You Could Soon Use a Trail to Cycle From NYC to Canada

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In just over two years Governor Cuomo wants to open the longest single-state multi-use trail in the nation. The Empire State Trail would effectively link NYC to Canada.

New York State could soon be turned into a major bike touring hub. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the Empire State Trail, building 350 new miles of trail to create largest State multi-use Trail Network in the Nation. If approved, the 750-Mile Trail Network would connect Lake Erie to the Capital Region and the New York Harbor to Canada.

For those whose immediate reaction is, “how much will this cost and why isn’t the Gov. using that cash to fix the subway?” The trail will cost around $200 million. Thankfully, most of the land is already owned by the state otherwise that number would be a lot higher. Most of the expense will come from building, grading, and paving all 350 miles of trail. (We’ll get to the subway question at the end of the article.)

The construction itself would take happen in three separate phases, and be completed by 2020.

Here’s the announcement Cuomo made via twitter:

As spelled out there by the Governor, the main incentive for the project is its potential to increase local tourism. In the proposal, officials claim the trail could lead to an increase in local economic impact.

These long distance destination trails are economic drivers that can generate $1.5 – 5 million in annual economic impact for surrounding communities.

Using that logic the trail would take between 40 and 133 years to pay for itself. So, if on the upside, the state earns 5 million from the trail, how much does the state lose from the state of our city’s subway?

Back in October, the NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer published a report estimating the financial impact on workers and businesses thanks to subway delays could reach up to $389 million a year. Check out the infographic below:

[comptroller.nyc]
[comptroller.nyc]
We’re not claiming to be economic experts so we’ll let you come to your own conclusions with regards to the investment in a trail over the subway.

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