New York rail trails safe

Rail Trail Supreme Court Brandt Case2New York’s rail trails are safe. Contrary to several media reports, the US Supreme Court’s decision is limited in scope and will have no effect on existing or planned rail trails in New York State.

While the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust et al. v. United States case is an unfortunate interpretation for rail trails and trail users throughout the US, it only applies to federally-granted railroad rights-of-way. Most of these are located in western states.

No rail corridors located within the original 13 colonies, which includes New York State, are affected by this decision. That means that New Yorkers can continue to enjoy hundreds of miles of rail trails with no worry that these recreation and transportation resources have been put in jeopardy by the Supreme Court’s decision.

It may not even be the end of the line for federally-granted rail corridors. The Brandt case will be sent back to a lower court where there will be an opportunity to clarify and limit the scope of the ruling of the Supreme Court.

PTNY will continue to monitor the issue and provide information about this case and any future challenges to rail trails in New York State.

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