Austin, TX – Thanks to the expert guidance of Alta Planning + Design, Great Springs Project is pleased to present the Economic Benefits Report for the proposed 100-mile spring-to-spring network of trails from the Alamo to the Capitol. This report serves as a resource to quantify the financial benefit of both the trail and 50,000 conserved acres of land in the GSP corridor and includes economic, health, environmental, and transportation cost savings as well as climate change data with an estimated annual benefit of $55,290,000.
The analysis estimated the number of bicycle and pedestrian trips that would take place on the trail system, approximated the corresponding reduction in vehicle trips and vehicle-miles travelled (VMT), assessed the potential benefits that would accrue once the entire trail system is constructed, and assessed the ecosystem services benefits associated with land conservation adjacent to the trail corridor.
In total, it was estimated that the proposed trail system and related land conservation efforts could generate $55.9 million in annual benefits, organized around the following categories:
- Economic Benefits, $23.3 million: includes estimated spending from non-local visitors to the trail on goods, services, and lodging
- Transportation Benefits, $11.4 million: includes reductions in vehicle miles traveled and the associated reduction in congestion, collision, roadway maintenance costs, and emissions
- Health Benefits, $1.8 million: includes increased physical activity and decreased healthcare costs
- Land & Water Benefits $19.2 million: includes the ecosystem services benefits related to land and water conservation and carbon sequestration benefits from land conservation
The report also highlights the use of strategic land conservation, a form of natural infrastructure, as a key tool in reducing catastrophic flood damage, saving Texans millions of dollars per year. Texas anticipates $31.5 billion in statewide flood mitigation costs over the next 10 years.
Great Springs Project CEO, Garry Merritt, calls the report “an important tool that illustrates the substantial return on investment for cities, counties, river authorities, and other agencies that are building trails and parks and protecting open space in in the San Antonio-Austin corridor.”