Donald Trump’s very public flirtations with a potential gubernatorial campaign continued Monday, with the celebrity real-estate developer repeatedly criticizing one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration’s biggest undertakings — replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge.
In a radio interview, Trump said he’s convinced the cost of the massive bridge will balloon to $10 billion, a cost he said the state can’t afford. The current projected cost for the new bridge is as much as $4.8 billion, which includes both construction and financing costs.
The state Thruway Authority, which owns the bridge, closed on a $1.6 billion loan from the federal government for the bridge replacement project last week. The better option, Trump said, is reinforcing the current span, which stretches across the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties.
“The bridge is a totally fine structure, but it needs renewal,” Trump told host Fred Dicker on Albany’s WGDJ-AM. “And the renewal can be done for a tiny fraction of the — in my opinion — $10 billion bridge that they’re going to build.”
Trump offered no basis for his $10 billion estimate, aside from detailing his expertise in real-estate development.
The Thruway Authority’s contract for the new bridge pushes much of the cost of potential overruns on the team of contractors building the span, though taxpayers are still on the hook in certain instances, such as if builders encounter hazardous materials or the state decides to add features to the bridge.
Trump — who has repeatedly expressed interest in running for office over the years, only to back out after a round of high-profile media appearances — acknowledged that it would be tough for a registered Republican to win the governor’s office in New York, which has twice as many Democrats as members of the GOP.
But he said he has an advantage because he would be able to tap into his own wealth for a potential 2014 run, rather than have to raise from political donors.
“If you’re able to reduce taxes and prove it and if you’re able to bring back jobs and get people jobs, which they’re desperately in need of in New York, I think you’d have a very good chance, actually,” Trump said.
(AP File Photo)