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.

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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.

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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.

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