Deadline looms on proposed truck restriction plan in upstate New York

| 12/11/2009

For small-business truckers who have seen their profit margins dwindle during these rough economic times, a proposed regulation aimed at banning trucks from certain routes in upstate New York could be a death knell for their trucking operations.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is urging its members who live in New York or who do business in the state to comment on the New York State Department of Transportation’s proposed plan to restrict truck traffic on seven key routes in upstate New York.

The deadline for comments is Monday, Dec. 14.

The NYSDOT has extended the comment period twice in recent months. Both OOIDA and the New York State Motor Truck Association have previously been granted more time from the NYSDOT to prepare their comments because they are still waiting on additional documentation they are have requested through a Freedom of Information Law request.

Mike Joyce, director of legislative affairs in OOIDA’s Washington, DC, office said this proposed restriction couldn’t come at a worse time for small-business truckers as freight rates continue to drop and as fuel and equipment costs continue to rise.

“This just doesn’t make good economic sense to move forward with this regulation,” Joyce said.

While the proposed regulation was aimed mainly at restricting the large number of garbage trucks which use these secondary roads instead of the New York Thruway, 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.

Joyce said the NYSDOT should consider alternative options rather than banning all trucks from these routes in upstate New York. He said the Association favors alternative solutions like offering 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 they pay.

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

To provide comments to the NYSDOT via phone, call 518-457-2345. Callers should simply state that they want to comment on the draft regulation, and they will be transferred to someone who will take the comment for the record.

Out-of-state truckers also are urged to contact Gov. David Paterson either by e-mail or by calling him at 518-474-8390.

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