Transportation Update

ROUTE 17 TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT AND
TRAFFIC ALLEVIATION PLAN ACHIEVES SUCCESS IN STATE BUDGET
 
The Orange County Partnership, Sullivan County Partnership and Orange County Citizens Foundation joined forces 18 months ago to create the Route 17 Transportation Improvement and Traffic Alleviation Plan (TTAP) to support needed improvements to the Route 17 Corridor in Orange and Sullivan Counties.  We recognized that while the Mid-Hudson Region has seen economic and population growth and is home to communities with strong quality of life, the region needs substantial infrastructure investments to allow responsible growth to continue.  In 2013, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) issued a study of the Route 17 Corridor in Orange and Sullivan Counties, commissioned by US Senator Charles Schumer. The study recommended a new General Use Third Lane along the Corridor; the exploration of additional park-and-ride facilities in both Sullivan and Orange Counties, and continued coordination with the West of Hudson Regional Transit Study undertaken by MTA Metro-North Railroad to identify opportunities to improve transit service on the Port Jervis Line.

Unfortunately, the project hadn’t gained traction due to a lack of financial resources and a unified voice in the region. TTAP has spent the past year and a half building a coalition of business, government, nonprofits, and labor to support the TTAP in moving this issue to the “front burner.” We gained the support of Senator Schumer, local state representatives, county leaders, the Governor’s Administration and NYSDOT. 

As a result of these efforts, the 2018-19 New York State Budget included up to “$5 million to advance environmental and design activities related to the construction of a third travel lane along the Route 17 Corridor in Orange and Sullivan Counties.” These funds will be used by NYSDOT to move the needed investments forward, and we will build upon this success to make Route 17 improvements a reality to ensure the ability of the Mid-Hudson Region to continue to grow in a responsible way.  

What’s Next

While we are grateful to NYS Senators Bonacic and Larkin and Assembly members Gunther and Skoufis, Senator Schumer, and Governor Cuomo and his administration, for support of this project, much remains to be done.

NYSDOT will now initiate a Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) Study as the next step in the process. The PEL Study is estimated to take 12-14 months to complete which will make the project well-positioned to receive focus in the next DOT Capital Plan, scheduled for 2019. 

The full cost of the project, including design, construction, and inspection, will be close to $500 million. It’s a costly investment, but one that will ensure our future success. The Orange and Sullivan County Partnerships and the Orange County Citizens Foundation have already begun meeting with stakeholders across the Mid-Hudson Region to develop an outreach plan to build upon our success and make these needed improvements to the Route 17 Corridor a reality.

We welcome your support and your input. For more information, or to join our coalition, please contact Maureen Halahan (845-294-2323), Marc Baez (845-794-1100), or Nancy Proyect (845-469-9459).