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Adirondack Scenic Railroad looks to complete line to Lake Placid

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The "Regional Economic Impact Analysis of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad" was released on Friday, showing that linking the now disconnected pieces of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad to run continually from Utica to Lake Placid would bring more benefits than costs.

The analysis shows that a continual line would bring more than 7,000 additional riders, have a $31 million economic impact, and create over 560 jobs, over 200 of which would be permanent.

"The expense to do this would be paying for itself. In other words, we can pay for the expenses for ticket sales, so it would be self sustaining, wouldn't really require public money," says President of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad Bill Branson. "The construction aspect would be a bigger question and that would be federal and state most likely, but the operation of it annually once we get of the ground will be self sustaining."

Senator Joe Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi joined railroad officials, members of the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce and Oneida County Tourism to hear the report, and will now present the study's findings to the state.

"To invest a dollar and get back 2 or 3 is compelling but it's not just the money," says Branson. "The money, I think, that will take care of itself as far as the decision makers. I believe we have a lot of support in a lot of places even before, and I think this will get the attention from the top of the legislature all the way through."

Oneida County Tourism expects continuing the line to Lake Placid to expand all tourism options opening more opportunities to get off the line to kayak, bike, or even stay the night.

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