New York Appeals Fed’s Rejection of NNYB Loan

Aerial view of the Tappan Zee Bridge and southern Hudson Valley region/ Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Aerial view of the Tappan Zee Bridge and southern Hudson Valley region/ Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Late Thursday (yesterday), the state filed an appeal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s September 16 decision to slash funding for the New NY Bridge project. The agency will be reviewing the appeal and has 180 days to consider it.

EFC Director of Public Information Jon Sorensen said via a statement that the loan — approved by the Environmental Facilities Corporation, the NYS Thruway Authority and the Public Authorities Control Board — “will reduce project costs by up to $35 million and help keep future bridge tolls as low as possible.”

What does as low as possible mean? The project is $4 billion. That’s pennies on a $14 or $15 toll. Up to $35 million, not exactly $35 million. We’re talking pennies.

In late June, the EFC decided by unanimous (5 to 0) vote to loan the Thruway Authority $511.45 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF). And in July, three voting members of the PACB agreed to its request for half of the $511 million.

One item that was disqualified is the shared use path (a $57.1 million project). The appeal said it “will provide a scenic route . . . and will include locations for users to rest and observe the estuary while learning about the region’s rich history and natural resources.” Here’s my take: add protection from wind and sun glare for the folks who will be stopping and reading and taking in the scenery.

Then again, who am I to say?

Environmental groups also filed a lawsuit to prevent the state from using federal Clean Water Act funds — neither the recently diminished loan request nor the remaining $29 million that was approved — for the Tappan Zee Bridge project or for any such project other than their intended use.

No funds have been transferred to the Thruway Authority, and no funds will be transferred in respect to costs now under dispute with EPA.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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