Albany commissioners to apply for federal grant for Rails to Trails

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Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 9:41 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The South Georgia Rails to Trails project stayed alive Thursday when city officials voted to apply for federal funding for the long-overdue facility.

South Georgia Rails to Trails officials agreed to delay their lawsuit against the city of Albany, as commissioners look for solutions to build the trail.

In a specially called meeting, Albany city commissioners gave the approval to seek a federal grant from the National Department of Transportation to partially pay for the trail. They have already sought a Georgia Department of Transportation grant.

With the lawsuit on delay, Albany commissioners now hope to bring Lee County and Terrell County officials back on board to help pay for the trail.

“It’s a project that will bring in tourism. Provide amenities for our own citizens. But it’s how do you pay for a project like this. That’s the sole problem of a large project that goes through multiple counties. Is one entity, it’s just not fair and it’s not right,” Chad Warbington, Albany city commissioner.

Lee and Terrell county leaders have said in the past that they will not get involved with the project while a lawsuit is pending.

If they are approved for the federal grant, the trail would have to meet federal guidelines and standards. And commissioners know that will drive up the cost. Originally estimated to cost in the $7 million range, on Thursday commissioners were told to expect the cost to be in the $20 million range, because of inflation and federal design guidelines.

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