North Country Transportation And Economic Development: Needs & Opportunities

By Economic Development Research Group, for the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC), 1999-2004

In New York State, the region north of the Adirondack Mountains and State Park is economically depressed and largely isolated from the rest of the state, yet lies along the St. Lawrence Seaway and between major economic centers of New York, Quebec and Ontario. DANC selected Economic Development Research Group (EDR Group) to define and manage its consultant studies relating to transportation and economic development. This involved three phases:

Study Design – In the first phase, staff of EDR Group worked with key stakeholders in the five-county region to define regional economic needs and transportation issues, develop a study design for evaluating the severity of those needs, and issue an RFP for consultants to carry out that study.

Regional Needs Study – In the second phase, EDR Group managed a team of consultants (including Wilbur Smith Associates and Cambridge Systematics) conducting the nearly $1 million North Country Transportation Study. EDR Group directed the consultant team's analysis efforts, which included studies of regional economic clusters, transportation conditions and documentation of economic impacts from limited transportation access. This study recommended a multi-modal transportation improvement program, which subsequently led to additional federal and state funding to further study feasibility for investment in a 200-mile corridor.

Tier 1 EIS – In the third phase, EDR Group served as technical director for the first step in a tiered Environmental Impact Study, which was the Scoping Study to define corridor-wide alternatives, impacts and opportunities, and to identify smaller projects that may be pursued independently.

A full set of study documents can be viewed and downloaded from DANC's North Country Transportation web site.

See also the summary article: Dan Hodge, Glen Weisbrod, and Arno Hart, Do New Highways Attract Businesses? The North Country (NY) Case Study. Presented at the Transportation Research Board, Annual Meeting, January 2003 and published in Transportation Research Record, 2004