Orange County Partnership - News

17-Forward-86 Update: Rebuilding the Hudson Valley Region, its Workforce and its Future

During these uncertain times, the people of New York State have benefitted from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s steady leadership and that of the region’s federal, state and local officials while, once again, proving remarkable resilience when they work together. 

As the Hudson Valley looks forward to accelerating into the “new normal,” it’s good to take a hard look at where the region came from and the foundation that was laid to support multi-million-dollar projects that will strengthen the economy, create jobs and protect its future.  

For three years prior to the economic shut-down, a group of community leaders including economic development professionals, citizens’ organizations, private business, labor, and elected officials banded together to support a grassroots initiative to build upgrades and a third lane along portions of Route 17 from Harriman to Liberty.  

You’ve heard about this mobilized initiative since its early beginnings in 2017 when the Orange County Partnership, the Sullivan County Partnership and the Orange County Citizens Foundation embarked on a strategy to get the attention of state government to allocate $5 million to start the preliminary engineering in an effort to get the Route 17 corridor “shovel ready.” That effort would position us for the allocation of a much bigger award when we could prove that Route 17 was ready to go. 

Back in April of 2018, we were thrilled to learn that $5 million was allocated for the engineering work along 17. Last year the DOT selected an engineering firm to begin a scoping and preliminary review process as part of the Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) study but the contracts were not finalized.  Now we learned that the contracts are being finalized for execution to allow the study to begin this spring which will lay the groundwork for moving this critical project forward.   

Now that the state is embarking on the reopening of business in New York,  rebuilding its workforce and strengthening the economy, we depend on collective innovation and powerful leadership more than ever before. Investing in our infrastructure is an essential part of the state and the Hudson Valley region’s economic recovery.

So, here’s the good news. The work that was done by 17-Forward-86 has positioned the region well to be a top priority for investment when the infrastructure stimulus package promised by the federal government passes in May. We need these infrastructure investments now more than ever before.  We are confident our leaders will look to infrastructure investment as a key driver of our economic prosperity. 

During the next few weeks we are hopeful that the decisions made by state and federal government will enhance our safety, improve our quality of life and ensure that the economic viability of Orange and Sullivan counties, the Hudson Valley and upstate NY are well-maintained for generations to come.

Together, we will continue to fight for our future.  Stay tuned for more 17FORWARD86 updates.