Cuomo's thruway chief says public-transportation advocates 'threaten' the Tappan Zee project
Apparently Governor Andrew Cuomo has grown tired of the criticism directed at him by mass-transit advocates incensed over the exclusion of a mass-transit component from the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.
This morning, Tom Madison, the Cuomo-appointed executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority, wrote an an opinion piece in the New York Post in which he argued that the demands of mass-transit advocates "threaten to stall" the construction of the new Tappan Zee:
The state faces a $2 billion deficit, and the governor’s budget for this year reduces overall state spending without raising taxes. The sensible thing is just to build now, with a design that will fully accommodate transit in the future, when it’s financially viable.
As it is, demands for Westchester/Rockland mass transit threaten to stall the project. Yet it’s already been mired for more than a decade in a seemingly endless bureaucratic process, with more than 430 public meetings and some $88 million spent on studies. New Yorkers got no real movement on actually building a new bridge, because the taxpayers can’t afford the bridge and 64 miles of new transit corridor.
Transportation advocates are unhappy with the Cuomo administration for eliminating bus rapid transit from the plans for the Tappan Zee, something they estimate would cost about $20 million per mile. This is one in a series of complaints about Cuomo's unwillingness to prioritize transportation issues.
In a recent post, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign wrote, "A bridge without transit will be obsolete from day one, wasting over five billion dollars, and sentencing Hudson Valley residents to decades of traffic congestion, air pollution and no alternatives."
The Cuomo administration's defense is that the new bridge is being built with the capacity to accommodate bus rapid transit at a later date.