Support Growing for Route 17 Expansion

Real Estate In-Depth | September 20, 2019

GOSHEN, NY—The Orange County Legislature, as well as the Town of Goshen and the Village of Harriman in Orange County, and the towns of Bethel, Callicoon, Delaware, Liberty, Lumberland and the Liberty Central School District, have recently joined the growing list of supporters for an expanded Route 17.

The initiative is being driven by the 17-Forward-86 coalition, which is seeking $500 million from New York State to add a third lane east and west on Route 17 to enable future designation as Interstate 86 in the region.

Back in August, sheriffs from the mid-Hudson added their support to the coalition’s efforts.

Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois and Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff met with representatives of 17-Forward-86 and came out in favor of the coalition’s call for a third lane on the heavily traveled corridor.

“Our officers are understandably concerned about the worsening traffic conditions on Route 17,” said Sheriff DuBois. “As first responders, we know all too well the dangers tie-ups pose, and the difference a few minutes—even seconds—can make in a life-or-death situation.”

The meeting was organized by 17-Forward-86 co-chairs Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of the Orange County Partnership and Marc Baez, president and CEO of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development.

“We are so grateful to our sheriffs for giving us the opportunity to share our message about the critical need to widen Route 17,” Halahan said.

In May, the state Department of Transportation issued a request for expressions of interest for an engineering firm to begin a scoping and preliminary review process. The work is part of a $5-million Planning and Environmental Linkage study (PEL), which includes identifying priority locations and conducting environmental assessments and preliminary engineering. Funding for the PEL was committed as part of the state’s 2018-2019 budget.

17-Forward-86 has been engaging state legislators to secure funding in the DOT’s multi-year capital plan to enable the implementation of recommendations contained in a 2013 capacity study issued by NYSDOT. Coalition members have also been meeting directly with DOT officials. The DOT’s next capital plan is expected to begin in March 2020 and will be funded by state and federal funds.