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Key Vote on Tappan Zee Bridge Delayed, But NY Says It Won't Slow Project Down

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) has postponed a meeting about the status of the Tappan Zee Bridge. But New York State officials are saying it won’t delay the state’s ambitious timeline to replace the span.

NYMTC is a regional planning body made up of government officials from New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. The group had scheduled a vote next week about whether to move the bridge replacement into its short-term transportation plan.  According to a NYMTC spokesperson, the vote is “part of the federally-required process that will enable the project to move forward to receive a record of decision.”

Meaning: if NYMTC doesn’t unanimously back the Tappan Zee replacement, the federal government won’t okay it — or designate any funding for the $5 billion project.

But an NYMTC email states the scheduled July 10 meeting won’t happen — at the request of the County Executives of Rockland, Putnam and Westchester counties. The council said the executives wanted more time “to review the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project.”

In an email, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said the decision to postpone the vote was common sense.

“Why would we have a vote before seeing what’s in it?” he said. “Getting as much information up front will pay big dividends in terms of building a bridge that’s affordable and meets the present and future needs of Westchester, the region, our state and our nation.”

Astorino and Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef have been vocal proponents of putting mass transit over the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

MaryEllen Odell, the Putnam County executive, called the decision to postpone the vote until the FEIS was released “good government.” “You can’t make a decision on a project until you’ve seen everything that you can possibly see,” she said, adding that she wasn’t looking for anything in specific — nor did she have any serious concerns about replacing the bridge. “It’s not really making any more of a statement other than ‘we want to see the final document’…it’s really important that this project happen. But what’s more important is that it happen the right way. This is really just about making sure that whatever we’re signing our names on to, where we’re spending taxpayer money, is a project that works fiscally (and) is environmentally responsible and sensitive to our area.”

New York State Thruway executive Thomas Madison put a positive face on the deferred vote. “The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s decision to wait for a full review of the Final Environmental Impact Statement [FEIS] before voting on the new Tappan Zee Bridge will give us time to make sure community stakeholders are fully informed and will in no way delay the project,” he said in a statement.

Officials said the FEIS could be released by the end of July.

But the FEIS won’t be light reading. (You can see a photo of the draft EIS here.) There are some 3,000 comments from members of the public, and the county executives will likely have questions about financing — and tolls.

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Comments [2]

Bruce Rosen from New York City

This is the same nonsense as fracking in any of NYS's 62 counties. The public's investment was stolen the 1st time around by the placing the Tappan Zee outside the Port Authority radius. It would have been built properly. (BTW, has anyone explained how they since got Stewart Airport?)

It's long been known that a new span must carry heavy rail, that it's critical to re-establish service up the west shore of the Hudson to Albany & that within Westchester, the line must extend to & feed into the Metro North Harlem division thru White Plains - the mid-Hudson's key employment hub - before continuing into Grand Central. Anything else is deliberate misuse of public resources. This is an an opportunity to truly revive such
communities as Newburgh & Kingston & eventually points west along the Mohawk Valley. The state's original
concentrated development pattern, established by the pre-colonial native New Yorkers, was the best one & can again be great.

There will not be another chance to do this right. Both the George Washington & Verrazano-Narrows Bridges were designed to carry 2nd decks dedicated to rail use. In both cases this engineered capability was taken for motor vehicles. Not again. They should not haul in the construction trades to say they need the jobs as was done with the city's new deeply publicly subsidized major league sports facilities. No. They need a steady state of good jobs from the right investments. We need to build for the state's future - not for transient political expediency or bondholders.

Jul. 06 2012 11:50 PM
ALEXANDER SAUNDERS from GARRISON NY

AT LAST SOME OFFICIALS ARE PUTTING THE PUBLIC NEED TO KNOW ABOVE THE POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING OF GOVERNOR CUOMO. THE FEIS MUST LOOK AT ALL REASONABLE ALTERNATIVES, LOOK AT THE REGIONAL EFFECTS OF THE PROJECT, LOOK AT THE WHOLE PROJECT NOT JUST ONE SEGMENT, PRESENT A VIABLE FINANCIAL PLAN, AND LOOK AT ALL ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS.THE REJECTED TUNNEL OPTION IS AFFORDABLE, CAN BE EXTENDED ACROSS THE ENTIRE REGION AS ORIGIONALLY DESIGNED,CLEAN THE AIR , BE BUILT WITH NO INTRUSION ON TNE HUDSON SHORES OR BOTTOM, AND MOST IMPORTANT ACOMODATE HEAVY RAIL TO ELIMINATE THE 250 MILE DETOUR FOR HEAVY FREIGHT GOING ACROSSTHE HUDSON FROM WESTCHESTER, TH. E BRONX AND LONG ISLAND.. THE TUNNEL AS DESIGNED FOR US HAS IN FACT BEEN BUILT IN SHANGHAI FOR 800 MILLION DOLLARS IN 22 MONTHS.WE DO NEED TO REPLACE THE BRIDGE USING CURRENT PROVEN TUNNEL TECHNOLOGY AND NOT WAITING FOR AN AS YET UNDESIGNED BRIDGE WTH NO POSSIBILITY OF EXTENSION OR RAIL OR AIR POLLUTION CONTROL

Jul. 06 2012 09:10 AM

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