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It’s fairly rare that anything positive in terms of bicycle-infrastructure news comes out of Florida, but here’s something pretty big: lawmakers have approved $50 million to create the Coast To Coast Connector:

The Pinellas Trail could become the first leg in a 275-mile bike and walking path stretching from St. Petersburg to Titusville.

State lawmakers recently approved $50 million for the Coast to Coast Connector, which will link more than 200 miles of existing bike paths.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s goal is to bridge seven gaps among more than a dozen regional trails that snake across Central Florida. Collectively, the gaps cover 72 miles.

Once completed, the trail would be longest continuous bike path in Florida and among the biggest in the nation.

Read more about the plan by visiting the Tampa Tribune page.

Coast-to-Coast-Connector-Map

Link to larger version

The plan still has a number of hurdles to overcome…namely, Governor Rick Scott’s potential veto (he’s no fan of sensible transportation/recreation plans). In addition, similar connector trails in Florida have been fraught with hassles from landowners balking at selling portions of their properties to complete trails. Here’s a perfect example of an existing project that has been languishing for years.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the kinks can be ironed out — this will be a great project to commingle Florida’s many disparate regional trail systems.