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For Immediate Release: March 1, 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 White Plains, Westchester County

As part of the accelerated schedule for building a new Tappan Zee Bridge, the second of two public hearings was held today, the New York State Thruway Authority and New York State Department of Transportation announced. Before 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 meeting was held March 1, 2012, at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown with an open house from 4-9 p.m. with presentations at 5pm and 7 p.m. Project information and visual aids were available for review at 31 presentation boards and 10 stations where citizens were able 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.”

Congresswoman Nan Hayworth said, "Governor Cuomo knows that the reconstruction of the Tappan Zee Bridge is vital to New York’s economy and he has taken the necessary steps to ensure that the project progresses as rapidly as possible.  The new bridge will reduce congestion, provide greater safety and will include an immediate dedicated express lane, making the new bridge fully transit capable.  Under the Governor’s time line, it is clear that the new bridge will continue to be a crucial artery between Westchester and Rockland counties. I look forward to continuing my work with Governor Cuomo and putting New Yorkers back to work.”

State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer said, “Replacing the aging Tappan Zee Bridge is long overdue, and Governor Cuomo is right to take advantage of this opportunity to expedite construction and secure federal funding for this much-needed project.  Building the new bridge will create thousands of jobs in our area, restore a critical component of our infrastructure and provide a structure wide enough to accommodate future mass transit.  I share the Governor’s commitment to develop a viable off-site plan for mass transit while construction of the new bridge moves forward.”

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "The momentum for the new Tappan Zee Bridge is moving forward, and President Obama and Governor Cuomo have made it a priority for our nation and state. The critical issue of adding mass transit to the bridge in the future remains, and I will continue to advocate for it. But there is no doubt that this project will create thousands of much needed jobs in our region and help make our infrastructure safer and more stable. At this crucial stage, the public needs to remain involved, so I encourage all who wish to weigh in to attend this Thursday's public hearing,"

Assemblyman George Latimer said, "Governor Cuomo has presented a practical plan for the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge as he puts New York back on the road to recovery, creating thousands of jobs along the way. With its continuing deterioration, this essential corridor in the Hudson Valley is in dire need of help. The Governor’s proposal will build a new, safer structure for thousands of motorists in a cost-effective timeline by building a sturdy bridge and dedicating a lane for mass transit to be added in the near future. I applaud Governor Cuomo for making the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Hudson Valley communities a priority among his initiatives to rebuild the state’s economy and infrastructure."

Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli said. “I congratulate Governor Cuomo on his swift action to secure the funds to start the construction of a new and improved Tappan Zee Bridge. I know he shares my concern that we do not build a bridge that is obsolete upon completion, but rather a bridge to sustain us in the coming decades, and accommodate the need for mass-transit and heavy rail. While it would be nice to have all these at once, the reality of potential revenue sources requires us, after fifteen years of discussion, to take some action, and get New Yorkers back to work. I applaud his continued commitment to do so in a prudent, yet expeditious manner.”

Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti said, "We need to start construction of a new community friendly Tappan Zee Bridge as soon as possible."

Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman, Ken  Jenkins said “After more than a decade of debate that has led nowhere, Governor Cuomo stepped in with a sensible plan for a new Tappan Zee Bridge, proposing to build a bridge for the future by using the resources available today. The new Tappan Zee Bridge will be built with a dedicated express bus lane so that it will be able to accommodate future mass transit options when our government has the money. Furthermore, the Governor’s plan will generate thousands of jobs and much-needed economic activity. We can start planning the implementation of a mass transit system, but I am eager to see construction of the bridge begin now.”

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said, “After years of inaction, Governor Cuomo has made real progress towards replacing this deteriorating piece of infrastructure with a stronger, safer and more efficient Tappan Zee Bridge. The Governor’s accelerated plan demonstrates his commitment to creating jobs and sustainable economic development opportunities that will greatly benefit local communities in the Hudson Valley, as well as preserving this crucial artery for New Yorkers.  I congratulate the Governor on this significant progress and am eager to help him complete the next steps in building the new bridge.”

Village of Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams announced his support for the expedited process to build a new bridge.  Mayor Williams said, “I commend the cooperative effort of Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Thruway Authority, and the Federal Highway Administration as they work together to expedite the rebuilding of one of the region's most important infrastructures the Tappan Zee Bridge.”

Mayor Williams continued, “On the eve of the public hearing on the Project DEIS, I believe it is important to understand that the current project plan inevitably speeds up the construction of the new bridge but does not slow down the future incorporation of mass transit on the bridge and along the connected highway corridors east and west of the river.  The new project plan clearly does not preclude mass transit on the new bridge in the future.  The State and Federal commitment to expedite construction of a new Tappan Zee bridge at this time is fiscally prudent, will create much needed local and regional jobs, and preserves options for inclusion of mass transit in the near future.

“Everyone should see that projects like this -- both large and small -- would mean a tremendous shot-in-the-arm to New York State's economy in terms of JOBS and the equally large “multiplier effect” that are by-products of projects such as this

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.”

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 included below: 4-9pm

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 at the website 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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