Save 81 members spread the word about community grid pitfalls

What’s the cost of replacing Interstate 81 with city streets?

A more expensive gallon of gas, according to Steve Erwin, the Central Region vice chair of the Trucking Association of New York.

Erwin, who foresees longer or more dangerous trips for trucks if I-81 in Syracuse is demolished, predicted during a radio interview Monday that gas prices would rise for those living south of the city if fuel haulers located in the western part of the region are forced to choose between using longer routes or congested city streets. His comments came amid a recent string of interviews with Save 81 members predicting disastrous results of a so-called community grid replacement of the highway.

“Eliminating 81, any time these vehicles have to go south of the city, the new route would be 690 to 481 and down,” Erwin told fellow Save 81 member Mark Nicotra on 570 WSYR. “That adds about 17 miles to the trip, which is 34 miles roundtrip. The costs for that are pretty extensive. Just for one company that will remain unnamed, they move about 12 (to) 15 loads a day into that area of fuel. It’s going to cost them $80,000 to $90,000 a year just for that one move.”

“That could have an effect of 3 to 4 cents per gallon on the price that people pay for gas south of the city,” Erwin added.

Those driving fuel trucks are just one subgroup of the trucking industry and other industries that rely on trucks likely to be impacted by the I-81 project. That’s why¬†TANY joined Save 81 earlier this year in support of maintaining high-speed access in Syracuse.

Erwin’s interview starts at the 11:30 mark below:

Also on Monday, Save 81 member Greg Lancette, president of the Central and Northern New York Building and Construction Trades Council, reiterated in an interview of his own that a hybrid tunnel-grid option would satisfy both sides of the I-81 debate. Save 81 has advocated for such a hybrid option.

Lancette’s interview is at the beginning of the segment below:

Last week, Save 81 member and hotelier Carmen Emmi also took to the airwaves to advocate for maintaining the high-speed access that the existing I-81 provides. In an interview with Sen. John DeFrancisco, Emmi said I-81 is vital to his business.

“It keeps me up at night because we employ 250 people at our businesses,” he said. “The thing that I fear the most is if 81 does go away and get re-routed to 481, we’re going to lose 30 to 40 percent of our business.”

Emmi’s interview begins at the 17-minute mark below: