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Riverkeeper urges that substance, not promises drive Tappan Zee Bridge project vote


Tappan Zee Bridge. Photo by Rob Friedman.
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Contact: Tina Posterli, 516-526-9371, [email protected]

Calls on county executives to demand financial and mass transit plans, before NYMTC vote

Ossining, NY – August 17, 2012 – Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam County Executives stated yesterday that they will support Governor Cuomo’s proposed new Tappan Zee bridge at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) meeting next month based on promises, made to them privately by state officials, to create a mass transit task force and seek ways to soften a projected near-tripling of tolls associated with the project.

Following is a statement by Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper:

“The county executives had, before yesterday, declined to sign off on the Governor’s plan. They should stick to their guns and demand details about how the bridge will be financed, how much tolls would increase, how mass transit would be provided for and whether construction would impermissibly impact the Hudson River.

“Yesterday’s press event didn’t provide the information we need on these crucial topics. One editorial published in the wake of yesterday’s event observed that we in the Hudson Valley still ‘anxiously await details’ on tolls, project financing and mass transit plans. Valley residents deserve to know those details before their county executives vote for this project.

“At their press conferences, the county executives admitted that many questions remain unanswered. The Governor should address such issues as:

  • Why is a NYMTC vote being sought when a detailed financing plan, promised for months, has yet to be made public?
  • When will the Governor give us the details on his mass transit task force, alluded to by the county execs, so that drivers who can’t afford tripled tolls will know whether they’re ever likely to have a transit option.
  • Now that the State has cancelled hearings, scheduled for earlier this week, on the project’s impacts to the river, when will the State explain to the public how these severe impacts to endangered species and the Hudson River environment will be avoided during construction?

“With a five billion dollar investment hanging in the balance, Riverkeeper urges the Putnam, Rockland and Westchester county executives to demand that a proper, detailed financial plan for the new Tappan Zee Bridge be made public, before the NYMTC meeting at which their historic votes for this unprecedented project will be cast. They have an obligation to the Hudson Valley and their constituents to vote ‘yes’ only with a solid, detailed fiscally responsible plan in hand. They must not proceed on a promise and a prayer. This project is too complex and too important for that. The public deserves to know all of the details they ‘anxiously await,’ before the project is approved.”

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