AREA NEWSThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Tappan Zee Projects Fails to Receive Federal Funding

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Tappan Zee Bridge
Tappan Zee Bridge

Though the Tappan Zee Bridge reconstruction project’s efforts to secure about $2 billion in federal funding hit a snag last week when the government denied its request for the loan, area political officials said it’s important to remember that this federal rejection is not the end of the line.

The five projects — out of 26 applicants who submitted letters of interest — that did receive Transportation Infrastructure and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans across the country had costs total $1.65 billion. TheTappan Zee Bridge project alone requested $2 billion.

TIFIA loans can be used for comprehensive infrastructure projects with a price tag of $50 million of more. Loans cannot exceed one-third of the project’s total cost.

Rep. Nita Lowey, whose Westchester district uses the bridge as a main thoroughfare, said she’s fighting to ensure a transportation funding reauthorization bill is passed through the House and the Senate. That bill would increase the coffers of the TIFIA account used to fund projects like the bridge replacement.

“This is the perfect example of why I am fighting for a long-term, robust transportation and infrastructure investment bill,” Lowey told the Northern Westchester Examiner. “I support legislation to dramatically increase federal transportation loans for vital infrastructure projects, like Tappan Zee, which can put Americans back to work, improve our economy in the long term, and improve transportation safety.”

If Lowey at the federal level was undeterred by the TIFIA decision, County Executive Rob Astorino’s office was more concerned.

“The county was surprised by the news.  Obviously we are disappointed.  The county, region and the country desperately need a new Tappan Zee Bridge and County Executive Astorino has been leading the charge to get a new bridge built since last summer,” senior adviser Ned McCormack said. “The County Executive will continue to offer his help to Governor Cuomo to get the new bridge built.”

Though it didn’t secure the TIFIA funding this time around, it has been placed on the shortlist for a fast-tracked application process for the next round.

In a statement, Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said this is just a momentary setback.

“We are very pleased that the Tappan Zee has been placed on a short list of six projects that will undergo an expedited review process for funds immediately after federal transportation reauthorization,” he said. “We understand that in light of current financing constraints, the USDOT has prioritized smaller projects that are further along in development and required immediate financing in this first round.”

The bridge replacement project has long been debated, with some proposals calling for massive overhauls such as the introduction of mass transit links to RocklandC ounty and other, more modest options.


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