“The time has come to invest real political capital in getting the replacement bridge built,” said Astorino, a Republican. “We can’t wait forever for a perfect solution.”
In a speech delivered yesterday at the Manhattan Institute’s Forum on Replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge, Astorino said that years of study and planning are doomed to failure – not because the bridge could cost $9 billion or more, but because there has been insufficient leadership from the state on this issue to overcome political, legal and environmental obstacles. This leadership, he said, must come from the governor “because he, more than anyone else, controls the levers and resources of government to get the job done.”
“My pledge to Governor Cuomo is that I am ready to stand with him,” Astorino said. “I am willing to invest whatever political capital I can bring to getting a new bridge built. But we must make the rebuilding a priority. Otherwise, the future will be filled with nothing but more expensive studies, more traffic congestion, more bureaucratic delays and more growing safety concerns.”
The three-mile long Tappan Zee Bridge, connecting Westchester and Rockland counties, was built 55 years ago. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released this fall by the three state agencies jointly conducting the Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor Project. This draft will present an analysis of potential impacts of replacing the bridge with a new 8-lane crossing that will also have separate lanes for bus rapid transit, lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as the capacity to add commuter rail.