GOSHEN – Overlooking a busy Route 17
from the Matthews Street Park and Ride in Goshen on Friday, U.S. Senator
Charles Schumer called for the planned expansion of the highway from Harriman
to Wallkill to be extended into Sullivan County, all the way to Monticello.
Schumer, left, has the support of Orange County Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Cione, State Assemblyman James Skoufis
and Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus
In 2013, the New York State Department of Transportation announced that
it had completed its Route 17 Transportation Corridor Study in order to
examine the feasibility of expanding the highway to three lanes between
Monticello’s Exit 103 and Harriman’s Exit 131. Recently, the
study’s Transportation Partnering Committee recommended expanding
the future Interstate 86 to three lanes only from Harriman in Orange County
Schumer said what happened in December changed the scenario dramatically.
“The study was completed in 2013. The decision was made last year, and guess what happened since then? Sullivan County was chosen as a location for a new casino, and now that the casino is reality, it’s time to revisit that plan.”
In addition to casino development, other projects, including the growth and popularity of destinations such as Bethel Woods and Woodbury Common, have brought thousands more commuters to Route 17. Schumer said that in order to avoid traffic bottlenecks in Orange and Sullivan counties and to maximize the full potential of all of the region’s economic assets, including the new casino, revising the plan and continuing the expansion of Route 17 all the way to Monticello is critical.
“We are asking that the federal, state and local governments put their heads together and come up with a plan to expand the three lanes all the way up into Sullivan County, and I pledge to do everything I can to get all the federal money we can to make this happen.”
Schumer said that to pay for this major infrastructure project, a mix of federal, state and private funds will be needed. He announced that he will be pushing to secure more federal funds through his efforts to pass a large infrastructure bill in this Congress.
The estimate on expanding to three lanes just to Wallkill is $291 million. Extending to Monticello would cost another $100 million, bringing the project total to close to $400 million.
The senator said he will work to secure as much funding as possible for the Highway Trust Fund, so New York can begin to make the investments needed to repair and upgrade roads, bridges, and transit systems across the state
Schumer was joined by Assemblyman James Skoufis, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus and other officials from Orange County and Sullivan County.