TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The new Tappan Zee Bridge is finally finished in both directions and will open just a few days before the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary.
Is that a coincidence? CBS2’s Marcia Kramer spoke to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.
Cuomo took reporters on a field trip — call it the boat to the bridge — where in dramatic I’m-the-governor-and-your-not fashion he announced that new bridge, which is named for his father, will open in both directions this week.
“Our plan is that the bridge will open on this Saturday. Good Lord willing, there are no weather delays,” Cuomo said.
The new $4 billion span is one of the major infrastructure accomplishments of his administration. But announcing the opening just a few days before his face-off with actress Cynthia Nixon in the primary is generating plenty of commentary in the world of politics.
“The governor is pulling out all the stops. The governor is in full campaign mode and it’s a full-court press and he’s going to deny, if possible, Nixon any breathing room in the news cycle,” Baruch College pundit Doug Muzzio said.
And while commuters are happy to have the new bridge, they worry about how much it will cost to cross. Tolls are frozen at $5, $4.50 with E-ZPass, until 2020, but then what?
Will it go to the $15 it costs to get into Manhattan from New Jersey?
The governor was coy about the tolls.
Kramer told Cuomo, “Some people are saying is it fair to pay the same amount to get into Manhattan as it is to pay to get from Rockland to Westchester?”
To which the governor responded, “Over the years the fare structure has just developed. We have to take a look at all the bridges and come up with a comprehensive tolling plan that is fair, makes sense and doesn’t steer the traffic one way or the other.”
There’s also the controversy about taking “Tappan Zee” out of the bridge’s name, but Muzzio said that won’t matter in the run-up to the election.
“The visuals are going to be positive, so at that level it almost can’t go wrong,” Muzzio said.
When it is fully completed, the bridge will also have a mixed-use walkway for bikes and pedestrians that the governor said will be a huge tourist attraction.