EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Texas Transportation Commission (TCC) approved $16,174,505 in Transportation Alternatives Program funding for the City of Socorro to develop a 7-mile segment of the Paso del Norte Trail along the historic Mission Trail in Socorro, Texas, according to a press release sent by the City of Socorro.

The City of Socorro will use this financial assistance for planning, engineering, design and construction of the “Paso del Norte Trail – Socorro Active Transportation Network” project, a “much-awaited project for the Socorro community.”

The program provides funding for the planning and construction of a variety of alternative transportation projects to improve the safety and mobility of nonmotorized travelers like bicyclists and pedestrians and mitigate congestion by providing safe alternatives to motor vehicle transport.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) received over 300 project funding requests from communities across Texas. On Oct. 26, the Texas Transportation Commission voted to approve funding for just 83 projects. The City of Socorro received the 4th largest award in the State for this project, according to the city.

The city says this project addresses significant barriers faced by community members, pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair-users and tourists visiting historic sites, art galleries, restaurants and breweries along the historic Mission Trail on Socorro Road (FM258).

Existing barriers include the lack of sidewalks, shared-use paths, or other pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure that separates users from motorized vehicle traffic along this 2-lane major roadway.

This project will involve the construction of approximately 7 miles of trails and shared-use paths connecting bicyclists and pedestrians to historic sites, heritage tourism clusters, local food producers, regional parks and natural areas along the historic Mission Trail in Socorro, according to the city.

Additionally, this project will result in the increased safety of the public when visiting these sites.

This project was also developed, in part, due to the community’s requests to improve hazardous conditions along Socorro Road and provide safe connections to the historic Socorro Mission, Casa Ortiz and Casa Apodaca, Cougar Park, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and other local businesses, public schools and areas of interest.

“People who walk and bike make up about one out of every five deaths on roadways here in Texas,” Texas Transportation Commissioner Alvin New said. “These projects will help the state move closer toward the goal of zero deaths by giving people a place to walk and bike separate from traffic. The City of Socorro is eager to commence work on this crucial alternative transportation project.”