Task force would develop plan to connect bike trails

By Zoie Richey

INDIANAPOLIS — A new bicycle task force could improve the quality of life for residents of Indiana while also bringing tourists and new businesses into the city, according to lawmakers.

House Bill 1174 would create a task force to figure out how to connect existing bike trails.

House Bill 1174 would create a task force that would find ways to fund new bike trails to connect to existing ones. Photo by Zoie Richey, TheStatehouseFile.com

“Everybody can get out, not just bicycling. You can walk and run on the trails as well. Indiana has a great opportunity to do this,” Vince Griffin, the retired vice president of energy and environmental policy at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said.

The bill would also require the task force to estimate the cost of connecting the bike trails and find ways to fund the construction. The task force also would create a timeline that shows the stages of completion.

Griffin, who has been passionate about bicycling for 30 years, was on a similar task force that was created by former Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2006, called the Indiana State Trails, Greenways and Bikeways Plan. The objective of the task force was to connect routes and ensure that every Indiana resident was within 15 minutes of a trail.

Tim Maloney, senior policy director at the Hoosier Environmental Council, said the task force would reap many benefits for Indiana.

“Trails are very valuable for wellness purposes, for quality of life and economic development, and go hand in hand very well with conservation projects,” said Maloney.

Members of the task force would be volunteers and appointed by the Gov. Eric Holcomb. The plan would be finished by 2019.

The bill, authored by Rep. Wes Culver, R-Goshen, passed committee unanimously Wednesday and now moves to the full House for consideration.

Zoie Richey is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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