Thursday, December 10, 2009

Railroad seeks money to build line in Finger Lakes, N.Y., area

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The Finger Lakes Railway may be able to help settle the issue of trucks hauling trash from the New York metropolitan area through the Finger Lakes to the private Seneca Meadows landfill in the town of Seneca Falls, N.Y., The Syracuse Post-Standard reports. Railway President Mike Smith said his Geneva-based company has already been talking with the landfill and Seneca County officials about building a rail line to the landfill to deliver trash to Seneca Meadows. "It's a good business opportunity," Smith said.

Deb Najarro, Finger Lakes Railway's manager of governmental affairs, will be in Skaneateles, N.Y., Dec. 10 to meet with the Upstate Safety Task Force and to discuss the railway's plans. The local group has been urging state Department of Transportation officials to enact regulations banning long-distance, trash-hauling trucks from seven state highway in the Finger Lakes Region. Industry groups, including the New York Farm Bureau and the New York Motor Transport Association, oppose the proposed regulations.

Smith said the railway, which has an existing rail line near the landfill, along with Seneca County, has applied for a $17-million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant.

Federal officials are to announce in February which proposals will be funded under the so-called TIGER grant program, but Smith said it's likely the announcements won't come until March.

The task force says the long-haul trucks, which use state highway in the Finger Lakes as a short cut to Seneca Meadows, threaten the environment and pose a safety hazard.

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