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Waste Watch: Albion ponders new $2 million railroad overpass

Updated: Wednesday, July 10 2013, 03:06 PM EDT

Albion, N.Y. - It’s lunchtime on the edge of the village of Albion. The wait to spot a train from the Clarendon Street overpass seems endless.

“There are two trains that go through the village to the east and those two trains come back,” explained Fred Miller, a village trustee. “A total of 10 cars a week.”

Albion was built along the rail lines and thrived as the trains carried the supplies and output of factories and mills through the village.  Now, this is called a short line.  The tracks end abruptly 30 miles from the village.

“It is only servicing two businesses between here and Brockport,” said Miller.

The overpass has fallen into disrepair and has been flagged by the Department of Transportation.  The village is considering a $2 million dollar replacement, paid for with taxpayer money.

“If this doesn’t get done, what are the options? We have a big hulking bridge that someday falls down,” said Mayor Dean Theodorakos. 

“I think it would really be a problem if they get rid of the bridge,” said Kim Weese who lives in Albion.  “Because you’re going to have to reroute all the way around to Main Street.”

The village built and owns the overpass, yet according to state law maintenance is the responsibility of the railroad

"We’re being railroaded,” said trustee Miller who points out that if the maintenance had been done on a regular basis it would not require replacement for several more decades.  It was built in 1977.

Yet the mayor sees it differently.

“We’ve been told by the DOT that it’s the railroad’s responsibility but good luck trying to enforce that,” he said.  He says the village is forced to make the situation work because it owns the bridge and has some responsibility.

He pointed out that 95 percent of the cost would be paid for with state and federal grants- all of that taxpayer money.

At his hardware store on Main Street Fred Miller talked about life as a small business owner and the need to watch every dime.  As a trustee he wants to do the same for taxpayers.

“The DOT says if you don’t use it, it’s going to go somewhere else,” he said of the federal and state money adding “I’m all for that.  I’d like to see us spend it where you can get more bang for the buck.”

As the process moves forward, Albion taxpayers will be invited to weigh in at a public hearing which will likely be scheduled this spring.

Waste Watch: Albion ponders new $2 million railroad overpass

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