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"It's time for the cyclist danger to stop," say supporters of rail trail deal

The Bonita Estero Rail Trail takes a big step forward in an $82 million deal that was the result of 4 years of negotiations.
Posted at 10:19 PM, Mar 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-11 22:19:26-04

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — While Lee County works to expand its transportation options, residents are also interested in doing what they can to make things for safer for those on foot and on bicycles.

Deb Orton is the the president and co-founder of 'Friends of BERT'which stands for Bonita Estero Rail Trail.

It's an organization in support of turning the abandoned railroad tracks into a pedestrian and cyclist path.

A year ago Fox 4 reported on how some people in the neighboring gated community of Vines Estero were not happy to see the trail become public, but Orton was certain the change was for the better.

"It'll go about a mile into Collier County, so it'll go beyond Bonita Beach Road," Orton said.

It's been a long time in the making. The Trust for Public Land behind the project put together a multi-million dollar deal to buy a part of the railway after 4 years of negotiations.

They have been the lead on negotiating with Seminole Gulf Railway to reach an agreement for $82 million," Orton said.

In the next two years BERT says it will apply for federal funding, state grants, money from FDOT, and then the cities and counties involved will pitch in to raise the money to make the trail a reality.

Eventually FDOT and the Florida SUN Trail Program will be contacted after the two years for construction funding.