.8 million in TIGER program awards from the U.S. Department of Transportation for highway and rail infrastructure, bike projects, the $15 million Dilworth Plaza renovation and $12.8 million for replacement of the Wayne Junction Substation. Philadelphia is the only city that won grants for every round of TIGER funding.

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah