Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pleased with the progress of building a new Tappan Zee Bridge — so much so that he exhaled today.
And it’s unclear whether his hike in the Adirondacks on Sunday helped.
“This was the aspect of the bridge that had me holding my breath, and I’m going to exhale today,” Cuomo told reporters in announcing the federal sign off of the environmental review for the $5.2 billion bridge over the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties.
Cuomo sees the bridge as a sign of progress and a sign of the accomplishments of his administration. Replacing the 57-year-old bridge has languished for more than a decade.
“With this major milestone, New York once again is demonstrating that we can make government work efficiently,” Cuomo said in an accompanying press release.
With the federal review approval, state officials said the project can move forward getting the state permits needed to construct the bridge. The winning bidder for the project is scheduled for later this year, and construction is scheduled to start by year’s end.
“All the arrows are pointed in the right direction, and we are proceeding even ahead of my ambitious schedule,” Cuomo told reporters.
State officials initially pegged the new toll at as much as $14; up from the $5 now.
But Cuomo has backed away from those projections, saying the toll is unclear because it’s unknown how much the bridge will cost and whether the state will receive a $2.9 billion federal loan. Howard Glaser, the state director of operations, said the bids have all come in under $5.2 billion.
“We have to find out how much it costs before you can really do any thorough analysis on the tolls,” Cuomo said.