As time winds down to when Gov. David Paterson will hopefully sign state Department of Transportation draft regulations to limit truck traffic in the Finger Lakes region, the Upstate New York Safety Coalition Task Force is continuing its work to keep garbage trucks and long-haul tractor trailers on the interstates.
The history of the issue and the combative nature of the task force to keep the large vehicles on interstates is itself a long and winding road like those the truck drivers take to cut back on expenses.
As in many surrounding towns and villages, trucks in Skaneateles have been an issue for decades, said Skaneateles Mayor Bob Green. Green said when he ran for reelection it was even one of his campaign issues because during candidate forums there were so many questions regarding what could be done to stop the out of town truck traffic.
"We're dealing with New York state highways," he said. "It was an issue in Owasco, Aurora, Ithaca (and other nearby communities)."
Green emphasizes that the issue is not central to Skaneateles but that it has affected much of Central New York because of the hundreds of garbage trucks driving from New York City and New Jersey on a daily basis.
"Skaneateles alone was getting in excess of 200 garbage trucks a day," Green said. "When you take a small community like Skaneateles, 200 garbage trucks is going to have an impact on residents lives. I don't think you accomplish much with protests and strong arm rhetoric."
Because of the widespread concerns of communities throughout Central and Upstate New York, the Upstate New York Safety Coalition Task Force was formed and began meeting with state representatives -- from senators and assemblymen to aides to the governor -- seeking a resolution. There have also been several meetings with members of the trucking industry and the New York State Motor Truck Association.