Leanne Wood has congratulated the Rhondda Tunnel Society after they won a grant of nearly £100,000.
The society, which is working towards reopening the old railway tunnel connecting the Rhondda Fawr and the Afan valley to use as a cycling and walking route, will use the money to fund a detailed examination.
The money was awarded by the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund. If reopened, the nearly two mile tunnel would be the longest cycling and walking tunnel in Europe and the second longest in the world.
If the examination proves the tunnel is intact and safe, the society will then lobby the Welsh Government to assume responsibility for the tunnel.
Leanne Wood AM, who is also a member of the Rhondda Tunnel Society, said:“This is fantastic news for this landmark project. The results of the survey will determine whether the tunnel is safe and, if the news is positive, allow matters to progress to the next stage which will be the Welsh Government finally taking ownership from Highways England.
“To date, the Welsh Government have been disappointing and lacklustre in their approach to this innovative project. If there is clear proof that this tunnel is safe, then there will be no more excuses that Government Ministers can use to stall the crucial question of ownership any further.
“The tunnel society has put in a huge effort to get things to this stage so they deserve to be fully supported.”