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Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement Picked for Federal Fast Track

Cuomo: Construction could begin as soon as next year.

President Barack Obama has announced that the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge has been selected as one of 14 projects that will get a fast track review at the federal level.

Obama launched a competition for states to submit their high priority, job-creating projects in order to win expedited federal approvals, and New York submitted the Tappan Zee project. With an expedited federal review of the Environmental Impact Statement and the processing of permits, the Tappan Zee project could begin as early as next year, potentially creating more jobs than any other infrastructure project in the country, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“The Tappan Zee Bridge is a vital part of our state and region’s infrastructure,” Cuomo said. “The Tappan Zee Bridge project improves a key component of our state and nation’s infrastructure, and at the same time puts tens of thousands of New Yorkers back to work.”

In a press release reacting to the news, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison), said, “I am pleased the Tappan Zee Bridge is one of 14 high-priority projects that will benefit from expedited permitting and environmental review, which will help to begin construction of a new bridge soon.  Reconstruction of the Tappan Zee—which is critical for commuters and travelers—will accelerate local job creation while maintaining and improving a critical link in our region’s transportation network."

 The project, including necessary changes to the New York State Thruway in Westchester and Rockland counties, is expected to cost more than $16 billion.

“I urge the federal government to expedite approval for this important project which will create tens of thousands of jobs,” said state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. “Major investments in infrastructure are exactly what New York needs to jump-start our economy and restore safety to heavily traveled bridges and other arteries. I commend Governor Cuomo and Senator Fuschillo, the Chairman of the Senate's Transportation Committee, for their leadership on this critical project.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said that with support from the federal government, New York will be able to begin work on the Tappan Zee Bridge, ensuring this critical part of the Northeast’s infrastructure remains safe and reliable.

“Investments of this size have the potential to transform the region’s economy, create jobs, and renew confidence in our state’s economic revitalization,” Silver said. “Governor Cuomo has shown true leadership in rebuilding New York’s economy and I look forward to continuing to work together on critical infrastructure projects and creating jobs in our state.”

About 135,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily with upwards of 160,000 vehicles on some weekends, with a total of approximately 45 million vehicles in 2010.

Over the last 20 years, the Tappan Zee has shown significant deterioration, according to state officials, who note that with seven narrow lanes and no safety shoulders, the Tappan Zee has an accident rate double the rest of the New York Thruway system. The bridge is also vulnerable to severe storms, ship collisions and earthquakes.

A final design for the bridge and its connections has not yet been selected, with the scope of the project varying depending on whether a rail transportation component is included.

Theresa Kump Leghorn October 12, 2011 at 06:58 PM
George (BTW I appreciate that you use your real name!), I think Meredith expressed my feeling: Even assuming the jobs created by a finite project are temporary, they are still jobs and will boost the economy, because those people will be able to spend money on goods and services that they couldn't purchase before. And no job is truly permanent. Even a college degree no longer guarantees that you will be employed.
Billy October 12, 2011 at 08:58 PM
Not for nothing, but the Journal News is reporting that the cost of the bridge is no longer $16 Billion but $5.2 Billion, $3 Billion from toll revenue & $2.2 Billion from the Feds. Knowing that this bridge has needed replacement for about 10 years, I bet the Thruway Authority's been socking away the cash to pay for it all, NOT.
Kevin Zawacki (Editor) October 12, 2011 at 09:14 PM
It would be $5.2 billion without mass transit-- our newest story here: http://nyack.patch.com/articles/what-does-an-expedited-new-tz-bridge-mean-for-nyack
Heron October 12, 2011 at 09:28 PM
UGH. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. A new bridge with no mass transit is the WORST of all outcomes. More clogging traffic on the streets of Tarrytown. Enough to make you cry.
George Datino October 13, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Again, I am not saying this is a bad thing. I applaud the opportunity that people will have a chance to do something productive and earn money. It simply is a matter of definition. First, I don't view "Jobs" in this context as a position held by one particular person but more of the position itself that will probably be held by mutliple people over the life of the position. The job to the individual might not be permanent but the position itself will have a longer life than the amount of time one person will hold it. I kinda view this as a hose attached to a water tower. In this case, the water tower is dry and nothing coming out the end of the hose. Of course, without water coming out of the hose, you can't sustain life. We then fill up the water tower with water and water starts coming out the end of the hose again. Life can now be sustained and everything is good. However, unless you put something in place to replenish the water, sooner or later the water runs dry in the tower and nothing comes out the end of the hose and everything dies again.So in the end, did you really create anything? No and to make claims that you did is false. Again, I am not saying the replacement project is bad. I simply would call it stimulus as opposed to Job Creation. Just a matter of semantics.
Harry Nolan III October 13, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Responding to ASleepBoy; Tolls were (since time) used as revenue to pay for the said construction and maintenance. Once the State/Federal ect recoups it's expenditure the toll (intended reality) would be removed? "NOT" always a politician finding a way around this and putting the money elsewhere. As for the Senior citizen living in a condo & referring to her peace..Anyone with an ounce of intelligence would do their Due Dillegence and plan on a bridge at their door eventually needing replacement & or repairs. If the poster was to go back in time, Tarrytown and the greater Nyacks were linked via a ferry....Then the idea was proposed to bringe back the ferry & the citizen's fought tooth and nail not to bring it back. This would have eased the traffic and perhaps lengthen the life's span of the bridge. This bridge was an unsafe structure from the minute the first car was allowed to travel across (circa 1950's). Public records and safety reports will bare witness!!!!
Harry Nolan III October 13, 2011 at 01:01 PM
I concur, Salsbery Manor (sp) So.Nyack was built after the bridge, when the condos were sold people bought them up in a fury for about $16,000 per unit. So like someone else pointed out don't buy a home near an airport is noise is a concern. I'm a senior citizen and would be more then happy to purchase this Senior Lady's unit I won't mind the noise knowing that in 5-ten yrs the noise will cease and the property values will increase. Math and figures are a wonderful tool?
Victoria Ficco-Panzer October 13, 2011 at 01:23 PM
I have no objection to repairing the present bridge...no one with an ounce of intelligence would build a bridge to only last 50 years!
Scott Walters October 13, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Fast track my bottom!
Walt October 13, 2011 at 03:18 PM
...or a photo op (Solyndra) however NY will no doubt go for him in 2012 with or without the bridge. Why they wouldn't put in a rail link is beyond me. All 0bama's talk about green jobs and the environment is all BS.
Francis T McVetty October 13, 2011 at 03:34 PM
Victoria Ficco-Panzer, the bridge can not be repaired constantly. There comes a time when it costs more to repair it, than replacing it. Any mechanical device has a finite life. That finite life has come has come to an end.
Francis T McVetty October 13, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Heron, "More clogging traffic on the streets of Tarrytown". really? How would a new bridge be any different than the old bridge in regards to traffic?
phyllis segura October 13, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Traffic is people moving. If you don't want people in Tarrytown change something. To keep repairing the current bridge is not sensible and won't work as it is in really BAD shape. I hope you are not on it when it collapses. Keep your eyes and ears open when they start the design process to avoid another 50 year planned obsolescence story. However, most people don't know much about building bridges so the conversation would most likely be about other topics. We should just make sure it's at least as terrific as the Brooklyn Bridge!
Francis T McVetty October 13, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Have ANY plans been finalized, or will we have to wait years for them like other projects? There is only one Brooklyn Bridge, that's why it is sold all the time.[wink]
Meredith Lesly October 13, 2011 at 06:56 PM
George, some classes of jobs are permanent in the way you describe. Others are for a fixed duration. I'm fairly sure that construction workers think of themselves as having jobs. Unfortunately, certain terms have been co-opted by the far right, which makes it hard to have a rational discussion. Use the word "stimulus" and you'll have someone ranting about how the last stimulus didn't work. (That's in part because the ARRA was intended for more than just job creation and in part because no one knew how severe the 2008 recession was until the revised numbers came out recently.) Likewise, the GOP have renamed the wealthy to "job creators", for example, even though many of them don't create jobs, not to mention that there are many non-wealthy people who do create jobs. So I wish it were only semantics. It should be.
Meredith Lesly October 13, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Why shouldn't Obama take credit? If it had been rebuilt when it should have been, Bush would have taken the credit.
Meredith Lesly October 13, 2011 at 06:59 PM
"Why can't the Feds. speed up the permitting process for all projects? They seem to be more of an impediment these days." Look what happens when they do speed things up. They get trashed. Not exactly motivating.
Meredith Lesly October 13, 2011 at 07:01 PM
If you read about the TZ, or Laborer 754 above, you'd know why the bridge was built to last only 50 years.
Blue October 13, 2011 at 08:29 PM
No Meredith I'm not expecting. I was just stating that one of my concerns is that the gov is in charge of the project. That is probably why it has taken so long to date. It is probably why it has cost 60million so far and they haven't picked an actual bridge design. On top of that I look at how far 287 has gone over budget ( most of which was because the original bid specs given by the state were way off so constant changes were made) and I just don't trust any budgetary cost they use. Private companies rarely tollerate such incompetance . I was just wishing out loud! Although the NJTP model of financing could be looked at. A seperate entity from the NYS DOT bonding it out. Maybe
Blue October 13, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Construction workers have jobs. Lately they just don't have any work!! Stimulus created work but not many jobs.
Bjorn Olsson October 13, 2011 at 08:41 PM
One would argue that construction work is ALWAYS project based. The whole industry is based on "work" rather than "jobs", to use your definitions.
Meredith Lesly October 13, 2011 at 10:27 PM
And yet, oddly enough, people here have whined about how private construction companies are mismanaging 287 and ripping off the government. As to "Private companies rarely tollerate such incompetance," they certain do if they're making a profit on the incompetence.
Meredith Lesly October 13, 2011 at 10:34 PM
Blue, sorry, but you're wrong. Construction jobs fell 6.2% in 2008, 17.3% in 2009, and 8.5% in 2010. So, no, they don't have jobs.
Bob Zahm October 13, 2011 at 10:50 PM
@ASleepyBoy - taking the contrarian view - People who chose to live near the bridge have benefited from it for years. It's also been clear for a long time that the bridge would need to be re-built. Hey, I assume some people are still in the same places they occupied when the bridge was built and it was planned to have a 50 year life. Short point - you choose where you live based on conditions and future expectations. Why should I subsidize your choice? Ditto someone living in a flood plain. Heck, I have a great view of I-95, but bought knowing the noise it generates. Should I be compensated for additional noise when road work is done? I think not.
greg georgi October 17, 2011 at 01:27 PM
It seems to me that we all know we need to build a new bridge, we've been repairing this one since the first truck went across it. We need to make sure it has mass transit capability, even if it will take us twenty more years to get the link to Suffern built. Despite some peoples scoffing, we also need to have bicycle and pedestrian capability, the numbers of those users may be small at first but a bicycle ride and train commute into N.Y.C. would be cost competitive as well as healthy. Bonus ,Bicycle rental business in Tarrytown,weekenders from the city enjoy the ride to Nyack and enjoy the rail trail to Piermont or Haverstraw. Envision the possibilities instead of arguing whether Obama gets the credit, the government is going to build it or whether it's going to be dirty during the build (it will be). It's been twenty years approx. we've already been vetching about it we've got a good chance to get it built, we need it so stay involved and lets try to do it right this time.
Francis T McVetty October 17, 2011 at 02:13 PM
Greg, again, we are NOT living in Europe where bicycling is a way of life. Can you envision people commuting to work by bicycle? What distances would you think they would travel, 20- 30 miles? How many of these people do you think there are? We have had enough people commit suicide from the present bridge and it doesn't allow pedestrian or bicycle traffic now. A train track YES, pedestrians and bicycles, NO.
jo October 17, 2011 at 02:24 PM
787 billion taken from us.. and the bridge was not talked about.. oh brother.. get the money and keep the gov out of it..all of it.... makes my blood boil.. the bridge is gonna come down.. stay off of it...
Scott Walters October 17, 2011 at 02:28 PM
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in VA is a perfect example of the private sector doing a great thing with infrastructure. Perhaps we need that model for more of our roads.
Hans Morefield October 17, 2011 at 06:00 PM
I'm an avid bicyclist, but I agree that a bike path over the TappanZee might not be that worthwhile for a number of reasons: (1) it's a long ride across; (2) it will have a big hill to climb; and (3) it doesn't connect two busy areas. The GW bridge works because it is shorter and because you're linking two more densely-populated areas: Manhattan/Upper Manhattan and Fort Lee. There are bikers and walkers that commute via the GW Bridge. There will be very, very few for the TZ. Personally, I would love to be able to bike across and would do it if I could, but I can't justify the expense. Room for a train is a MUST, MUST, MUST. What a waste it would be to not support mass-transit. I don't buy the suicide issue... that's true for all bridges whether you can walk or bike or not.
Hans Morefield October 17, 2011 at 06:06 PM
I think the $787 refers to the TARP program. Not sure what TARP has to do with a bridge, but most of the TARP money was paid back (all the money paid to the banks has been paid back and the Govt even made money on those "investments"; not the money to AIG) and I think most economists, etc. view TARP as a success. Averted a financial meltdown. Also, TARP wasn't partisan. It was proposed by the Bush administration, supported by both parties (probably more Democrats) to pass Congress, and largely administered by the current administration.

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