Stop the truckin'

Task force is inching forward on efforts to legislate truck routes

By Mary Beth Romano

The Upstate Citizens Safety Task Force (UCSTF) held a forum last Thursday night to discuss the ongoing problem of large trucks hauling trash through smaller communities. The forum was held at the Aurora Inn on Route 90 in Aurora and acted as a platform for residents to voice their concern over the increased trucking, and to encourage their elected officials to make this issue a priority.

In the past 15 years, villages and towns, such as Skaneateles, Aurora, Locke, Owasco and Niles have seen ever-increasing tractor-trailer traffic as trucking companies have taken to the back roads instead of driving the Thruway or Interstate 81. Many of these large, heavy trucks are traveling through the villages and towns tearing up roads and causing safety concerns. Some of the folks upset with the trucks say the problem mostly concerns tractor-trailers hauling garbage from New York City to Seneca Meadows landfill in the town of Seneca Falls.

A blow out tire, or reckless driving could result in a truck ending up in Skaneateles Lake, not to mention polluting drinking water for hundreds of thousands who rely on the lake for their water supply. The truck companies claim the back roads are shorter and cheaper.

"We're getting reports that (the traffic is) getting worse and safety is a real issue. So, we were pleased with the turnout to the forum. We think the bills will get more attention now," said Barbara Clary, president of the UCSTF.

The "bills" she is referring to were passed earlier this week by the state Senate, and would make the Department of Transportation responsible for routing all commercial trucks carrying hazardous materials. Senator John A. DeFrancisco (R-I-C-WF, Syracuse) wrote the bills.

The first bill (S6461) would establish a truck routing agency in New York to coordinate, approve and supervise designated highway routes for the transportation of hazardous materials, including municipal solid waste.

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