Tappan Zee Bridge plans move ahead but where’s the money?

It’s hump-day, which means it’s production day at the Westchester County Business Journal, so I will keep this one short and sweet.

Yesterday the New York State Thruway Authority announced the four finalists selected to bid on the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuilding contract. The announcement comes just over a week after the state released its draft Environmental Impact Statement.

With these new developments, the Thruway Authority (which owns the bridge) and its state and federal partners have accomplished something that eluded previous administrations: that is, they have kept their promise – so far. As it stands, project coordinators still expect to award a contract by July or August and still expect construction to begin on a new bridge by the end of this year, which would be a major achievement given the length of time we have had to wait so far to see any progress whatsoever.

Now, it is time for the governor to let the public know how the bridge will be financed. With an expected price tag of $5.2 billion, the public and the four finalists are entitled to know the nitty-gritty details. In his budget address, Gov. Cuomo said funding for a new bridge would come from “authorities.” Which authorities? State or federal? Will the funding be new or will it come out of existing budgets?

Until we hear those details, I will continue to be skeptical of the governor’s plan. A new bridge is necessary and will be a huge boost to the entire region’s economy. But money doesn’t grow on trees and even the popular Mr. Cuomo can’t pull $5.2 billion out of a magic hat.

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