Recognizing that a multi-modal transportation system is vital to the region’s economic, social and environmental health the project will work to capture public and private momentum to improve the livability of cities and rural areas in the Valley by providing safe mobility options for all residents especially low-income residents. During the past three years the City of Brownsville has invested in pilot bicycle/pedestrian paths in low-income neighborhoods, established the Metro Connect an intercity bus service which improves connectivity and access to the region including the two local universities-one of which is in Brownsville’s downtown, signed an agreement with the drainage district permitting the use of utility easements for bicycle trails, and began free community programs that encourage the use of alternative modes of transportation. The City also created the Hike and Bike Trails Master Plan which provides a blueprint for the development of a city- wide trails network that will be integrated with those of adjacent cities to create regional trails system and provide increased opportunity for utility trips and regional commuting via the use of alternative modes of transportation.
By means of mapping, community engagement and partnerships, the transportation project seeks to raise awareness about Brownsville’s multi-modal transportation system and grow it into rural and colonia areas of the Valley. Because of the lack of knowledge in low income neighborhoods about the system, it is currently underutilized which in turn creates an erroneously perceived lack of need and demand; limiting the amount of funding available via federal and state agencies and the amount that local policymakers are willing to invest towards additional infrastructure and regional growth.