The future of the Tappan Zee Bridge continues to be a hot topic. As Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports, Governor Cuomo and his cabinet are looking at plans for a new bridge and how the costs would be covered.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- There is no storage of ideas when it comes to building a new bridge crossing the Hudson River at Westchester and Rockland counties. But paying for the project is another issue that's yet to be completely resolved.
"We are working on a number of financing options, and we are working on those as we speak, but primarily one of the main funding streams is going to be tolls obviously," Cuomo said.
So will that mean an increase in tolls?
"We have to see," Cuomo said. "We don't have the cost of the bridge yet."
Earlier this month, state officials applied for a $2 billion loan from the federal government. That is not expected to get New York even halfway there. Other options that have been floated include drawing from private and public pension funds.
Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said, "There's been talk of a $5 billion project. That could swing significantly in either direction depending on the kinds of designs and best value proposals that we receive."
Governor Cuomo and his cabinet on Wednesday unveiled plans for a new bridge that would include components for bus and rail access. That's something transit advocates and local officials hoped would be in the financial plan. But there's a catch. Cuomo said Westchester and Rockland counties would need to invest to build for the infrastructure to accommodate bus and rail lines coming from a new bridge.
"The bridge will be train and bus accessible immediately," Cuomo said. "It's in the design. It's not an issue about the bridge at all."
As for the old bridge, Cuomo highlighted the possibility of building a linear park out of the Tappan Zee, similar to the High Line park in New York City. State officials are especially say the accelerated schedule could lead to a finalized design by August, thanks in part to the process known as design-build, passed as part of tax code overhaul in December.
Cuomo said, "This has been phenomenally rapid progress. I mean, when you think about 10 years they've been talking and now in a matter of months, so much progress has been made."
For local residents who would use the new bridge most frequently, deep discounts on tolls might be offered. The current toll for the bridge is $5 on the eastbound side