227,000 Square Feet of Asphalt

That is how much asphalt will be paved through Sudbury’s wetlands and riparian areas for a Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MADOT) Standard Rail Trail.  This standard MADOT rail trail cannot be built without violating/ignoring Sudbury’s Wetland Administrative Bylaws.  It cannot be built without ignoring/violating the state storm water regulations.  Sudbury’s own wildlife/environmental impact study, Call of the Wild dtd 3/09/2009), conducted along the proposed trail Right of Way (RoW) concluded “ there are no satisfactory mitigation measures for two of five sections of the proposed rail trail”.  In spite of what some elected officials would like you to believe, Sudbury’s Master Plan does not support or encourage violation of Sudbury’s Bylaws for recreational projects.  From a financial perspective, MADOT Standard Rail Trails are the most expensive option for recreational use of the RoW.  Current estimated cost for a MADOT trail through Sudbury is $1.5 to $2.0 million per mile or $6,400,000 to $8,600,000 in todays dollars. Although some proponents /elected officials may tell you these funds are budgeted, please note there is no assurance they will be available for appropriation.  Appropriation authorizes expenditures, not budgeting. It probably looks inexpensive to some elected officials because they would be spending someone else’s money.  Political operatives used to “earmark” these funds but please note “earmarking” is currently disallowed at the federal level.  The Rails to Trails Conservancy, the national non-profit organization that conceived and advocates the preservation and use of rail beds for recreational purposes, does not mandate the paving of recreational trails.  It does not mandate strict adherence to an existing RoW.  It does not encourage violation of storm water or environmental law at any level.  All discussion/arguments for discretionary spending, such as Rail Trails, can be simplified into a single, simple statement “state and local law(s) should apply equally to all projects and to all individuals”.  Sudbury’s portion of the state owned RoW should be utilized/improved as a recreation trail/Greenway. But it should be utilized/improved in accordance with existing laws and bylaws. Vote NO at Town Meeting to prevent expenditure of Community Preservation Dollars for a MADOT Standard Rail Trail.  Support Greenways as an attainable, acceptable option.  I am a 19 year member of the Rails to Trails Conservancy and a 38 year resident of Sudbury.

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