Gov. Rick Scott takes part in a ceremony in Titusville to mark the funding of a bike trail with other regional political leaders. / Scott Gunnerson/FLORIDA TODAY
TITUSVILLE (FloridaToday.com) - Gov. Rick Scott joined local leaders on an abandoned railroad bed Tuesday to mark an effort to fill one gap in a cross-state bike trail.
The half-mile, $3.6 million project that includes a pedestrian bridge spanning Garden Street, will fill one of several gaps in a 275-mile system of trails from Brevard County to St. Petersburg.
The governor hopes the outdoor experience of biking and hiking on the Coast-to-Coast Connector will attract more tourists and create jobs.
"We are a state people want to come to, they want to come here to get outdoors," Scott said. "As we add more bike trails, more connectors, it means we are going to have more tourists."
Scott stopped a $50 million appropriations bill last summer that included moneyto complete the last 72 miles of the trail. He insisted the money could be found elsewhere in the budget.
The Florida Department of Transportation moved up funding for the Titusville project, as well as another portion of the East Central Florida Regional Rail Trail in north Brevard.
Titusville Mayor Jim Tulley expects the trail, which is also part of a system that stretches from Miami to Maine, will become a major tourist attraction for a city transitioning to ecotourism.
"These trails are not just nice to have as amenities, they are truly providing economic advantage for our state," Tulley said.
"I expect we will be able to attract tourism visitors from across the country and literally around the world."