This past Friday, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and CSX extended the deadline for New Albany to acquire the CSX line for a Rails to Trails conversion that would run from New Albany to Bedford.
Under federal law, railroads may allow unneeded rail lines to be converted to recreation trails. The conversion process is governed by the STB and limits negotiation for a conversion to 180 days. New Albany had secured authority to negotiate with CSX in August and that authority has now been extended.
Over the last 6 months, the City of New Albany has been working with the communities along the corridor to develop a coalition to acquire the 63-mile rail line and construct a walking/bike trail from New Albany to Bedford. Radius, a regional economic development organization that works with Washington, Lawrence and Orange Counties has partnered with New Albany in this effort.
Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Trails funding opportunity has energized and accelerated the effort to create a trail. The City has been working with its partners to prepare an application for funding from DNR and various private sources for the acquisition and construction of the trail.
“This is the future North-South connection to our Ohio River Greenway, and it is our next phase of growth for outdoor recreation, health, and connectivity,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan.