Sept 7 Some 49 percent of New York's new Tappan
Zee bridge should be paid for with a federal loan of as much as
$2.9 billion, according to an application by the state Thruway
The new Hudson River crossing, needed to replace the current
dilapidated bridge, would also be funded with $2.3 billion to
$2.7 billion of bonds that would be repaid with tolls.
Several New York governors have studied replacing the 1955
bridge, an important span for the New York City area that links
Westchester County on the east to Rockland County on the west.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has made the most
progress so far but the federal loan he seeks is a large share
of the $17 billion total available for all states under the
Transportation Infrastructure and Innovation Act.
And a proposal to almost triple cash tolls to $14
encountered such stiff resistance that Cuomo directed Thruway
officials to find ways to lower that increase.
The cost of the bridge is now estimated at $4.7 billion to
$5.4 billion, according to the state's application. When one of
three developers is selected in October, that estimate will be
Cuomo's new request for a federal loan - $900 million bigger
than the one he sought last year and did not get - would shrink
to almost $2.5 billion under the smaller cost estimate.
A spokesman for the Thruway Authority had no immediate
comment. In June, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised the
Thruway's outlook to negative from stable, citing financial
concerns about paying for the new bridge. The credit agency
rates the Thruway Authority A-plus.
The existing Tappan Zee Bridge has aged poorly and it
carries 138,000 vehicles a day, nearly 40 percent more than it
was originally designed to carry.
Renovating it would cost $3 billion to $4 billion and only
extend its life by 25 years, state officials say, arguing a new
bridge would be more economic because it would last 100 years.