Schumer aide clarifies truck issue

| 10/30/2006

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, attempted to clarify this week that the senator isn't trying to ban all trucks from secondary roads in the state - just hazmat trucks.

Spokesman Eric Schultz told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio that much of the media misunderstood the senator when he made comments last week that seemed to encompass all heavy trucks.

Schultz said Schumer simply wants the state's Department of Transportation to designate hazmat routes throughout the state, much like Pennsylvania.

"Senator Schumer understands your concerns, and that's why we're trying to craft a very narrow solution that takes into account the trucking industry," Schultz said. "The senator is certainly pro-business, so we want to make sure that we take some action on behalf of some of the constituents we're hearing from, but also do it in a way that's . a compromise down the middle."

But that concept doesn't jive with comments Schumer made last week during a speech in Skaneateles, NY, saying that "hundreds" of trucks, many of them non-hazmat trash trucks, need to be kept on the interstates and toll roads.

"We built these highways," Schumer said last week. "One of the purposes was for trucks and commerce. They ought to be required to use them. That's what we're going to make happen."

According to the New York DOT, tolls on the New York Thruway run from about 13 cents to 20 cents a mile for tractor trailers - and about 30 cents a mile for tandems.

Schultz also said Schumer is only focusing on highways in New York, not nationwide. However, that statement also contradicts statements from a press release on the senator's Web site, which asks "the federal government to require all states establish routing systems for trucks carrying hazardous materials."

- By Land Line staff