Infrastructure & New York State: the TZB Now

Governor Andrew Cuomo fielding reporters’ questions on new bridge/© J Rosman 2016

We stepped back and walked to orange cones on the northern side of the span, where Governor Coumo would answer reporters’ questions.

I wanted to ask the governor if he planned to invite President-elect Trump to the project site, especially since Trump bemoaned U.S. infrastructure at an October 14, 2015, rally in Richmond, Virginia.

“We’re like a Third World country,” he said. “Our airports, our roads, our bridges are falling down. Sixty-one percent of our bridges are in trouble. Do you believe this? We drive over a bridge, it’s in trouble.”

Although I never had a chance to pose my question it was partly answered in response to another reporter’s question. Cuomo also discussed the topic with businessman and former NYC mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis on the CATS Roundtable (AM 970) last weekend.

westbound-span

“Governor, New Yorkers have the most powerful man in the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer, and we have the President of the United States in Washington,” Catsimatidis said. “Can the two of them help New York State? Have you talked to them about a commitment about getting federal funds like Roosevelt got for Robert Moses?”

“I spoke to President-elect Trump to congratulate him after he was elected and one of the first things he went to was infrastructure because he’s a builder, and his point was we don’t build anymore,” Cuomo said. “He (Trump) pointed out that we do build in New York and he’s coming up with a big infrastructure program.”

“We have $100 billion,” he said. ” The largest commitment in modern political history for infrastructure, et cetera. Airports all over the state. Roads and bridges all over the state. The trick now is making it happen, getting it done. And that’s a new task for government.”

tappan-zee-from-here

Three years ago this month Trump said he could fix the aging Tappan Zee Bridge “for peanuts”, and “The $4 billion will end up turning out to be $10 billion, and the state will never be able to afford it.”

His words came days after then-Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison closed a deal with the U.S. Department of Transportation for an historic $1.6 billion Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the new bridge.

Nearly $700 million more than anticipated and the largest low-interest (3.89 percent) loan in TIFIA history, it was a major coup for the bridge project. Did Trump know Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) was also nearing the end of its first year on the 62-month assignment?

I’m sure President-elect Trump has since changed his mind about the bridge project, which reached another milestone this week. I wonder if he will be awed by it as I was and hope he continues to support New York State’s infrastructure initiatives.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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