Funding for rail trail expansion awaits vote
Ulster County lawmakers expect to vote tonight on spending $41,050 to cover engineering costs for the expansion of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail from New Paltz Road in Highland to South Road in New Paltz.
The county’s deputy planning director, Chris White, said the funding is expected to come from the state.
“Knowing that we’re running over project [budget] by $41,000, I went to Assemblyman [Frank] Skartados and I got a $50,000 member item, which we’re working to codify,” White said.
“I don’t have the grant agreement, but we’ll be bringing that to you as soon as we have it,” he told county legislators lawmakers at a recent committee meeting.
The county is seeking to complete stretch of the trail that would be 5.5 miles long when connected to the section that begins at Commercial Avenue in the Highland business district.
“There are four property owners from whom we’re trying to acquire property,” White said. “Those letters with the offers will be going out . ... We got approval from the New York state DOT (Department of Transportation) to go forward with those. The appraised values are what we offer, but they may not be the final cost. We have some possibility of adjusting those numbers if we need.”
The initial effort to establish the Hudson Valley Rail Trail was budgeted at $175,000 and included $140,000 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding. County lawmakers earlier increased the budget by $216,040 to cover acquisition of rights-of-way.
“I’d expect ... we’ll come back to you in the first quarter of 2017 to acquire those right-of-ways,” White told lawmakers.