TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo changed the name of the new Tappan Zee bridge to honor his father — the late Mario M. Cuomo — but not all the signs around the new span were changed. Now, New York may be paying for a whole new set of signs — even if it means replacing just one missing “M.”
CBS2 counted three different variations on traffic signs for the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
Some with the middle initial, some without, some missing “Gov.” That’s not counting the ones that still say “Tappan Zee.”
It’s an identity crisis playing out in front of drivers and it comes at a price.
“The governor and everyone involved in this just doesn’t care about the people,” Dr. Monroe Mann of SaveOurTappanZee.org said.
Dr. Mann is behind the petition to keep the original name of the bridge – the Tappan Zee. He reacted to news that the new signs installed last year now have to be changed or retrofitted just to include the middle initial of New York’s former governor.
“As if there are 20 other Mario Cuomos that people might confuse the signs are referring to, but it’s just evidence of the arrogance and nepotism, ego and the vanity of spending all of our money,” Mann declared.
The New York Thruway Authority said in a statement the new signs will “better ensure clarity and uniformity across the region.”
Meanwhile, the state’s Department of Transportation says it’s “to ensure every sign reflects the official name.”
It all comes out of what drivers pay to cross that bridge – no matter what it’s called.
“I feel like that’s such a waste of money, it’s not like it’s going to change people calling it the Tappan Zee and no one’s going to call it the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge,” Ardsley resident Rachel Beldoch said.
Others say the bigger issue is the cost to cross in the first place.
“I’m more concerned about what the toll’s going to be when they come back, when they set the rates,” Cliff Reiter of Scarsdale added.
The newest sign scandal follows another. Last year, the governor’s “I love New York” signs that cost nearly $2 million were found to be in violation of federal standards.
Many were later removed to avoid a $14 million penalty.
CBS2 asked how much it will cost to fix or change the signs, but no one with the state would provide a dollar amount for Gov. Cuomo’s latest signage snafu.