Utica city council supports scenic railroad

UTICA – The Common Council of this city passed a resolution in support of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad on Wednesday.

The day before, the village of Tupper Lake became the latest Adirondack municipality to support a measure questioning the railroad’s future existence in the Park.

The Utica Common Council voted 9-0 in favor of the resolution supporting the Adirondack Railroad Preservation Society’s proposal to preserve the rail lines between Utica and Lake Placid.

“The Utica Common Council deems rail service as a critical component to their Master Plan,” the resolution reads.

The resolution boasts the idea of improving the tracks for future passenger and tourism services as well as for freight from Utica to the Adirondacks, and expresses concern abut the resistance the plan has gotten recently from “opposition groups.”

It states that rehabilitating the railroad tracks “will facilitate the creation of badly needed employment in this highly distressed area of New York, tap the use of rail as a green form of transportation for freight, restore historic infrastructure to promote tourism and further bolster the sustainability of our communities.”

The move came a day after the Tupper Lake village board held an hour-and-a-half-long comment period on the subject and then voted to support the state reopening the corridor’s unit management plan. The plan for the 119-mile portion of track from Remsen to Lake Placid was created in the mid 1990s. It allowed the railroad to use the corridor but called for a re-evaluation every five years. No such review has been done.

The boards of the towns of Tupper Lake and Harrietstown and the village of Saranac Lake have passed similar resolutions in recent months. The boards of the towns of North Elba and Piercefield and the village of Lake Placid passed more strongly worded resolutions that call for the removal of the tracks.