For decades, the traffic issues along Route 17 have created headaches and obstacles for those who live, work, and play in the Mid-Hudson Region. But now momentum is building to finally see needed investments and improvements made to ensure the Route 17 Corridor is able to promote economic development and preserve the region’s quality of life for residents and visitors to the region.
In May of 2013, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) issued the Route 17 Transportation Corridor Study sponsored by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer that recommended capacity enhancements including adding a third travel lane from Harriman to Middletown while not precluding future extensions based on travel demand, interchange modifications in Orange and Sullivan counties, providing additional park-and-ride facilities and continued coordination with the West of Hudson Regional Transit Study undertaken by MTA Metro-North.
The study found that “additional transportation capacity is needed to address existing and projected levels of congestion in the corridor, provide for enhanced mobility and allow for future economic growth in both Sullivan and Orange counties.”
Building off the 2013 study, NYSDOT is currently conducting a Planning and Environmental Linkage study (PEL), which includes identifying priority locations and conducting environmental assessments and preliminary engineering to accelerate the overall project-delivery process by identifying and addressing environmental and engineering issues early in the process to inform subsequent project level decision-making. The PEL process is expected to be completed this October and include opportunities for the public to provide input into the process and recommendations.
To further advance the prospects of these long-needed investments to become reality, Senator Schumer has spoken directly to USDOT Secretary Buttigieg, and advocated for the expansion of Route 17 as a priority project to make the roadway safer, alleviate congestion and promote economic revitalization. Senator Schumer explained that not only would an infusion of funding help jumpstart economic revitalization in the Hudson Valley by creating good-paying jobs, but it would also help improve roadway safety and alleviate roadway congestion.
The PEL will build upon recent projects that Governor Cuomo has spearheaded as part of his economic support for the region’s economy including Amy’s Kitchen, LEGOLAND New York Resort, and the Resorts World Catskills Casino. The governor also fast-tracked the improvements at Exit 131 on Route 17 that significantly improve access to local businesses and Woodbury Common, while relieving congestion and investments to modernize and expand New York Stewart International Airport to accommodate growth.
A coalition of more than 200 community, business and environmental leaders have expressed support for moving these critical improvements forward as part of the 17Forward86 Coalition.
There are also continued discussions at the federal level regarding major investments in our nation’s infrastructure and New York State is currently developing its next transportation capital plan. However, without taking the appropriate steps, the modernization of the Route 17 Corridor will not be positioned to benefit from any of these imminent federal programs or state investment strategies.
We are excited that the modernization of Route 17 continues to advance to further promote responsible economic development and a sustainable quality of life for all who live, visit and work in the Mid-Hudson Region.
My very best,
President & CEO