Rail trail grant won't be seen

County project will take more time

Albany County has not been awarded a key Department of Energy grant that would have covered the remaining cost of constructing the county's rail trail.

That $5 million block grant will not be coming through, county officials confirmed today. The rail trail project has secured $2.4 million in federal funding so far, but the trail will cost about $7.8 million.

The county will now been looking to a federal Department of Transportation "Tiger II" grant in the amount of $5.5 to $6 million Like the block grant, it's comprised of stimulus money, said county spokeswoman Mary Dureya, who emphasized the county remains committed to completing the trail.

"We see it as a great asset to the community. It's an exciting project and we know there a lot of excitement in the community for it," she said.

The deadline for grant applications is August 23, but there's no word on when award decisions will be made.

The news pushes back the eventual completion of the rail trail, a project already two decades in the making. The county purchased the trail corridor from the Canadian Pacific Railway in January using grant funds. Once completed, the 9-mile path will travel through the City of Albany, town of Bethlehem and New Scotland and the Village of Voorheesville.

Duryea said the county is still looking to build the trail in one fell swoop rather than in sections, largely because of cost.

"One, we don't have the funds to even begin construction, and two, when we do construct the trail we want it to be as cost efficient as possible and building the trail all at once is the most cost efficient way," she said.

About $3 million of the project's total cost will be used to repair eight bridges, some of which lack even a proper deck. A bridge over New Scotland Road will be replaced with a pedestrian walkway to the tune of $1 million.

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