FULL LETTER: Tappan Zee Funding Request Approved

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NY State finally has the local approval it needs to request federal funds to complete the $5.2 billion construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge spanning the Hudson river north of New York City.

After a unanimous vote this morning of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Council, here's the letter from NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo to U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.

Our NY reporter Jim O'Grady was at the event with Cuomo and will file a full report soon.


Letter Follows Unanimous NYMTC Vote to Approve Governor?s Plan For a New

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos,
Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef,
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Westchester County Executive
Rob Astorino, today signed a new letter of intent to U.S. Secretary of
Transportation Ray LaHood to apply for federal funding to build a new
bridge to replace the Tappan Zee. The letter formally initiates New York's
application for funding under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and
Innovation Act (TIFIA) program and came after the members of the New York
Metropolitan Transit Council (NYMTC) unanimously voted to support Governor
Cuomo?s plan to build a new bridge.  To view the Governor?s letter go to

?Today we are one step closer to building a new, safer bridge that will
revitalize the Hudson Valley by creating thousands of jobs,? said Governor
Cuomo. ?After over a decade of delay caused by political dysfunction, this
letter demonstrates that we are making real progress towards constructing a
stronger, transit-ready bridge that will reduce congestion and be safer for
drivers for years to come. Over the past few months, members of my
administration have met with residents and business owners throughout the
Hudson Valley to ensure that this process is as transparent and inclusive
as possible. I applaud Majority Leader Skelos, Speaker Silver, and the
Hudson Valley County Executives for their leadership and dedication to New

Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "A new Tappan Zee Bridge means
thousands of new jobs for the Hudson Valley, less congestion and a better
quality of life for the people who travel this span every day. I applaud
Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this important project, and for his
vision of what is possible here in New York. Senate Republicans will
continue to work with him to turn this state around, as we did on the
design-build legislation which contributed to moving this project forward."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking
critical steps to advance one of the most complex public transportation
projects New York State has undertaken in many years. I am looking forward
to further details as the project progresses that will consider the
concerns of residents, commuters, local businesses, and government
officials to safeguard travelers, eliminate traffic congestion, and provide
future mass transit options. This is a significant investment in the
region's economy that will result in the creation of tens of thousands of
jobs for hard working men and women, and I commend the Governor for his

This letter represents a significant step in the process to build a new,
stronger, safer bridge that will last 100 years. Last fall, President Obama
granted Governor Cuomo?s request to expedite the process of constructing a
new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee and to make the project a priority.
Governor Cuomo also partnered with the legislative leaders to pass a
design-build law that will be used to streamline and prevent cost overruns
of building a new bridge.  The Governor presented a plan for a new bridge
that will be safer for drivers, create better options and faster service
for bus commuters, be transit-ready for rail or bus rapid transit, and
create 45,000 new jobs in the Hudson Valley.  Just last month, Governor
Cuomo released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the new
bridge project.  The FEIS was compiled by a dozen state and federal
agencies responding to over 3,000 comments from the public.

The NYMTC vote signifies an agreement between local officials from New York
City, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley to seek federal approval for
the Tappan Zee bridge replacement project.  The New York Metropolitan
Transportation Council (NYMTC) is a federally-required regional council of
governments that provides a collaborative transportation planning forum for
New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley.  NYMTC, pursuant to
federal law, serves as the region?s Metropolitan Planning Organizations
(MPO).  A core requirement for receiving and spending federal
transportation funds is that states follow the prescribed
federally-required metropolitan and statewide planning processes.

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee said, ?I am very encouraged by the willingness
of the Governor's office to listen to the concerns of the community about
this important project that will improve public safety and present
opportunities for economic development in our region.?

Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef said, ?I am pleased that we
are moving ahead with a new safer bridge that will be built for tomorrow
and will be able to accommodate mass transit.  I applaud Governor Cuomo's
commitment to this project and to working with the Hudson Valley community
in order to make this process go forward.?

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said, ?This project is more than
likely one of the largest projects that New Yorkers will be undertaking as
far as transportation infrastructure projects.  American history tells us
that it is these types of projects that helped our nation climb out the
Great Depression. The common goal I share today with my colleagues is to
get our families back to work or keep them working. As Putnam County
Executive I would like to applaud Governor Cuomo for his genuine
demonstration of good faith and leadership in working with County
Executives Astorino and Vanderhoef and myself in making sure that this
project move forward with as much information as possible, and I look to
The New York State Legislature to make sure the fiscal oversight is place
in order to keep this project on track.?

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino said, ?Today marks an
important step in building a new Tappan Zee Bridge. Challenges await us,
but we are moving forward - unified in our commitment to give our counties,
state and country a bridge that creates jobs, strengthens our economy,
protects the environment and leaves a legacy we can be proud of.?

New Yorkers can see toll options, submit questions and concerns about the
project through www.NewNYBridge.com or call the toll free number,
855-TZBRIDGE. The website also features videos of the community meetings
and a database of all documents created over the last 10 years on the
Tappan Zee Bridge. A Twitter account has been set up for Tappan Zee
project, and New Yorkers can receive updates by following @NewNYBridge.