OOIDA and others fight truck restrictions on NY roads

| 7/24/2009

Trucking associations, industries and business groups have banded together to fight a proposal that would ban trucks on seven upstate New York routes.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and more than 20 other business and industry associations have signed on to endorse a letter from the New York State Motor Truck Association urging Gov. David Paterson not to move forward with the “Reasonable Access Highway Regulation.”

When tolls increased on the New York Thruway in May 2005, a task force of upstate residents put pressure on lawmakers and the New York Department of Transportation to deal with an increased number of New York City trash haulers on local roadways.

NYDOT brought the proposal forward in 2008, and it now sits on Paterson’s desk for consideration.

OOIDA leadership says the proposal lumps trucking operations together in a negative light and takes away alternatives to the tolled Thruway.

“Our frustration with this situation is that there are a handful of trucks that have caused the problem,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer told Land Line.

“Rather than dealing with that, the approach is overly broad and will do little more than increase costs – costs to truckers that will be passed on to consumers.”

Spencer said OOIDA members live in the area and use the affected routes.

“Their trucks are not going to be those overloaded vehicles that have caught the attention of state policy makers. They will be needlessly stopped and detained under this restriction,” he said.

If Paterson approves the regulation, commercial vehicles longer than 45 feet would be banned from portions of New York state routes 41, 41A, 90, 38, 79, 89 and 96.

There’s more.

The NYDOT proposal indicates that if the restriction is approved, additional routes such as U.S. 20 and State Route 34 could be added to the list.

Exemptions would allow trucks on restricted routes if access was needed for pickups or deliveries, if the route was the shortest en route to a destination, or in case of detours or emergencies.

Avoiding tolls on the Thruway would not be considered an exemption.

In the letter to Paterson, the New York State Motor Truck Association raised questions about enforcement on restricted routes.

“Will the New York State Police pull over any truck they choose to ensure it is properly on a route?” officials asked.

“Pulling a truck over causes unnecessary delay and raises its own safety concern, especially given the narrowness of the roads for which this restriction will apply.”

Analysis of the proposed regulation by the Capitol Hill Research Center showed that the state did not take into account the industries outside of trucking that would be affected such as agriculture, forestry, housing and power.

Further evidence of the effects to business and industry can be found in the list of groups that signed the letter to Paterson – the National Federation of Independent Business; Farm Bureau; Empire State Forest Products Association; General Contractors Association; and Northeast Dairy Foods among others. The Ontario Trucking Association and Quebec’s Association du Cammionnage also signed on.

Click here to read the letter.

– By David Tanner, staff writer