Even though top officials agree they want a Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, quibbles over details, or lack thereof, have slowed down the fast tracked project. YNN's John Wagner has the story.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- "Obviously the basic source of financing will be the tolls," Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
For locals living underneath the shadows of the Tappan Zee Bridge, it's the $5 billion question. What will tolls cost to pay for the costly replacement?
One person said, "I think that anything over $7.50 would scare a lot of people."
"I'll have to have my girlfriend move to this side of the river, because at that point, it'd be too expensive. It'd be cheaper to have somebody live with me," another person said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says if perks like rapid bus transit lanes, room for trains and pedestrian walkways are added, the cost rides directly into toll rates, which currently sit at $5. Last week, local officials delayed a key vote to obtain federal funding until September when they hope to know more project details and have more answers.
“People in Westchester are asking me, what about the bridge? What's it going to cost? What are the tolls? What's it going to look like? And I go I have no idea, I'm waiting for the same information that you are,” said Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino. “So how could I be expected to vote for something without even seeing it? That's the issue."
A number of locals we spoke with say they want bus or train specific lanes, but when asked about tolls doubling or tripling to pay for it, they weren't so sure.
“We'll be just like New York City, no better than they are, right?” one person said.
Another person said, “I don't think it's worth a couple extra billion to add bus lanes. Buses should use existing lanes. Just stay to the right."
"All of the politicians now and environmentalists are asking us to be more ecological and not to take our own cars, so you can't ask us to do that if you don't provide more transportation," said another person.
When built in 1955, the Tappan Zee carried, on average, under 20,000 cars a day. Now, that number is up around 140,000 and potholes are aplenty.
"It affects everyone's pocketbook the same way, but if you can't get to work, the price of a toll is irrelevant," one person said.
"Well the bridge may be expensive, but the old bridge has been paid for 50 times over," said another.
Cuomo said, "We'll have it broken down for what the toll will go to for various options, then the people will decide."
The bridge's final environmental impact statement could be released by the end of July, carrying with it answers that could further stall or fast track the project.