Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood at the Dryden Rail Trail to announce the $700,000 in federal funding she secured to complete the Dryden Rail Trail Bridge project. The $2.9 million project was initially stalled due to lack of funds. Senator Gillibrand secured this significant federal investment to close the funding gap and put the stalled Dryden Rail Trail Bridge project back on track. Senator Gillibrand was joined by Assembly Member Anna Kelles, Town of Dryden Supervisor Jason Leifer, Town of Dryden Deputy Supervisor Dan Lamb, and the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council Director Fernando de Aragón.
“The Dryden Rail Trail Bridge project will bring invaluable recreational and economic opportunities to the Tompkins County, and I am so proud to have helped the stalled project get back on track,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The $700,000 in federal funding needed to help finally complete the trail and bridge will bring Dryden and Ithaca together, and provide the communities with new opportunities for safe, sustainable transportation, and a beautiful way to get around.”
“More and more people are recognizing the tremendous natural beauty of places like Dryden and the gorges trails of Tompkins County. I am proud to deliver this $700,000 in federal funding to keep the Dryden Rail Trail on track and help complete this long desired community project,” said Senator Schumer. “This funding will boost tourism, increase green infrastructure by making our communities more walkable, and blow a breath of fresh air into our local economies.”
“This is a game changer for the Town of Dryden,” said Assembly Member Anna Kelles. “The Dryden Rail Trail will connect the village of Dryden to Freeville, Etna, Cornell and the city of Ithaca. Not only will this create many miles of trails to support sustainable transportation and connectivity in our region, this outdoor recreation resource will also support local tourism and public health.”
“For decades, the story has been that the Dryden Rail Trail can’t be completed due to the challenge of crossing a busy state highway,” stated Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Lamb. “Today, with the help of US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, we are rewriting that script.”
“Tompkins County envisions having a world class multiuse trail system. The Dryden Rail Trail is a key component and the trail bridge over route 13 will be the ‘golden spike’ link, connecting the east and west trail systems in the county,” said Fernando de Aragón, Director of the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council.
When completed, the Dryden Rail Trail Bridge will help connect the Town of Dryden and the City of Ithaca and will give the community sustainable transportation options to get to work, school, community centers, stores, and parks. Sitting on the 14-mile, multi-use Dryden Rail Trail, the newly constructed bridge will be accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and will be made available to pedestrians, bicycles, and dogs.