Albany, NY (March 8, 2013)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that a $1.5 billion TIFIA loan for the bridge project to replace the Tappan Zee will move to next stage of the U.S. Department of Transportation loan process. This financing will lower tolls on the bridge below all prior projections, though the state continues to seek additional financial support for the project.
"This is another important step forward for the new NY bridge project, one that will help keep tolls affordable for motorists," said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "Today's action is also amplified by the fact that under design build the selected bridge plan came in $1 billion under the expected price, maximizing the impact of this major financial support."
In addition to the potential funding from this TIFIA loan, New York State continues to seek additional financial support to reduce costs from federal, state and local sources and will be using the Toll Task Force to identify alternative financing sources and keep tolls low.
U.S. DOT will conduct a credit review of the project prior to finalizing the TIFIA loan. As part of the next step of the TIFIA process, New York State is required by U.S. DOT to pay $100,000 for financial advisors to review the project.
The Governor previously directed the State Thruway Authority to form a Toll Task Force to find alternatives, revenue generators and cost reductions that reduce the potential toll increases. The Task Force will examine a series of options to keep tolls low once the final financing on the project has been established including expanding discount programs, seeking financial mechanism that lower the cost of credit and borrowing, and ensuring that any increase in tolls on the bridge goes solely to the bridge and regional transportation.
The new New York Bridge project is the largest transportation design-build project to date in the United States and one of the largest construction contracts in New York State history. Under the design-build process, engineering and construction firms join forces to compete for a single contract that covers both design and construction, and bids are selected based on the best value offered. Through this process, the final selected proposal from the Tappan Zee Constructers offered the lowest cost and the shortest construction timeline to complete the new New York Bridge project.
Over the last decade, there were 430 public meetings, 150 concepts and $88 million spent on figuring out how to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge without any substantial progress made on building a new bridge. In just the last year under Governor Cuomo, the bridge project received federal approval of the environmental impact statement, reached a project labor agreement, and reviewed and selected a contractor for the new bridge. Construction on the bridge is now expected to begin in the next few months.
The new New York Bridge to replace the Tappan Zee will include eight general traffic lanes plus emergency lanes and extra-wide shoulders for immediate express bus service when opened and will be transit-ready for all modes including bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail.