A map of the Long Island Greenway with proposed trails...

A map of the Long Island Greenway with proposed trails highlighted that would connect Manhattan to the East End — a 175-mile route linking parks, trails and public lands. Credit: Trust for Public Land

A coalition of local municipal and nonprofit leaders is asking the federal government to help fund the design of a Riverhead-to-Montauk Point segment of the Long Island Greenway, a trail envisioned to connect Manhattan to the East End.

The project would mean Long Islanders and anyone else would be able to bike, jog or just walk along 175 miles of trails through parks, roads and utility rights of way.

The money sought — a large portion of the $5 million price tag to pay for design, cost estimate and bid documents — is for the 50-mile Riverhead-to-Montauk Point segment, just one part of a much bigger project to provide additional recreational spaces for Long Island and beyond. Successive phases of the project, including construction, would require more money.

The Long Island Regional Planning Council, which gave its unanimous approval Wednesday morning to the project, sent a letter that same afternoon seeking federal money from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Council spokesman Mark Smith said the vote is nonbinding.

The grant is being sought under the Biden administration's infrastructure law and its Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE, program. An unsigned email from the DOT press office said the agency doesn't comment before announcements are made.

Carter Strickland, New York State director of the Trust for Public Land, on Wednesday gave a presentation to the council about the project’s possibilities.

“This is one of those things that just makes sense, particularly in built-up areas where this is the only partially developed linear corridors that are available,” he said.

He also envisions a future where commuters could travel not just by automobile but perhaps by e-bike to the railroad.

“It really does make cycling in particular accessible to a lot more people,” he said, noting that there could be parking for bicycles.

Final design for the project is hoped to be wrapped up next year, and be “construction-ready” in 2025, he said.

An earlier phase of the project runs from the East Meadow area to Brentwood. A news release from the council said that work on that stretch — about 25 miles — will begin at some point next year.

The Empire State Trail is a 750-mile trail linking Buffalo to New York City, but "Long Island is not yet included," according to the presentation.

Backers of the Greenway project hope to change that.

NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano and Newsday food writer Marie Elena Martinez take a look at the hottest places to dine on Long Island this summer.  Credit: Randee Daddona; Newsday / A.J. Singh

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