Lawmakers Come To Consensus: Tappan Zee Bridge Has Got To Go

Say Over-The-Hill Span Must Be Replaced, Urge Governor To Find The Billions

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Tappan Zee Bridge needs to be replaced, and that has been a well-known fact for some time.

On Tuesday, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino took State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, the chairman of the transportation committee, on a tour of the aging bridge.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi On The Bank Of The Hudson River

When they got off the boat, with the Hudson River’s mist still on them, they spoke to reporters.

They saw a lot of rust on a bridge that is already 10 years past its projected lifespan, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young. It has been on life support to the tune of $100 million per year. That’s a billion dollars already out the window on a bridge that the experts agree will eventually have to be replaced.

“You can see the state of disrepair that exists with the Tappan Zee Bridge,” Skelos said. “This bridge has to be replaced for safety purposes. It has to be replaced for environmental purposes, and it has to be replaced for economic purposes.”

They did, however, say there is no reason to panic.

“This bridge is safe for people to travel, but why wait?” said Fuschillo.

Maybe because some estimate replacing the bridge could cost an astronomical amount. So far, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, despite being asked by Astorino to switch the timetable into overdrive, has been skeptical he’ll be able to find $9 billion for the project. However, it was obvious Tuesday that the tour the lawmakers went on was a not-too-subtle nudge for him to look harder.

Astorino said he’s pushing to stop studying replacing the bridge and just do it already. Fuschillo said they are pushing for a new bridge, and exploring creative ways to do so.

“We’re pushing, in the Senate, public-private partnerships,  it’s been very successful, to obtain revenue to replace a bridge like this, and we’re hopeful that this is now the lead and the project to start off a public-private partnership here in New York State,” said Fuschillo.

Astorino told CBS 2’s Young it all comes down to safety.

“That bridge is becoming more and more unsafe as every car drives over it. The last thing we want is a catastrophe,” Astorino said.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Joe F

    We don’t need to replace the Tappan Zee, we need more aircraft carriers to fight goat herders. Think of all the bomb makers we could employ!

  • George J. Myers, Jr.

    The brother-in-law of the now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, from this street in the Bronx, perished crashing off of it a number of years ago in a late model Land Rover. Built originally for the NY Thruway, it has become an interstate and much of the I dare say Nation’s commerce is tied to it. I work for a company researching it, and it’s unique, eligible for the National Register, because no other bridge has been built like it! It sits on “floating” concrete caissons in the Hudson River, perhaps, built in the Cold War to be “dropped” as a “Great Chain” across the Hudson River used to stop the British Navy in a number of Hudson River locations in the American Revolution, allowing small boat passage and designed to thwart large ships-of-the line. By the way this page “crashes” my computer until I used Firefox to block scripts and plugins. Wonder what that’s about? I observe the overfilled “park and rides” and bus lots in Rockland County and think, with all the traffic, this, with light surface rail, express bus, and even foot-travel over the river, a welcomed idea. Then onto a monorail to Albany!

  • Robert

    It’s a different type of bridge

  • karlson

    Take the money from the MTA to build a new bridge. They steal money from every motor vehicle that goes across their bridges and tunnels. They are cash rich with 2 sets of books and have more corruption than any agency with the exception of that other bridge and tunnel corruption – the Port Authority.

    With all the car and truck traffic, there’s plenty of tolls being paid every minute to get a new bridge built and paid for!

  • Phil

    A new bridge is a capital expense that should be paid for over the bridge’s expected lifetime. And It should be paid for by the next generation of users.What would the toll have to be to retire a $9B bond issue at today’s low interest rates and projected future traffic levels over an expected 50-75 year lifetime? Maybe $20, maybe today’s toll or maybe $1.98? Do the math to determine expected user tolls before you beef about taxpayer funding. PS – I grew up along the Tappan Zee and remember the bridge’s opening day celebrations that included a flyover. How much in tolls (Present Value) has been collected over the years? I bet the original bridge has been paid for many times over? The added tolls should have been going into a reserve fund for replacing it..

  • sandbagging

    Find 9 BILLION for the project?

    Listen, I know we just have to suck it up and accept a certain amount of bloat, graft, corruption, and waste, but where in the world do they come up with 9 BILLION for a new bridge?

  • Donald

    Yes, replace it… with a car AND train bridge. It is ridiculous that you have to take NJTransit to get to Orange County, NY! This could be an amazing opportunity to fix a big problem.

    • RichieT

      When they replace it, they won’t need a separate bridge. Just build it to carry both. Car, Trucks, Passenger, and Freight trains. It’s allot cheaper, and faster to do it that way, then two separate bridges.

  • AJS

    I shudder to think of the toll that would be charged after the replacement is finished.

  • Jeremy

    Replacing the TZ bridge would probably cost in excess of $1 Billion dollars. Where is that money supposed to come from?

    • Pi$$ed Off Long Islander

      Jeremy, that money would come from you and every other tax payer in NY. Remember, the government has unlimited funds, US, the taxpayers.

      • dyinglikeflies

        Umm, do we want there to be a bridge? Maybe no bridges, anywhere? no schools, army to protect us, hospitals, garbage pick-up, roads etc. etc.? You would probably think it was more essential if it was on Long Island. As a Westchesterite, i agree- stop taking my taxes to fix the roads in Nassau County, protect Long Island from criminals etc.

      • Omar

        Maybe the should let it collapse during the rush hour commute like the bridge in Minneapolis. How much did it cost in lives, clean up and replacement of that bridge?

        If the bridge is becoming increasingly unsafe for traffic and prevents economic expansion of the region, it is a no-brainer. REPLACE IT. I’d like to hear more about this private-public partnership especially if it doesn’t burden taxpayers as much as just a government funded bridge.

  • Cate

    TZ is way beyond the life span originally set for it. On wood pilings? Yeah, those are in great condition I bet. Very safe. Aso someone who commutes over this bridge everyday and have family who do the same, I hope Astorino can get these folks moving to just get it done, so that maybe we won’t have to worry about a collapse as much.

    • Cate

      Sorry….I’m typing one handed. Please excuse typos and/or any other grammatical errors. I know how they get ripped apart on things like this.

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