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For Immediate Release; February 28, 2012

State Holds Public Hearings on Building a New Tappan Zee Bridge as Part of Accelerated Construction Schedule
Elected Leaders and Advocates Express Support for Building a New Bridge at Public Hearing in West Nyack, Rockland County

As part of the accelerated schedule for building a new Tappan Zee Bridge, the first of two public hearings was held today in West Nyack, Rockland County, the New York State Thruway Authority and New York State Department of Transportation announced.

At the hearing, elected leaders and advocates expressed support for the State's plan to build a new bridge that will create tens of thousands of jobs, increase safety for 138,000 daily commuters, and is designed to support bus and rail transit.

Planning for the old bridge project had lasted over a decade and included over 430 public meetings and $88 million spent on studies. Governor Cuomo's accelerated schedule for building a new Tappan Zee Bridge has resulted in the completion of several critical steps in a matter of months including issuing a draft environmental impact statement and selecting a short list of bidders for the project.

The open meetings address the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project. The sessions are sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority.

The next meeting will be held Thursday, March 1, 2012, at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown. An open house is slated from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., with presentations at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Project information will be available for review and citizens are invited to meet with staff, ask questions, and provide oral and written comments on the project.

Congressman Eliot Engel said, "The Tappan Zee Bridge is a vital project for the area, the region and the nation. While its economic effects are widespread, the immediate effect is on the people of Rockland and Westchester Counties. The Department of Transportation is performing a great service in holding public hearings in both counties to allow these people to have their say in the rebuilding of the bridge."

Congresswoman Nita Lowey remarked, "Rebuilding the Tappan Zee Bridge is critical for enhancing the safety of motorists, creating well-paying jobs, and meeting the transportation needs of our growing region. I am pleased President Obama expedited permitting and environmental review for the new bridge, and I stand ready to work with Governor Cuomo and the Congressional delegation to ensure the federal government continues to do its part to facilitate this important project."

State Senator David Carlucci said, "I thank the Governor for taking on the Tappan Zee Bridge project, which had gone stale from endless discussions, and turning it into a reality through decisive leadership. Fast-tracking the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge after years of planning will provide New Yorkers with much needed jobs and bring economic growth for our region and beyond. With an immediate dedicated express lane, New Yorkers can look forward to full transit capability and I look forward to breaking ground on the new Tappan Zee Bridge with Governor Cuomo."

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe noted, "In the interest of public safety, our best option is to move forward with the Tappan Zee Bridge construction as soon as possible, allowing for all the legal steps for review. Without this new bridge, there will be no mass transit and I am confident that when the state's economy improves there will be opportunity to provide an additional full bus rapid transit system or other transportation options that will go through Rockland and Westchester counties. My highest priority is that the state and our local communities collaborate in order to achieve the most positive possible outcomes for our county and the river villages most impacted, especially South Nyack, which lost over 100 homes and its commercial center during the first Tappan Zee Bridge construction. We must find common ground in order emerge from this process with better economic opportunities for South Nyack, Rockland and the corridor, while safeguarding our precious Hudson River."

Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski said, "The public hearings on the new Tappan Zee Bridge demonstrate that we are moving full steam ahead with the goal of breaking ground later this year. I applaud the Governor's commitment to ensure that the new bridge project is fast tracked and has the full capacity of mass transit for the future. This project is critical to our aging infrastructure and will invigorate our regional economy by creating thousands of jobs."

Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell said, "A new river crossing that addresses and corrects the substandard structural, operational, mobility, safety and security features of the existing bridge is essential for the future economic well-being of Rockland and the lower Hudson Valley. Governor Cuomo found a way to jump start and accelerate the bridge project. I look forward to working with him to ensure a bridge that is not only visually beautiful, but also maximizes the public investment by planning for mass transit when funds become available."

John A. Corlett, Legislative Committee Chair, AAA New York State Inc. said,"This is a vital project not only for New York State, but a project of regional and national significance. The existing traffic choked bridge is near the end of its useful life. A new bridge will assure regional mobility, mitigate traffic congestion and enhance the safety for the traveling public. We commend Governor Cuomo, for moving this critical project forward in an expedited fashion, and making replacement of this outdated bridge a priority for quick action."

Rockland County Business Association President Al Samuels noted, "Based on the assessment of the project's limited funding opportunities for the foreseeable future, the decision to exclude the complete build out of a mass transit program was a wise decision. Based on the reality of the funding that is now available, the new Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project will not preclude the planning, design, construction or consideration of future transit modes through the Tappan Zee corridor."

Jan Degenshein, Chair, Rockland County Business Association, architect and planner added, "The bridge and corridor process stalled last year due to one critical impediment – the lack of 17 billion dollars of funding. Last fall, federal seed money was identified, and bridge construction can now fast track, with the stipulation that the construction cost will not exceed $5 to $6 billion; and mass transit would be implemented at a later date. It is ironic that many who initially opposed mass transit are now threatening to thwart the construction process unless a rail element will operate immediately upon ribbon cutting of the new span. In response, the public has now received further assurances from Governor Andrew Cuomo: from the outset, the proposed bridge will be structurally engineered to accommodate future rail transit, which can then more easily be implemented once all environmental and funding issues along the 30-mile corridor will have been resolved.

"By constructing the bridge in this 'critical path' manner, a safer, more efficient crossing will occur sooner; construction jobs with collateral economic benefits will be introduced to the region when most needed; long-term regional economic growth will be promoted, along with quality of life benefits to the counties on both shores of the Hudson; a more responsible environmental solution will have been achieved; and we will also accomplish a head start on the ultimate goal of incorporation of mass transit. With the commitment to support the additional moving loads associated with mass transit, all stakeholders serve to benefit from an earlier construction date; and an earlier completion date. For generations to come, Albany and Washington got this one right!"

Kendra L. Adams, President NYS Motor Truck Association, said, "We are pleased that the primary focus of this project will address the immediate need for a new bridge to carry passenger and commercial vehicles across the Hudson River. This is a main thoroughfare for the trucking industry, providing a vital economic link between New England, New York City and Long Island and the rest of the Northeast.

"We applaud the State of New York for their decision to proceed with the critical bridge replacement, while still preserving the ability to address the needs of other modes of transportation in the future."

Information for the meeting in Westchester County, on Thursday, March 1, is below:

Westchester Marriott
Grand Ballroom
670 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591

Persons with special needs should call (917) 339-0488.

More information about the project, including the DEIS, is available www.thenewtzb.com . The email is info@newnybridge.com.

Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor

New York State
Thruway Authority

Federal Highway
Administration

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