TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Municipal leaders in Westchester County have joined the chorus of voices opposed to New York lending half a billion dollars in clean water funds to the new Tappan Zee Bridge, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.

A state panel votes Wednesday on whether a loan that normally goes to sewer projects should help pay for the span.

The money would help pay for the removal of the old span, river dredging and several other projects relating to the $3.9 billion bridge replacement project. Much smaller amounts would go toward work like marsh restoration, storm water treatment, the relocation of a falcon nest and efforts to protect endangered sturgeon from construction noise.

Hudson Riverkeeper Paul Gallay told Adams the proposed loan is a misuse of funds that normally go toward sewer projects.

“That’s where this money legally needs to go and that’s where it needs to go for common sense and public policy,” Gallay told Adams. “The projects they are proposing for funding are construction projects with negative impacts, not environmental projects with positive impacts.”

However, bridge officials disagree and say the loan is legal and appropriate. Gallay says he will fight to the end.

“They can’t get this done without federal approval and if this has to go to court, it has to go to court,” Gallay told Adams.

Environmental advocates have threatened to sue if the plan is approved, saying funds set aside for drinking water, sewage and other water projects shouldn’t be used on a bridge project. They have also said the plan was rushed through without public input or scrutiny.

Another step in the approval process includes a vote by the three-member Public Authority’s Control Board later Wednesday afternoon.

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