Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday he remains confident that plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge will win federal aid, saying the state is reviewing a variety of funding options for the $5 billion project.
The state wasn’t among a half-dozen projects last week chosen by the federal Department of Transportation for about $100 million in transportation aid. Cuomo said the state is hopeful its request for a $2 billion federal loan remains viable when Congress agrees to a new transportation funding bill.
“We believe the federal Department of Transportation is going to have reauthorized legislation and reauthorized authority, and we believe that we are going to be competitive once that reauthorization occurs,” Cuomo told reporters Thursday.
The state is hoping to start preliminary work later this year on a new Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties.
But how the project would be funded remains unclear. Higher tolls, public-private partnerships and federal aid all appear as major options.
Cuomo, though, would only say that a number of ideas are being considered.
“We’re working through a number of financing options, and we’ll present a number of options, and we’ll present them for discussion and then we’ll pick the best one,” Cuomo said.
Legislation to allow for public-private partnerships is something Cuomo has sought, but he said “we don’t have an immediate proposal on that.”
In October, the Obama administration named a new Tappan Zee Bridge as one of 14 projects nationwide that would receive an expedited federal review and approval.
The Thruway Authority, which owns the current 56-year-old span, filed paperwork in December to apply for the $2 billion federal loan.
Cuomo has made a new bridge a top priority and has said the project would be funded through a combination of state, federal and private sources.
The state is hoping to start work late this summer. It estimates the bridge would be finished by 2017.
Cuomo said a new bridge would show that government is functioning.
“The Tappan Zee is a project, which we identified early on, that is not just going to be about repairing that bridge,” Cuomo said. “It’s going to be about making the statement that government can work, and society can work and we can still do big things.”