Last week, after months of statewide debate, New York State published new trucking restrictions (pg. 15-16) for seven highways in the Finger Lakes and Central New York regions. The changes were made at the request of a small group of special interests who didn't want truck traffic in their community - purportedly to impose restrictions on trash haulers, but dragging all truck traffic into the mix in doing so. We are now in the midst of a 45-day review period on the trucking restrictions, which will end September 10.
A coalition of statewide businesses aimed at stopping these trucking restrictions has been formed, and is advocating during the review period. The Partnership is joining this advocacy effort to shoot down what we think would be an awful precedent to set. Fortunately, simultaneously, Governor Paterson has established the Trucking Industry and Community Relations Task Force, on which a number of members of the coalition will sit.
At the most practical level, a diversion of truck traffic around these highways will increase the cost of transportation, ultimately affecting consumer prices for the goods being shipped - and it's important to note that just about everything we use on a daily basis was on a truck at some point. In fact, the New York Farm Bureau estimates that these new regulations will cost affected farmers and farm related businesses anywhere from $43,000 to $960,000 per year. Where are those particular costs recouped? At the grocery store.
And that's just agribusiness - the coalition's web site also reports that 92% of all manufactured goods in New York State are carried by truck. Now, seven highways in Central New York obviously do not account for every rural highway in the state - but this kind of regulation, given support in one community, can easily spread. Multiply the cost of traffic diversion by multiple regions, and you've got yet another expensive impediment to doing business in New York State.
You can get involved during the 45-day review period in the effort to put a halt to these trucking regulations that will benefit a very few at the expense of everyone else. Click here to sign the coalition's petition to the governor to stop the restrictions.