10.20.06

With Hundreds Of Trucks Leaving The Thruway & I-81 For Local Roads Each Day, Schumer Unveils New Plan To Keep Trucks Out Of CNY Neighborhoods To Restore Quality Of Life

Over 1.9 Million Trucks Travel Through The Central New York Every Year Many Drive On Local Roads As A Shortcut And To Avoid Weigh Stations, Tolls And TrafficSenators New Plan Calls On The Feds To Require All States To Establish Truck Networks, Urges NYS Establish Permanent Truck Routes For Hazardous MaterialsSchumer: Truck Drivers Are Circumventing The Highway System, Bu

With hundreds of trucks leaving the Thruway and I81 each day unnecessarily and clogging local roads, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today unveiled his new plan to keep trucks out of Central New York neighborhoods and restore communities quality of life. Over 1.9 million trucks travel through Central New York every year carrying freight, but many drive on local roads as a shortcut and to avoid weigh stations, tolls and traffic. Throughout the past few years, there have been numerous accidents spilling fuel, garbage and chemicals, all posing a potential threat to the Onondaga County watershed and surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, the trucks disrupt communities at all hours of the day and night.

Truck drivers are circumventing the highway system, but our local communities are paying the price, Schumer said. These trucks are evading highway tolls and weigh stations, and are instead driving on neighborhood streets, taxing the roadways and diminishing the quality of life in otherwise peaceful communities. This is a very unique and growing problem in this region. Its time for the government to step up, and preserve the way of life in these communities.

Hundreds of trucks carrying hazardous material travel through Central New York everyday transporting millions of tons of goods every year. Elsewhere around the country, trucks are mandated by state law to follow certain paths. These truck routes are created in order to keep trucks off small state and county roads. According to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) estimates, at least 500 trucks travel on small roads around Syracuse and the Finger Lakes each day, including State Route 20, County Route 41 and other roadways. The Seneca Meadows landfill in Waterloo alone sees traffic of over 200 trucks a day. This landfill is scheduled to expand and grow, just increasing this problem. The New York State Thruway Authority reports that the number of commercial vehicles exiting the Thruway in the Syracuse area has more than doubled since 2003. The only place in New York State with any designated truck routes is New York City. When traveling on the New York State Thruway and I81, trucks are required to pay tolls or stop for open weigh stations. However, trucks often take smaller state and county roads, day and night, as a less expensive shortcut. This practice is not only a nuisance to the citizens of the small communities these roads pass through, but is also an issue of safety.

Freight trucks haul everything from garbage to eggs, gasoline to milk. The small roads in and around Central New York and the Finger Lakes that truckers use instead of the Thruway and I81 cannot handle these large vehicles. The local roads were not built for the extreme weights and are inadequate to handle the volume of traffic they must carry, which has led to considerable wear and tear on the pavement. Many of the roads have sharp turns and steep inclines. The truck traffic has also had a detrimental effect on the aging buildings and the overall quality of life in the communities. The foundations of many buildings have cracked from vibrations of large trucks. A building owner in downtown Skaneateles had to replace windows from $30,000 after the steel window panes shook and cracked from the vibrations of the trucks. The owner of the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles has received complaints from his guests that trucks passing by during the night prevent them from enjoying their stay.

If a truck transporting goods were to overturn, a dangerous environmental situation could occur. New York State Routes 20, 41 and 41A border Skaneateles Lake, and a spill could affect the entire countys drinking water supply. According to the Skaneateles Police Chief, 200 garbage trucks (18 wheelers) carrying up to 300 gallons of diesel fuel apiece, pass through the community every day. Recently, two separate accidents have occurred where a truck flipped over on Route 41 by the lake.

Schumer today unveiled a three point plan to keep trucks on the highway, and off of local roads. Specifically, Schumer called for:

" Permanent routes for trucks carrying hazardous materials ranging from garbage to gasoline. Schumer is urging that Interstate 90 (the Thruway) and Interstate 81 be designated as hazardous materials truck routes. These routes are designed to keep trucks on large highways and interstates, and off of smaller local roads. Currently, states can choose to set up truck routes, but it is not mandatory. The United States Code allows for these routes to be created, and requires the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to work with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to create an appropriate routing plan. Such routes are already in place in states including New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. This would keep trucks off of smaller roads and on larger highways built for handling large trucks.

" The federal government to require all states establish routing systems for trucks carrying hazardous materials. Schumer promised that if the federal DOT does not set this new requirement on their own, he would introduce legislation that would require states to work with FMCSA to do so. Schumer also asked that they conduct a Truck Route Management and Community Impact Reduction Study, which would include a truck route analysis, truck route policies, regulations and stringent enforcement, truck route education, outreach program and signage. The study is to incorporate recommendations to improve the operation and management of the truck route network and mitigate the negative impacts of commercial truck traffic on local routes. In addition, the study should suggest shortterm initiatives to enact immediate improvements that would better manage the truck route network.

" A new effort to support the bipartisan Transportation Security Improvement Act (S.1052). This legislation would provide for several measures to increase the safety of the nations truck fleet, including requiring truck drivers transporting hazardous material to have written route plans, requires USDOT to promote GPS tracking systems on trucks carrying high hazard materials, establishes a program for reviewing hazardous materials security plans, and sets civil penalties for failure to comply with certain requirements for the transportation of hazardous materials. It would also require the Secretary of Transportation to submit to Congress a report assessing truck security.



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