September 2012

Prospects for a new Tappan Zee Bridge reached a significant milestone when three key county executives endorsed the plan for the new Hudson River crossing, according to a recent Associated Press story

The three county executives — Rob Astorino of Westchester, Scott Vanderhoef of Rockland and MaryEllen Odell of Putnam — essentially held veto power over the project as a unanimous vote was required for the plan to move forward.

Concerns over the project, however, remain. Executives expressed concerns that, while the new bridge will have a dedicated bus lane during rush hours, the $5.2 billion span will not have a commuter rail line or bus mass transit. The fear is that the new bridge will be obsolete as soon as it opens due to ever-increasing traffic.

Gov. Cuomo attempted to allay any concerns over this issue by saying, in essence, that the potential for a commuter rail will still be there even after the new bridge is built. Thus, there is no reason why bridge construction can’t begin.

This makes perfect sense. There’s no doubt that a new Tappan Zee Bridge must be built (the current one is more than 55 years old and is deteriorating.) Plus, the jobs new construction will bring to the state (at a time when the national unemployment rate is still around 8 percent — and the construction industry’s rate much worse) far outweighs delaying the project because it doesn’t cover every traffic issue perfectly. No new infrastructure project really ever does.

The county executives and Gov. Cuomo should be commended for working together to overcome this issue and getting this much needed project moving ahead.

And finally, please make a note that the annual New York State Highway & Public Works Expo will take place Oct. 17 in Syracuse. Look in the next issue of Superintendent’s Profile for details of the show. Hope to see you there.

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.