ALBANY – New York lawmakers are poised to approve spending $200 million to complete a statewide recreational trail, despite initially raising concerns over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan.
The state Assembly approved a budget bill Friday that includes the funding, which Cuomo sought to expand the state’s existing trailway systems along the Erie Canal and Hudson River.
The 750-mile Empire State Trail will close gaps on the existing Erie Canalway Trail and Hudson River Valley Greenway system, ultimately connecting Buffalo to Albany and New York City to the Canadian border when it’s finished in 2020.
Cuomo proposed the trail in January, billing it as an opportunity to market the state’s recreation opportunities and outdoor tourism hotspots. But lawmakers and the public had signaled concern.
Both the Senate and Assembly stripped the funding out of their budget proposals, while just 38 percent of New York voters supported the plan in a February poll by Siena College.
“The Empire State Trail, once completed, will be the nation’s largest state multi-use trail network, providing residents and visitors alike unprecedented access to New York’s outdoor treasures,” Cuomo said when he unveiled the trail.