New York taking comments on truck ban

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New York has released revised draft regulations for public comment that would restrict large trucks from using seven highways in the Finger Lake regions as short cuts. The draft regulations will be published in the State Register for a 45-day review period and are available at www.nysdot.gov/programs/truckpolicy.

On Aug. 6, Gov. David A. Paterson announced the public has 45 days to comment on the restriction, which excludes large trucks, except for local pickup and delivery, from parts of State Routes 41, 41A, 90, 38, 79, 89 and 96. Paterson also announced the creation of the Trucking Industry and Community Relations Task Force, which will be chaired by Stanley Gee, New York State Department of Transportation acting commissioner. Other members will be announced in upcoming weeks.

The task force will make recommendations on the proposed regulations, monitor them, evaluate effectiveness and recommend improvements. It also will monitor the effectiveness of actions NYDOT has added recently to reduce truck traffic in Fingers Lake communities and will work to improve relations between Finger Lakes residents and truckers.

The New York State Motor Truck Association and 26 business associations wrote the governor July 20 in protest of the proposals. Their concerns include that it is unclear who would enforce the plan. The groups noted that no large trucking company maintains operations in New York because it is unfriendly to trucking and one of the few states with a highway use tax. They said enacting these bans will waste time and increase fuel costs.

The group also included a Capitol Hill Research Center report, The Unreasonable Impact of the Reasonable Access Highway Regulation, which was based on Paterson’s original proposal to restrict trucks from 64 routes; he narrowed that to seven routes after the U.S. Department of Transportation raised concerns. The report said the economic impact analysis to support the regulation is inadequate and fails to take into account industries aside from trucking. The cost-benefit analysis also does not meet the standard for creation of a regulation.

Once Paterson names the task force members, a preliminary report will be due to the governor in six months. This will be followed by progress reports to be delivered at nine months and 12 months, following the start of the substantive review process, with a final report due in December 2010.