New York Senate approves legislation to keep garbage trucks
off local roads
The New York State Senate approved legislation co-sponsored by Senator George
H. Winner, Jr. (R-C-I, Elmira) to help keep large garbage trucks hauling
waste from New York City and other downstate regions off of local highways
in Tompkins County and other upstate municipalities.
There are currently no restrictions outside of New York
City for the transportation of hazardous materials on state highways.
The legislation Winner co-sponsors seeks to designate the
state Department of Transportation (DOT) as the agency responsible for promulgating
regulations governing the routing of hazardous materials, including municipal
solid waste. Under the legislation, which must be approved by the Assembly
and signed by Governor Eliot Spitzer before becoming law, the DOT would consult
with the state departments of Health and Environmental Conservation when
establishing truck route designations.
The issue stems from the increasing number of large garbage
trucks transporting municipal solid waste from the tri-state New York, New
Jersey and Connecticut region to the Seneca Meadows landfill in Waterloo.
While haulers’ contracts
call for trucks to utilize the interstate highway system and avoid residential
and environmentally sensitive areas as much as possible, many of them are
taking shortcuts on local highways through Tompkins County and other upstate
communities to avoid tolls and save time.
Local residents have told Winner that the problem has been
especially persistent on State Routes 79, 89 and 96 and 34.
In late September, Tompkins County hosted an Upstate New
York Safety Coalition Task Force meeting to bring together local, state and
federal representatives to discuss ways to keep the potentially unsafe trucks
off of local roadways where they pose environmental risks, threaten the safety
of local motorists and residents, and damage local infrastructure.