The (expected) new executive director of the Thruway Authority said today he’s hopeful the state can move forward with construction of a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge as soon as “late Summer,” though it’s not clear where the money will come from to cover the expected $5 billion price tag.
Thomas Madison, who was tapped by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to handle the authority’s day-to-day operations and is expected to be confirmed by the Senate today, faced questions earlier today from the Senate Corporations, Commissions and Authorities Committee.
Most of the questions focused on the state’s plans for a new Tappan Zee span between Rockland and Westchester counties. The Thruway Authority — along with the state Department of Transportation — is currently handling a “request for qualifications” from construction companies for the construction project.
Madison said the Thruway Authority is “working to bring (the Tappan Zee project) on line at some point this summer.” And as of now, the state is planning on footing the bill.
“At this moment in time, we don’t have the legal statutory allowance in New York state to do public-private partnership as they are technically defined in transportation projects,” Madison said. “So right now, the plan is that the Tappan Zee Bridge will be a publicly financed project.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pushed public-private partnerships for some time, choosing to devote much of his second State of the State address to the idea of attracting private investment. But, according to Madison, legislation would likely have to be passed to allow for something like that with the Tappan Zee.
Madison, a Binghamton native who formerly served as the state Department of Transportation commissioner, is one of four expected to be confirmed when the Senate convenes today. Others are Joe Lhota as MTA commissioner, Gil Quiniones as president of the New York Power Authority, and Agnes Gund as a member of the Council of the Arts.
Madison’s time frame for construction on a new Tappan Zee Bridge lines up with that in the authority’s “request for qualifications,” which estimates a contract will be awarded by August. Here’s a timetable, lifted from that document.