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Vote Set For New Tappan Zee Bridge Project; Environmental Group Calls Foul

Tappan Zee Bridge

Tappan Zee Bridge (Credit: CBS 2)

OSSINING, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A vote on plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge is scheduled for Monday, and that has some crying foul.

The environmental group Riverkeeper has criticized officials for giving only three days’ notice for a vote on a plan to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge north of New York City.

WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reports

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council announced Friday it had scheduled the meeting for Monday. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has said he expected the meeting would be next month.

Riverkeeper president Paul Gallay told WCBS 880 this quick vote violates state and federal provisions.

“They’re trying to sneak it in while everybody’s away for a nice weekend in the summertime. I mean, this is a $5 billion project we’re being asked to take on faith. One of the big issues is that there’s no detailed financing plan that’s been made available and that’s a requirement of federal and state law,” Gallay said.

Gallay told WCBS 880 that the council’s regulations require public notice for such meetings to be given two weeks ahead of time, except in emergencies.

“The people who are going to be paying for this bridge have a right to know what it’s going to cost and what the plan is for paying for it, how much their tolls are going to go up and they have a right to come to a meeting after having had the plan for a while so that they can participate. You know, we’ve got to have a stake in this. We’re going to be the ones paying for it,” Gallay told WCBS 880.

“There’s a 25-page guideline for putting this plan together in the federal manuals that are applying for projects like this, and there’s less than one page that says, ‘well, tolls will end up roughly the same as they are at other bridges.’ That’s not what the law requires, you’ve got to give us the detail,” Gallay said.

But council spokeswoman Lisa Daglian said the group is referring to a draft policy that was never adopted. She said the council has met state requirements.

Matt Wing, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said federal officials have urged the board to vote as quickly as possible.

Last week, county executives from Putnam, Rockland and Westchester endorsed the plan for a new bridge.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)