Voorheesville waits for railroad safety study funding

Village officials say little progress made with county on accessing grant

— Around three months ago, Albany County legislators unanimously awarded Voorheesville $27,500 to complete an engineering study outlining the installation of a quad gate at its railroad crossing. Village officials, though, are still waiting to get their hands on the money.

“I think it’s fair to say we’ve made several attempts to contact the county about the process of accessing the funds,” Voorheesville Mayor Robert Conway said during the Board of Trustees’ meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25.

The village was initially told to contact the county attorney’s staff but was then referred to the county executive’s office, who then referred them back to the county attorney, according Conway. Village Attorney Richard Reilly said he has been waiting for the county to provide further information. He had called Monday, Feb. 24, but had yet to hear back from them.

“The question is, how do we access the funds?” Reilly said.

Conway said resolving the issue is “clearly not as much a priority” for the county as it is for the village. He said village officials were also reaching out to their local county legislators.

Legislator L. Michael Mackey, who helped craft the resolution providing funds to Voorheesville, said he was unaware the village has had trouble securing the funding when contacted Friday, Feb. 28. Mackey then reached out to the county attorney to see what was causing the holdup.

Mackey’s district includes portions of the towns of New Scotland and Bethlehem. Legislator Herbert Reilly’s district includes the entire Village of Voorheesville.

After talking to the county attorney, Mackey said county officials were looking to finalize an agreement with the village to distribute the funds. He said county officials would call the village on Monday, March 3, when The Spotlight went to press.

The gate system would help the village make steps toward creating a Quiet Zone. If the village is able to install a four-quadrant gate system and other necessary infrastructure then trains would not be required to come horns blaring through the community. There are two county roads in the village requiring railroad crossing to be upgraded for a Quiet Zone to be approved.

Initiating a Quiet Zone in the village once seemed impossible because the village had commissioned an engineering study showing a price tag around $1 million. The Committee for a Quiet Zone in Voorheesville, a community group, received estimates last year from CSX putting the cost at around $200,000, which spurred village trustees to reexamine the proposal.

One county official still quoted the $1 million price when contacted about progress on the project.

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