Truckers encouraged to comment on road ban plan in NY

| 11/12/2009

Truckers have only 18 more days to comment on a proposed regulation that would prohibit them from using seven secondary roads in the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York.

This proposed rule, which was posted on the New York State’s Register by the New York State Department of Transportation, comes at a time when small-business truckers are struggling to eke out a living as freight rates continue to plummet and equipment and fuel costs continue to rise.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is encouraging its New York state members, their families, and out-of-state truckers who do business in the state to comment on the truck route restriction plan. Members are also encouraged to contact their lawmakers to let them know how this restriction could affect their trucking operations.

Comments can be submitted via e-mail or mailed to:
Yomika Bennett
Director of State and Local Relations
New York State Department of Transportation
50 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12232

Mike Joyce, director of legislative affairs in OOIDA’s Washington, DC, office, said truckers who oppose this ban need to make their voices heard.

Joyce said the NYSDOT should consider alternative options rather than banning trucks from certain key routes in upstate New York.

The proposed regulation was aimed mainly at restricting the large number of garbage trucks who use these secondary roads instead of the New York Thruway, but this restriction would apply to all heavy trucks that use these routes.

“We are certain there are other options out there that would better serve our members than forcing drivers to use the New York Thruway,” Joyce said. “This couldn’t come at a worse time for small-business owners who are trying to make a go of it during these tough times.”

Joyce said the Association favors a solution that offers some types of incentives for garbage haulers to run the Thruway instead of these secondary routes, such as a reduction in toll costs or a reduction in the ton-mile taxes truckers must pay.

Several weeks ago, OOIDA Senior Member Terry Button of Rushville, NY, had a representative from the NYSDOT attend a meeting at his farm, which has been in his family for more than 135 years.

He said the meeting was a “valuable one” and helped dispel some of the misconceptions about the trucking industry and the financial implications this would have on small businesses like his, which depends on secondary roads for his hay-hauling operation.

“I truly believe we have to use a commonsense approach when looking to implement something like this,” Button told Land Line recently. “Truckers need to start a dialogue with their lawmakers to explain what effects this could have on their businesses. I have paid for the roads that I use and need to maintain the vitality of my business – a business that continues to be regulated and overtaxed year in and year out.”

Here are the seven routes that will be affected by the ban:

  • Route 41 in Cortland and Onondaga counties;
  • Route 41A in Cortland, Cayuga and Onondaga counties;
  • Route 90 in Cortland and Cayuga counties;
  • Route 38 in Cayuga County;
  • Route 79 in Broome, Tioga, and Tompkins counties;
  • Route 89 in Tompkins and Seneca counties; and
  • Route 96 in Tompkins and Seneca counties.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer