A proposed underground power line that would run from Canada and pass through Whitehall on its way to New York City has the potential to generate tax revenue for the town and village, but there are concerns that it could interfere with the village’s water system.
The 330-mile, 1,000-megawatt transmission line, known as the Champlain Hudson Power Express project, would carry direct current from hydroelectric and wind power sources in Canada to a power station in Queens.
The line would run underwater and underground.
It is proposed to run under Lake Champlain before making landfall in Dresden and traveling south along Route 22 and under South Bay. It would then proceed through the village along the Canadian Pacific Railroad and on its path to New York City.
Approximately six miles would pass through Whitehall; two through the village and four through the town.
Water system issues
However, several hundred feet of the line may interfere with the village’s water system.
A portion of line, from South Bay to the rail line, would run directly beside a water main on the east side of Route 22 that is slated to be replaced this spring.
“It’s potentially a big problem,” said Mayor Peter Telisky.
He said the power line could present a hazard to village employees if they needed to access or repair the adjacent water main.
The village has contacted the transmission company that has proposed the project, Transmission Developers, Inc., to set up meetings and discuss the project and determine if it’s possible for a segment of the line to be rerouted.
“They sound like they are willing to work with us,” said Telisky, who questioned whether the line could run through South Bay along the railroad trestle.
The line could generate revenue for both the town and village. Because the power line would represent an improvement, it could be reassessed for property taxes.
During a meeting held earlier this month in Whitehall about the project, it was estimated that each mile would cost approximately $5 million to $6 million, but it’s unclear if the property could be taxed to reflect that cost.
“It would be taxable but the question is how much,” Telisky said. “Utilities usually get tax breaks.”
The total cost of the project has been projected to be $2 billion.
Supervisor George Armstrong said he was in favor of the project if developers answered the concerns of the village and it was proven to be safe.
“If it’s out sight and out of mind, and we get some tax money and a few jobs, and New York City gets some power, then it’s a win-win,” Armstrong said.
Developers estimate the project, which is currently under review by the New York State Public Service Commission, could create 300 jobs during a three and a half-year construction period.
If approved, developers have stated it is their goal to have it in service by the fall of 2016. The line would not provide electricity to upstate New York, but Armstrong said he believes the benefits would reach beyond the city.
The project still needs to receive approval from the state and the federal governments and a decision is expected to be made later this year.