News

CALL FOR ACTION

08/01/2020

Dear Board Members and Vine Trail Supporters:

What we are asking for?
We need you to write a letter before August 11 to urge the Napa County Board of Supervisors at their meeting that day to authorize County staff to apply for $10 Million in competitive funding under the Active Transportation Program, Cycle 5 to construct the Vine Trail between Yountville and St Helena.

We ask that you send your emails to:
Supervisor Diane Dillon, Chair of the Board diane.dillon@countyofnapa.org
Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza: alfredo.pedroza@countyofnapa.org
Supervisor Ryan Gregory: ryan.gregory@countyofnapa.org
Supervisor Belia Ramos: belia.ramos@countyofnapa.org
Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht: brad.wagenknecht@countyofnapa.org

What is the project?
Over the past three years, the Vine Trail Coalition has been developing and refining a plan for the missing 8-mile gap between the end of the Vine Trail in Yountville (Madison Street) to St Helena. The Vine Trail Coalition has invested over $150,000 in preparing topographic maps, right of way research, and a detailed Feasibility Study. We have worked with the owners of the Wine Train, who are willing to donate a trail easement on their right of way between Yountville and Whitehall Lane. We have laid the groundwork so that the County can apply for State and Federal Active Transportation Program funds this year. If the grant is awarded the project would be constructed in 2025.

Why the urgency?
This round of Active Transportation Program (ATP) competitive grant funding will be programming five years’ worth of funding. If we do not secure funds under this cycle of funding, we will have to wait until 2025 before we can apply again. Vine Trail staff and consultants have been successful in assisting both Napa County and Solano County in securing $13 million in funds under previous cycles of the ATP program.

Why do we need your support?
We are proposing that the County apply for $10 million for this $16.2 million project for construction in 2025/26. Based on considered analysis of past grant awards we believe this is the maximum we could expect. The Vine Trail Coalition has offered to raise $2 million; the County will have, by 2025, an unobligated $1.2 million to meet its Measure T requirements for Bike Paths. The remaining $3 million would likely have to come from other transportation funding but we have five years to come up with a solution, assuming we get the grant.
County staff are seeking direction from the Board of Supervisors at their meeting on August 11 to apply for the ATP funds. However, the County Executive officer is recommending against applying because of the unidentified source of the $3 million.
The County, like every jurisdiction, has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the related short-term emergency measures. The uncertainty of the future has colored the discussion about the County’s ability to find matching funds. The downside of being paralyzed by the present crisis means if we do not apply for these funds, the funds would go to another jurisdiction that is willing to bet on a brighter future.

What is at stake?
Although we acknowledge the trying times that we now live in, we cannot lose the long-term perspective on what a tremendous asset the Vine Trail has become to our communities. We are grateful to all our public agency partners for their past support. In the eleven years since the Vine Trail Coalition was founded, together the Coalition, Napa and Solano counties and all city jurisdictions have:

  • Secured $22 Million in thirteen Federal and State grants.
  • Raised and committed over $7 Million in Vine Trail donations from over 200 donors.
  • Used these grants and donations to leverage $5.5 Million in County and city local funds, 60% of which have met the County’s Measure T equivalency funds requirements.
  • Used those funds to complete and open over 18 miles of the Vine Trail.
  • Planned and designed another 11 miles of the Vine Trail in Vallejo and between St. Helena and Calistoga that will be completed in by the end of 2022.
  • Seen the use of the completed sections of the Vine Trail grow from 359,000 uses in 2019, before COVID-19, to a projection of over 544,000 uses for 2020. We have seen an average increase in use in the last 3 months of 84%, 70% of those uses are by our local residents.
  • Worked with developers of the Calistoga Motor Lodge, Indian Spring Resort in Calistoga, Watson Ranch project in American Canyon and the Napa Pipe project to get over two miles of the Vine Trail to be constructed as part of those developments.
  • Worked with Napa County staff to complete a three-quarter mile section between Tower Road and Airport Boulevard.
  • Secured the designation of the Vine Trail’s “Yountville to St Helena” project by the National Rails to Trails “Trail Nation” initiative as one of only thirteen priority projects in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If we apply win this grant and construction the YV to SH section of the Vine Trail, we will be over 90% of the way to completing the whole Vine Trail. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

We hope that you agree with us that the completion of the 47-mile Vine Trail connecting two counties five cities, a town and the San Francisco Bay Trail and Bay Area Ridge Trail is an alternative transportation priority.

Please do not delay, contact the Board of Supervisors and show your support before they meet on August 11, 2020. Let us get this project completed!

Philip Sales 

Executive Director, Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition
psales@vinetrail.org