The White Plains Examiner

Astorino, Odell and Vanderhoef Back Governor’s Plan for Bridge

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County executives (left to right) MaryEllen Odell of Putnam, Rob Astorino of Westchester and Scott Vanderhoef of Rockland announced their support for the governor's plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge on Thursday.

Plans to build a new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee gained momentum Thursday, as three local county executives announced their support for the project.

In a press conference in Sleepy Hollow, Rob Astorino of Westchester, MaryEllen Odell of Putnam and Scott Vanderhoef of Rockland said they support the project and planned to vote to include it in the region’s long-term transportation plan at the next New York Metropolitan Transportation Council meeting.

“Today signals our unified commitment to getting the Tappan Zee replacement bridge built,” Astorino said Thursday, with the Tappan Zee serving as his backdrop. “And the process, as you know, has been a long one, over a decade with a lot of money spent, a lot of studies, and to the governor’s credit he has decided to do what we have been advocating for a very long time and that is to get a new bridge built. But we also had some concerns about the new bridge and how fast it was going with questions that were unanswered.”

Astorino had previously been hesitant to fully endorse Governor Cuomo’s plans for a new bridge, saying any design should have mass transit in place when the bridge opens. The governor’s framework (the specifics of the proposal depend on which bidder ends up being awarded the project) called for a dedicated bus lane and stated the bridge would have the capability for bus rapid transit or light rail in the future.

Astorino said his support was based on these conditions as well as the promise that a Regional Transit Task Force be created to study the options for a regional transit system to connect Rockland and Westchester. The task force will issue recommendations on short-term and long-term plans in one year, Astorino said.

“We wanted assurances that the needs of this region were going to be met, and that we were going to have a task force with teeth in it,” he continued.”We’re going to make sure – and we have a deadline of one year – that the task force will report back what options are available and where we will proceed.”

Additionally, Astorino asked that incentives be created for contractors to encourage savings.

To qualify for federal funds the project needs a unanimous vote from the NYMTC, making approval from the three county executives crucial.


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