This Time Last Summer

Projected timeline for the bridge replacement project courtesy of the New NY Bridge

Projected timeline for the bridge replacement project courtesy of the New NY Bridge

Twelve short months earlier, three companies bidding to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge collectively responded to the state’s Request for Proposal with approximately 750,000 pages packed into about 70 boxes, and by a 4 p.m. deadline in late July.

Lots of numbers.

Days later, on August 1, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) detailing the minimum that must be done to mitigate environmental and other impacts of construction, project officials reiterated.

It’s what Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell needed to see before unanimously saying “yes” to the project, qualifying it for federal funding. They postponed a crucial New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) vote on July 10 before changing their minds at a special August 20 meeting.

There was talk of double-digit, tripled tolls; Cuomo called for a task force to find ways of saving costs. “For many Westchester and Rockland residents, the bridge is the only practical crossing for commuting, shopping and visiting family,” he said in a letter dated August 10 to Thruway Chairman Howard Milstein and Executive Director Thomas Madison Jr.

Milstein responded the same day that he, Madison, and Thruway employees share Cuomo’s goals to keep tolls “as affordable as possible to reduce the economic burden on local residents and all who use the bridge.”

“We’re going to work very hard over time to get the toll as low as possible,” Cuomo said during a September 19 conference about the bridge, citing that variables — total cost, amount of federal loan money, and financing options for the remainder — “are still on the table.”

More recently, with oyster harvesting completed, we’re nearly one-third through the dredging period, and other facets are in place (per above diagram). New York State anticipates news of a TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loan, as the Mass Transit Task Force and finance subcommittee were progressing toward their respective deadlines.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2013

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