Press-Republican

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November 23, 2013

DOT decision on railroad corridor likely in December

LAKE PLACID — The State Department of Transportation will likely have a decision on Remsen-Lake Placid Railroad Corridor management next month.

Four listening sessions in October drew a large response, according to DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald, who attended Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gathering here this week.

RODE THE ROUTE

McDonald said that both she and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens traveled the length of the railroad tracks on Nov. 6.

“We went on the whole route,” she said, adding that they took a train from the start in Thendara and finished in a high-rail car in the northern section through Tupper Lake.

“We had to see it first-hand,” McDonald said. “We had to do it together. We plan to sit down in December and decide.”

The decision pending is whether DOT should open up for review the formal Unit Management Plan that governs use along the travel corridor.

The entire 119-mile railroad bed and track is owned by the state under the purview of DOT. Its specific land-use classification is Travel Corridor. And as such, access follows a specific land-use plan.

The Unit Management Plan was completed in 1996 and has not been reviewed since.

GOVERNOR DEMURS

Cuomo was also asked about the travel corridor and its use after his announcement on Wednesday. He told reporters that he had not taken a stance in the ongoing debate but looked to the regional conversation for answers.

“If it’s appropriate,” he said, “we will take a look at it.”

A key aspect of the existing use is that the entire corridor is designated for the same use — as a continuous railroad line — and not broken into pieces through the 10 towns that the tracks traverse.

The entire railroad line was also listed on both the national and state Historic Registers before the Management Plan went into effect.

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