Many sources of federal, state, county, township, and private funding are available for trail construction and maintenance. Although some may say a trail is a waste of money, trails are remarkably inexpensive public facilities for the number of people they serve.
The average multi-use trail costs $50,000 to $200,000 per mile to acquire and build, compared to the $10 million per mile for a suburban street and $100 million per mile for some highways. In addition, the economic benefits often outweigh the costs. For example, an analysis of economic impacts of the North Central Rail-Trail in Maryland showed that in 1993, the revenue on user purchases alone ($303,750) surpassed operating costs ($191, 893).