Cuomo: State exploring ‘alternative financing’ for Tappan Zee Bridge

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The state is looking at “alternative financing” options to pay for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge, including the possibility of using public and private pension funds to help finance the project, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview today.

Cuomo’s comments came after the Wall Street Journal reported the governor’s office had a meeting last week with labor leaders, who have pitched the idea of lending $1 billion to $2 billion from a group of private and public pension funds to help pay for construction projects, such as the Tappan Zee.

“The state doesn’t have enough money to do this either with cash or its balance sheet, so let’s find alternative financing for … projects that can be financed separately, such as the Tappan Zee Bridge,” Cuomo said on Talk 1300 AM in Albany this morning. “There are a number of possibilities for financing, and we’re talking to everyone. There are state pension funds, there are city pension funds, there are labor pension funds, there are private sector equity funds and debt funds.

“So it’s really the exploration of additional financing to stimulate the economy, and that’s what I’ve been doing aggressively,” he added.

Cuomo said pursuing non-traditional ways of financing the Tappan Zee and other projects will be necessary to avoid future deficits. In his first year in office, Cuomo and the Legislature closed a $10 billion deficit this year, and the governor’s budget office projects a $3 billion to $3.5 billion gap for the next fiscal year.

“Don’t approach this as a budget issue. It’s a jobs, economy issue,” he said. “If we don’t approach it that way, I will be dealing with budget deficits for the rest of my term and the next term will deal with budget deficits also.”

While the state is exploring several different options, Cuomo said all of them would keep the state as the owner of the Tappan Zee, ruling out any sort of sale of the bridge or leaseback agreement.

“We are looking at a variety of options, but they all have ownership staying with the state,” Cuomo said. “The question is, can you segregate that revenue stream from the Tappan Zee, which is also complicated.”

“But it’s very premature, but that’s the kind of thinking we’re doing, and that’s the kind of thinking I want for next year,” Cuomo said.

Estimates for replacing the bridge start at around $5 billion, Cuomo said. But Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and other officials have been pushing for a public rail option to be included, which would push the cost much higher.

(Photo by Tania Savayan, The Journal News)

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3 Comments

  1. They ain’t donating anything. Let a cabal of billionaires build the bridge, pay the salaries, and collect the tolls. They’d jump at the deal and they’d pay taxes to NY on their profits and, unlike with the present situation, the State would force them to hold the tolls down

  2. “….Alternative Financing!…”…. Why are the Politicians of New York (like the one nabbed by the FBI from Brooklyn type moving forward who may have made Millions getting The Carnivals in Small Towns Permit? Well! $700,000 was paid for getting property.I learned reading the Federal Charges and How it works representing People and Public Trust. A lot, is done in cash…Like that $700,000 BRIBE!

    WELL, no doubt why these People never talk even in Town Hall Meetings.. to anyone but themselves!

    And, who exactly protecting the corrupts and corruptions, I am sure The FBI is watching !
    Again, I think we must find ways to enhance the Scope of The FBI. It’s like very important for Our Federal System of Goverance! Now! Put the blindfilds back! (Joke)!

    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller.