News 12 Westchester

A coalition advocating for the expansion of Route 17 is meeting with local realtors and investors in Orange County about the impacts of the proposal.

The coalition, called 17-Forward-86, is pushing for the addition of a third lane from Harriman all the way into Sullivan County, which would eventually become Interstate 86. The group believes that quality of life and tourism will improve upon completion of the project.

News 12 is told the coalition is asking the state Department of Transportation to allocate $5 million to begin work.

Michael Lawler, of 17-Forward-86, cites projects such as Legoland, Woodbury Commons and others that he says are great “economic engines” for the region.

“We want to support that effort and we believe we need to expand Route 17 to do that,” Lawler says.

Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of Orange County Partnership, is underscoring the importance of letting people know the traffic issues aren’t permanent.

“It is so important to spread the word that we don’t have to struggle forever with the traffic along 17 corridor. We have to make it an interstate highway. We have to add the third lane. And we have to continue to bring commerce in. It’s just critically important to stabilize our economy,” she says.

The Department of Transportation is expected to release a two-year capital plan on Feb. 15 which would detail funding for possible projects.

17-Forward-86 is hoping the expansion of Route 17 will be included.