Archive for the ‘Thomas J. Madison’ Tag

New Year, New Authority, and New Challenges

As headlines reported worldwide celebrations welcoming 2015, another change quietly took place: Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison and Chief Financial Officer Bryan resigned, effective midnight, one month after Chair Howard Milstein.

Madison left state service to pursue private sector opportunities, part of the natural transition of government as gubernatorial term changes. Given the recent departure of Milstein, it is natural that other leadership changes would occur.

My 88-year old mom was upset when I told her.

Walter Riechert, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC, Thomas J. Madison, Jr., Executive Director, NYS Thruway Authority, Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor./Photo: NYSTA

Walter Riechert, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC, Thomas J. Madison, Jr., Executive Director, NYS Thruway Authority, Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor./Photo: NYSTA

Governor Andrew Cuomo, sworn in for his second term this afternoon, recommended Madison to the Boards of the Thruway Authority and the Canal Corporation on September 15, 2011, an appointment confirmed by the State Senate on January 9, 2012.

“It has been an honor to serve in Governor Cuomo’s administration as executive director of the Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation during such a pivotal time in the history of the organization,” Madison said in a statement. “It was a particular privilege to be a part of the leadership team of the New NY Bridge project to replace the Tappan Zee, and to serve alongside so many talented and committed public servants.”

His experience — including Vice President and Director of Transportation Policy for STV, Incorporated of New York City, and Federal Highway Administrator at the U.S. Department of Transportation — made him perfect for the job.

Faced with challenges, Madison had calculating vision and is to be commended for his major accomplishments during his three-plus years with the Thruway, and for open communication with colleagues and the media (me). Under difficult circumstances, he kept the Tappan Zee Bridge in a good state of repair for four years and saw New NY Bridge project through to where it is today.

I’ve covered the bridge project for nearly three years and observed him co-chair the mass transit task force meetings with finesse and a calm demeanor.

“It’s best to talk about financing options, rather than talk about transit objectives and back into a discussion about finance,” Madison said at the April 2013 meeting.

Each time mom heard I was going to one of those meetings, she’d ask me to say hello to him for her.

Madison made every effort to bring the 570-mile Thruway system into the 21st century, emphasizing it’s important to begin paying for projects. He spoke about its role in the state economy, favoring a once-proposed 45 percent toll increase that would have added $90 million in annual revenues. It was necessary, he said, after years of mismanagement at the agency and the need for additional revenue.

While the 45% toll hike for trucks won’t happen on the 570-mile Thruway, I felt, then as now, commercial vehicles deserve to pay more – at least on the new bridge.

Thruway officials had an alternative plan to reduce costs: removing the Canal Corporation — on the Thruway’s books since the early 1990s — from its control was an idea voiced by many during the years.

As Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) begins its third year, details for funding the $3.9 billion bridge project, and how the Thruway will close the $25 million revenue gap on its recently-adopted $1.7 billion budget, are unclear.

Deputy Secretary for Transportation Karen Rae, who has extensive operations background, will manage the transition at the Thruway Authority for the governor. Rae will work closely with the Thruway board to ensure a smooth transition. Until a new executive director is confirmed, Jennifer McCormick will be responsible for all critical day-to-day operations.

Mom says hello and wishes you best of luck, Mr. Madison.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

Recapping 2014: Condensed Year in Review

This year continued the celebration from December 2013, when Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison closed the deal on a generous TIFIA loan, and the Left Coast Lifter waved — if it can limbo under our bridge, then it can wave — goodbye to California, ready for its 6,000-mile trip to New York Harbor.

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

Massive crane leaving CA for New York/Jacob Tanenbaum

Rumor has it the state renamed the crane I Lift NY due to this blog post.

While super crane was shimmying through the Panama Canal, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) began its second year on the clock, our toes froze, and the Mass Transit Task force was one meeting away from our travel futures. A monorail would have been fun.

Yikes! It was cold. Frozen river? No problem, tweeted project officials (pic.twitter.com/M6vFOHYdBQ), and before January ended, the super crane arrived.

by justin sullivan

February opened with name-calling: the crane had a new moniker, and folks debated about a legendary folk singer. New safety warnings were issued, the state police and Thruway Authority relocated, and then came the final Mass Transit Task Force meeting. C’mon, you knew it’d be bus rapid transit.

The morning before it, my dear, sweet father passed away in his sleep. I love you and miss you very much, dad. You may have been there, too, because more cake than I ate was missing from my plate. Dad loved cake. Thank you to friends who were there for mom and me that night, throughout the weekend to his funeral, and this past year.

new RNA safety zone

March told us Ramp E in Tarrytown would close for the second time. Mid-month brought annual meetings in both counties and new boater safety regulations. Days later, when another barge escaped, the bridge builder addressed the issue and paid stiff fines.

In April we got money for those transit plans. The Tarrytown Outreach Center relocated, and President Barack Obama and Governor Andrew Cuomo came to town in May. Some construction vessels were now tracked via GPS, and the Outreach Team visited marinas as boating season opened.

Steel piles are ready to be capped/© Janie Rosman 2014

Steel piles are ready to be capped/© Janie Rosman 2014

June announced the 2014 Bridge Art Show. It’s bye-bye to the Rockland landing, and the start of main span pile cap construction. Need funding? How about a $500M loan from CWSRF? The project team sent emergency supplies to Delaware, and EFC approved the money.

A quiet July 4th weekend was followed by stricter safety measures. The Thruway Authority got half of the $511 million, and concrete technology arrived on the Hudson. Piermont boaters now have a safe passage to the main channel, pile cap installation began, and then came a detour.

Opening night: admiring Westchester and Rockland artists’ depictions of the current and future bridge/NNYB Outreach

Opening night: admiring Westchester and Rockland artists’ depictions of the current and future bridge/NNYB Outreach

Another project first: the 2014 Bridge Art Show opened at Nyack First Friday and debuted in Tarrytown the next week, thanks to collaborating groups. Rebar alert per NNYB, and you know the loan that came through? No, no, the EPA said. Educational outreach began its second year, there were lane shifts for construction, and the viewing areas started to take shape.

October brought Cuomo’s Build NY Initiative, and the governor was in Piermont to welcome the crane. Team Outreach celebrated Halloween bridge-style, and a new electronic highway sign was tested.

Two of the new bridge's 86 vertical steel towers seen near the Westchester approach span/NNYB Outreach

Two of the new bridge’s 86 vertical steel towers seen near the Westchester approach span/NNYB Outreach

Several lane closures in November, when the state told the EPA, See you in court. The first two pier towers were completed, and more criticism about the bridge finances from an oversight office. TZC’s president received the “Good Scout” award, and South Nyack asked the governor for help.

Detours, lane closures, and more lane closures kicked off December, and the bridge had a birthday! A mid-month accident — thankfully, no one was hurt — temporarily halted cement production and not the project, which soon begins its third year.

Did I miss something? I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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