I wanted to share with you an exciting new development in the rebuilding of the Tappan Zee Bridge. On Monday, I joined with surrounding County Executives in Rockland and Putnam Counties in voting to move the project forward after reaching an agreement with Governor Cuomo that will lead to a better bridge for the future. This is not only significant news for the residents of Westchester and Rockland, but for New York State, the entire northeast region and the country.
As you have probably heard me say many times, I have been a longtime and strong supporter of the need for a new bridge, but I’ve been equally strong on the need for some form of mass transit as a way to reduce congestion and pollution and promotote smart economic development. I’m pleased to announce that working with Governor Cuomo and state officials, we have put together a framework that will address these needs. With plans to have mass transit as part of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, we’re not waiting five years to start thinking about it, we’re moving forward now.
Along with dedicated bus lanes on the bridge from the start of its opening, the agreement also calls for:
The bridge to be constructed with mass transit capacity compatible with a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and Commuter Rail Transit.
A Regional Transit Task Force to be created to study costs and options for regional transit, including commuter rail and a BRT system on the bridge and key portions of the Westchester-Rockland corridor.
The Task Force to issue recommendations in one year, with a plan for short-term steps that can be considered for immediate commencement, as well as long-term plans for transit solutions.
Incentives to be created for contractors that could be used to reinvest in regional mass transit or to reduce the cost of tolls.
I am optimistic that this framework will lead to a better bridge that will meet the needs of its travelers both when it opens and for many years to come. I am also proud that working together with my fellow County Executives and the Governor’s office we were able to accomplish a project that all New Yorkers can be proud of.