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Rail Trail waits on funding

"If the Department of Energy grant is not awarded, we would like to ask the county to strongly consider moving forward with a reduced scope project to build a section of the rail trail so the community can realize the value of the rail trail immediately," said Dan Rain, co-chair of Friends of the Rail Trail, a part of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy.

"If that is not awarded to the project, it may be a long time before the $4.8 million they're stating is necessary to complete the project all at once comes through," he continued.

"If that funding doesn't come through, then there aren't really any other significant grants options right now," he continued.

Rain said FORT has researched three ways the secured funding could be used to partially build the trail.

Information on the county's Web site tentatively indicates that the "'best guess' that the planning and design phase will be completed by the end of 2009 and that construction will extend into the fall of 2010."

If funding is secured through the Department of Energy grant, it's possible that some work may be done this year, said Franchini, but officials did not offer specifics on a timeline even if the DOE grant comes through.

"Without funding in place, it's impossible to set a date for the rail trail's completion," said Duryea.

Construction would likely take one construction season, or about nine months.

The county completed purchase of the rail trail corridor form Canadian Pacific Railway in January, using a joint grant from the state Office of Parks and Recreation and the Scenic Hudson nonprofit. The trail is set to travel through the City of Albany, towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland and the Village of Voorheesville.""

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