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Kendall considers starting bike trail fund

Updated: June 17, 2012 8:09AM

YORKVILLE — The Kendall County Highway Department wants to put aside money each year for bike trail construction along county and state roads. Fran Klaas, highway department director, and members of the County Board’s Highway Committee have proposed setting aside $50,000 each year to put toward the bike and hiking paths.

The money would be a little more than 1 percent of the about $4.8 million the county gets each year from the transportation sales tax.

“This is really breaking new ground,” said Klaas, discussing the proposal last week with the County Board’s Committee of the Whole. “Few counties even have a transportation sales tax. But this is money you have complete flexibility with.”

Klaas said the move is a reflection the benefits of people walking and biking more, for reasons of personal health and cutting down on use of their cars. Highway Committee Chairman Robert Davidson said it also reflects the state’s new guidelines that include bike trail construction along all highway projects.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity in that way,” Davidson said.

Board members seemed to be supportive of the proposal. Board member Anne Vickery suggested the county go with $50,000, or 1 percent of the sales tax revenue each year, whichever is greater. That way, the amount for trails could grow as sales tax grows.

The idea likely will come back to the full board in June or July as a resolution. Klaas said he would hope it is in place soon enough for the highway department to get it in the budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which starts in December.

He expects that municipalities with state or county highway projects within their boundaries could apply for some of the money. For instance, Yorkville has a number of current and upcoming widening or resurfacing projects on state highways. The city could apply for some of the money to put toward a local match for the projects.

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