Streamlined Tappan Zee Bridge Rebuild Approved By U.S.

The federal government approved a streamlined process to expedite the bridge's replacement. Key would be to remove transit plans for the new bridge, thus keeping costs down, but that has raised questions about not providing alternatives to driving.
October 15, 2011, 9am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The 1955 cantilever bridge is costing NY $100 million annually in repairs. Plans for its replacement or repair have long been in the works.

"Citing the bridge's deteriorating condition, the federal Department of Transportation decided it would let the state go forward with the project as long as it streamlined its earlier plan to make a new bridge a centerpiece of a $21 billion, 30-mile transportation corridor. The federal agency said it would help speed up the process for the state to build a $5.2 billion eight-lane bridge, to which mass transit could be added in the future."

"But it is not clear how much the construction may cost commuters. Jeffrey M. Zupan, a senior fellow for transportation with the Regional Plan Association, said issuing the bonds for $3 billion would mean an increase on the bridge's toll. The toll, now $5, could be raised by as much as $10 each year for the duration of the project, Mr. Zupan said. At the same time, commuters have no immediate alternatives.

"What they're basically saying to the driver is, ‘We're going to raise your toll and by the way we're not going to improve public transit,' " Mr. Zupan said. "And we're not going to give you an option other than driving."

From Tappan Zee Bridge project details to be unveiled at Oct. 25, 27 briefings: "By assuming the dominant role, the Federal Highway Administration will help speed up the review and approval of the project, which will no longer consider rail and bus rapid transit services along Interstate 287 through Rockland and Westchester. This will allow it to focus on building a new span over the Hudson River."

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Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 in The New York Times - N.Y. / Region
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