This Week in the 904: Jacksonville City Council President discusses funding for the Emerald Trail

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With a $147 million federal grant for the Emerald Trail, could Jacksonville use some of the $132 million from the gas tax earmarked for the Emerald Trail on another project?


Action News Jax John Bachman asked Council President Ron Salem about that for Sunday’s episode of This Week in the 904.

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The 30-mile Emerald Trail is already prompting private development in neighborhoods that have been neglected for decades.

Bachman asked Salem, “How big is this? Could this in fact be as big or bigger than even the stadium development deal? As far as importance to the city and things.”

Salem said, “I think it’ll be a critical component for the city 30 miles through 14 neighborhoods. I think it’ll bring economic development to areas that don’t have it right now. But it will take time. And we need to get the project completed. So people can see that there are people buying property along the Emerald Trail right now.”

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Salem said the $147 million federal grant will help the city finish the Emerald Trail by 2030. He said the council helped get that grant by showing the feds that the city was committed to the project.

“I’m very proud of the city council that when the gas tax was debated a few years ago, we allotted $132 million towards the Emerald trail through through our actions. And that 132 million was very useful as the JTA the mayor and other people went up to Washington to get more money if they could show them the investment locally that we had already made. And that enabled them to get that 147,” Salem said.

Bachman asked, “One question came up, and that is well, okay, so we have 132 million set aside from the gas tax for the for the Emerald trail, that that can’t be reallocated? Because that is specifically allocated for the Emerald trail.

Salem said, “I would not be in favor of moving that anywhere. I want to see the Emerald trail completed by 2030, as projected now. I think it’ll be a wonderful project for downtown for the whole area. And I want to see it completed as soon as possible.”

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