Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, today signed a new letter of intent to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to apply for federal funding to build a new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee. The letter formally initiates New York's application for funding under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program and came after the members of the New York Metropolitan Transit Council (NYMTC) unanimously voted to support Governor Cuomos plan to build a new bridge. To view the Governors letter go to http://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/TappanZeeBridgeLetter.pdf.
Today we are one step closer to building a new, safer bridge that will revitalize the Hudson Valley by creating thousands of jobs, said Governor Cuomo. After over a decade of delay caused by political dysfunction, this letter demonstrates that we are making real progress towards constructing a stronger, transit-ready bridge that will reduce congestion and be safer for drivers for years to come. Over the past few months, members of my administration have met with residents and business owners throughout the Hudson Valley to ensure that this process is as transparent and inclusive as possible. I applaud Majority Leader Skelos, Speaker Silver, and the Hudson Valley County Executives for their leadership and dedication to New Yorkers.
Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "A new Tappan Zee Bridge means thousands of new jobs for the Hudson Valley, less congestion and a better quality of life for the people who travel this span every day. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this important project, and for his vision of what is possible here in New York. Senate Republicans will continue to work with him to turn this state around, as we did on the design-build legislation which contributed to moving this project forward."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking critical steps to advance one of the most complex public transportation projects New York State has undertaken in many years. I am looking forward to further details as the project progresses that will consider the concerns of residents, commuters, local businesses, and government officials to safeguard travelers, eliminate traffic congestion, and provide future mass transit options. This is a significant investment in the region's economy that will result in the creation of tens of thousands of jobs for hard working men and women, and I commend the Governor for his leadership."
This letter represents a significant step in the process to build a new, stronger, safer bridge that will last 100 years. Last fall, President Obama granted Governor Cuomos request to expedite the process of constructing a new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee and to make the project a priority. Governor Cuomo also partnered with the legislative leaders to pass a design-build law that will be used to streamline and prevent cost overruns of building a new bridge. The Governor presented a plan for a new bridge that will be safer for drivers, create better options and faster service for bus commuters, be transit-ready for rail or bus rapid transit, and create 45,000 new jobs in the Hudson Valley. Just last month, Governor Cuomo released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the new bridge project. The FEIS was compiled by a dozen state and federal agencies responding to over 3,000 comments from the public.
The NYMTC vote signifies an agreement between local officials from New York City, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley to seek federal approval for the Tappan Zee bridge replacement project. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) is a federally-required regional council of governments that provides a collaborative transportation planning forum for New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. NYMTC, pursuant to federal law, serves as the regions Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO). A core requirement for receiving and spending federal transportation funds is that states follow the prescribed federally-required metropolitan and statewide planning processes.
Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee said, I am very encouraged by the willingness of the Governor's office to listen to the concerns of the community about this important project that will improve public safety and present opportunities for economic development in our region.
Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef said, I am pleased that we are moving ahead with a new safer bridge that will be built for tomorrow and will be able to accommodate mass transit. I applaud Governor Cuomo's commitment to this project and to working with the Hudson Valley community in order to make this process go forward.
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said, This project is more than likely one of the largest projects that New Yorkers will be undertaking as far as transportation infrastructure projects. American history tells us that it is these types of projects that helped our nation climb out the Great Depression. The common goal I share today with my colleagues is to get our families back to work or keep them working. As Putnam County Executive I would like to applaud Governor Cuomo for his genuine demonstration of good faith and leadership in working with County Executives Astorino and Vanderhoef and myself in making sure that this project move forward with as much information as possible, and I look to The New York State Legislature to make sure the fiscal oversight is place in order to keep this project on track.
Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino said, Today marks an important step in building a new Tappan Zee Bridge. Challenges await us, but we are moving forward - unified in our commitment to give our counties, state and country a bridge that creates jobs, strengthens our economy, protects the environment and leaves a legacy we can be proud of.
New Yorkers can see toll options, submit questions and concerns about the project through www.NewNYBridge.com or call the toll free number, 855-TZBRIDGE. The website also features videos of the community meetings and a database of all documents created over the last 10 years on the Tappan Zee Bridge. A Twitter account has been set up for Tappan Zee project, and New Yorkers can receive updates by following @NewNYBridge.