Molgaard said state and federal highways officials approve the new use of the Byrd funds, and have been working with the city on the project.
"After meeting with state highways people, everyone thought it was appropriate to have a public meeting to gauge public reaction." The public meeting was held Sept. 18 at the Culture Center, folded into a broader meeting with consultants for the Imagine Charleston process, he said.
"As far as I know, public opinion was favorable. The public comment period is still open. We'll take comment for 30 days," Molgaard said.
"The next step is to advertise for scope of services for design. That will take at least two weeks. We're looking at two or three council meetings down the road before we would award a contract for design services."
The idea is to carve out two 5-foot-wide bike lanes along the riverside of the Boulevard, from Magic Island to Patrick Street, by eliminating the center median, trimming lane widths and eliminating some parking spaces. No vehicle lanes would be eliminated.
By shifting bike traffic onto the street, the existing walkway would be reserved for pedestrians and runners.
Molgaard said he hoped the work could be done with the $2.2 million that council members designated Monday. Another federal grant for the trestle, about $760,000 obtained by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., will be held in reserve, he said.
"This is still very much of the trestle project," he said. "It's just not about the structure itself."
He said he'd spoken to Dennis Strawn, a chief supporter of the plan to transform the trestle into a biking and walking bridge. An engineering study last year found it would cost $16 million or more to fully fix all problems with the trestle, effectively killing the project. "I think he understands the situation. We were in position to lose the funds."
The city might still try to acquire the trestle from CSX, he said. "It's still part of the overall vision. But unless the resources appear, that's going to be on the far back burner.
"With no money, there's no point [in acquiring it]. It becomes a liability, another unfunded liability."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.