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Finger Lakes Region: Truck regulations off the table

The Upstate Safety Task Force was met with a less than ideal decision on the New York State Department of Transportation's part when they arrived in Albany on Monday. Owasco Town Supervisor John Klink and task force member Pam Mackesey had an agenda for the April 12 Trucking Industry and Community Relations Task Force meeting, but before Klink and Mackesey were able to get to the meeting things changed, said Skaneateles Mayor Bob Green, who also sits on the Upstate Safety Task Force.

"According to John, they had an agenda and when they got there the agenda had changed and the DOT said they were canceling the regulations," Green said Tuesday afternoon.

The regulations, which the Upstate Safety Task Force worked to procure for the last several years, would have restricted long haul trucks from using seven routes through the Finger Lakes thereby keeping trucks on major highways such as the New York State Thruway and Route 81. In October the DOT extended a 45-day comment period on the regulations.

Monday's decision by the DOT to reject the proposed regulations came as a shock to Green.

"We're very disappointed especially [because] we've had the governor in town promising us that these regulations would take place," he said, adding Sen. Charles Schumer had also publicly stated his support for the regulations. "I don't know what precipitated the change in attitude. The last time we talked to the DOT they assured us they would go forward."

According to Green, the Motor Truck Association has a lot of lobbying power in Albany and as he sees it "someone got to someone" and changed their mind.

"I don't think anyone on our committee expected this at all. We were blindsided by this," he said.

However, the local task force won't be throwing in the towel. Green said they intend to pursue other avenues, like looking more seriously at railroads with the hope some of the downstate municipal solid waste can be shipped to Seneca Meadows Landfill via rail instead of garbage trucks, many of which have used rural routes to get to the landfill causing the task force to push for regulations.

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