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County Executives Want More Information On Tappan Zee Bridge

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef flanked by Jonathan Drapkin and Adam Bosch of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress - Tarrytown, NY - Apr 26, 2012 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef flanked by Jonathan Drapkin and Adam Bosch of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress – Tarrytown, NY – Apr 26, 2012 (credit: Paul Murnane / WCBS 880)

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (WCBS 880) - The Hudson Valley’s county executives said Thursday that they are being asked to sign on to the new Tappan Zee Bridge before the details are in, WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane On The Story

The new bridge project is moving forward on a “design-build” track. That means that construction of the bridge will commence while the design work is still underway.

While Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef both support the building of a new span across the Hudson River, they would like more information before signing off on the project.

“The response from Albany of ‘Trust us’ doesn’t really work with us,” Astorino told Murnane.

The executives have many concerns and they expressed them at a forum held Thursday in Tarrytown by the group Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress.

Among the concerns are environmental impact, tolls, and the controversial issue of mass transit.

Astorino and Vanderhoef want a dedicated mass transit component on the bridge, and have the backing of dozens of officials who say the new bridge would be obsolete without it.

“Mass transportation is the future for Rockland and Westchester counties. It’s the future for our region,” Vanderhoef told Murnane.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the bridge will support mass transit, but that there isn’t the money to actually add it to the bridge.

“We don’t know what the final cost of the bridge is going to be and there’s no mass transit on it. But they’re going to design it for some future fantasy date where it might be available, like three decades from now,” said Astorino.

Vanderhoef and Astorino want a meeting with Cuomo.

“We want a commitment from the start for some form of mass transit and we want to answers to the questions that we have now. How much [is] it going to cost people to get over and back?” Astorino said. “And those are important issues that we have no answers to and yet we, as county executives, are being asked to approve a $5 billion loan request to the federal government without having any answers.”

When it comes to getting the project going, Marsha Gordon of BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org is tired of waiting.

“This is a process that can’t be delayed any further. There’s a window of opportunity to get it done now,” she told Murnane. “We’ve had years and years of this bridge being slowed down.”

Do you think mass transit is essential for a new Tappan Zee Bridge? Do you think the project should move forward on the “design-build” track? Sound off in the comments section below.