This is in response to the story “State supports rail trail” [July/August 2015].
I applaud the state’s proposal to convert the thirty four-mile section of historic rail corridor connecting Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake into a world-class recreational trail for biking, walking, hiking, improved snowmobiling, and all-around enjoyment of our wild and beautiful Adirondacks.
As a taxpayer, however, I am frankly appalled by the state’s so-called “compromise” to rehabilitate the forty-five miles of tracks from Tupper Lake south to Big Moose, at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars, largely as tribute to a handful of vocal and politically connected train buffs in what, I predict, will be a monumental taxpayer boondoggle.
I have great difficulty envisioning any more than a handful of passengers sitting on a train from Utica for roughly four hours—taking into consideration ten-minute stops at Remsen, Thendara, Big Moose, and Beaver River, plus time for slowing down and speeding up— bumping along at all of thirty miles an hour, then disembarking at Tupper Lake, only to ready themselves for the even more tiresome four-hour return trip to Utica, all in one day. You have to be kidding.
Yet, what the state is asking us—as taxpayers—to accept as a plausible compromise, based on highly questionable research, is that Tupper Lake can henceforth look forward to the arrival of thousands of tourists with the upgrading of the tracks. Permit me to doubt.
Joseph Mercurio, Saranac Lake
The writer is president of Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA)