Discussion continues over Tappan Zee Bridge replacement plan
The discussion continues over the best way to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge. The project is expected to cost in the $5 billion range and while Governor Cuomo says debate over the project is good, he's worried too much could stall its progress. Nick Reisman has more.
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WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo warned local officials and advocates not to stand in the way of the massive undertaking that is replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge. In a radio interview on Monday, the governor said debate over the project's merits is good, but up to a point.
“You want a process that says, yes we're a democracy, let's talk about and let's discuss it. Opposition, argumentation is good, but let's decide and do something because the alternative is to do nothing,” said Cuomo.
The idea that government is too bogged down in conversation is a frequent criticism from Cuomo. But it's often used to justify his hard-charging efforts to ram through legislation, such as an overhaul of the tax code and Tier Six. But the project to rebuild the Tappan Zee is different: A massive multiyear undertaking that will replace an aging structure built in the 1950s.
Cuomo said, “Well, they're going to be different ideas about how to replace the bridge. Welcome to America, welcome to New York, welcome to democracy.”
Cuomo's outlook on the effort to rebuilding New York's crumbling infrastructure is influenced in part by Al Smith, a Democratic governor in the 1920s who partnered with controversial builder Robert Moses.
“The point of Al Smith and his ability to manage the government just on this point I thought was profound, especially coming in the door because in many ways that's enemy number one, is the mismanagement, the atrophy of state government,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo, meanwhile, is appointing his top aide, Larry Schwartz, to manage the project. A final estimate on replacing the bridge won't be available until a construction company bids come in at the end of this month, but estimates peg the cost at more than $5 billion.