Senate Approves Garbage Truck Law

State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C-I,Elmira) announced today that the Senate has approved legislation he co-sponsors 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.“Tompkins County officials and concerned citizens have been at the forefront of raising the legitimate concerns over these downstate garbagehaulers,” said Winner. “This legislation should be an important part of a broader, collaborative local-state-federal strategy to fully address the threats these trucks pose to our local communities.”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 Jerseyand Connecticut region to the Seneca Meadows landfill in Waterloo. While haulers’ contracts call for trucks to utilize the interstate highway systemand avoid residential and environmentally sensitive areas as much as possible, many of them are taking shortcuts on local highways throughTompkins 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 federalrepresentatives to discuss ways to keep the potentially unsafe trucks off of local roadways where they pose environmental risks, threaten the safetyof local motorists and residents, and damage local infrastructure.Winner also held a community meeting at the Ithaca Town Hall on September 27th at which many area residents voiced their concerns. Hevowed to continue monitoring the issue and working on solutions with local citizens and his colleagues at the local, state and federal levels. -30-

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