Tappan Zee Bridge replacement is a "big-ticket" project
Governor Andrew Cuomo has described replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge as a pressing need for the state. The question now for state officials, Christian Farrell tells us, is paying for it.
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TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- If all goes according to plan, work will begin on replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge by the end of the year. That much, state officials say, is certain. What's uncertain right now is where the financing for the $5.2 billion project is going to come from.
"The financial plan itself is still being developed, and it's being looked at in the context in all the other needs of the Thruway Authority," said New York State Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison.
Madison fields bridge questions during a public forum Thursday in Tarrytown. He says the recent rejection by the federal government of a $2 billion loan application shouldn't be considered a red flag for this project.
"It was always intended that this will be a publicly financed project - so the centerpiece of the project will certainly be paid for by the Thruway Authority in our toll-backed bonds," said Madison.
A bridge toll hike to help pay for the new Tappan Zee Bridge hasn't been confirmed or denied by state officials. But one other contentious bridge issue is the absence of a mass transit option in the replacement bridge's design.
"All of the data and studies from the state, actually as recent as October 2010, show that to the improve the mobility of this corridor, transit needs to a part of the new bridge," said Veronica Vanterpool of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign
In time, Madison says that might be the case.
"It's important to note it's a highway bridge reconstruction project that will not preclude future transit options," said Madison.
Options that currently are unaffordable for this project according to Madison. A project that still requires among other things - a lot of financial backing.