About Us

Who We Are

17-Forward-86 is a Coalition that represents the diverse interests of stakeholders in Sullivan County, Orange County and beyond who understand that expanding Route 17 is vital to quality of life and the economic well-being of the Hudson Valley and Sullivan Catskills.

The proposed expansion of Route 17 will strengthen the region’s economy by improving access for tourists and businesses while enhancing commuter safety and reducing environmental damage from vehicular emissions caused by idling motorists. The expansion will also improve quality of life for residents who face increased traffic on side roads as a result of commuters trying to get around Route 17’s congestion.

Why Now?

The 2013 Route 17 Transportation Corridor Study noted that the existing congestion and delays on Route 17 will worsen over the near- and long-term, and that the volume of development along the corridor necessitates an additional lane/added capacity.

Projections by the Cornell Program of Applied Demographics indicate that Sullivan County’s population will grow to more than 79,000 in 2020 and Orange County’s to more than 400,000, further increasing traffic along the corridor.

The continued growth of tourism is steadily increasing traffic. Sullivan County receives 4 million visitors annually, which is expected to increase to 8 million by the end of 2020. Currently, the population climbs to over 350,000 during the summer months and by an additional 50,000 on any given weekend.

New York State has invested $150 million in reconfiguring Route 17’s Exit 131 and expanding the roadway’s capacity is an important next step for the region.

Infrastructure is a national priority and investing in infrastructure is vital for continued economic growth across the region.

Did You Know?

Route 17 is the transit epicenter of the region and its inability to meet driver demand negatively affects everything from economic development and tourism, to public safety and population growth/retention.

Expanding and modernizing Route 17 is critical to the long-term economic well-being of the region and will lay the foundation for enhanced local and long-distance travel, as well as enhanced business recruitment and retention.

Extending Route 17 to Interstate 86 stands to generate $82 million in additional state sales tax revenue for the State of New York over the next decade.

“Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley, USA” was among only two US destinations trending on Airbnb for 2019 and it is imperative that these and future travelers have a positive experience that makes them want to return. The Sullivan Catskills are also lauded by Fodor’s as one of the “hottest destinations in upstate New York” and ranked second on Lonely Planet’s “Top 10 regions to visit in 2019.”

What’s Next?

17-Forward-86 is requesting the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to allocate $500 million to bring the project to fruition.

NYSDOT has invested $5 million to conduct a Planning and Environmental Linkage Study (PEL), which includes identifying priority locations, conducting environmental assessments and preliminary engineering.

Coalition Members