SLEEPY HOLLOW — Westchester, Rockland and Putnam County executives announced today that they support the $5.2 billion Tappan Zee Bridge project and have reached an agreement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that includes forming a panel to study the region’s mass transit needs.
“We announce our intention to vote ‘yes’ at the next metropolitan transportation council meeting, which will allow the project to qualify for federal loans,” Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino said at a news conference with Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef at Kingsland Point Park.
The trio sits on the nine-member voting board of New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, which has to approve the plan before it can proceed. After postponing its vote in July, the council is expected to vote on the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement next month.
“(Tappan Zee) tolls will be dependent upon the investment by the federal government in helping New York state build this bridge,” Vanderhoef said. “Ultimately, the vote on NYMTC is a vote to get this moving along to ensure the federal government comes through with its loan and comes through with any other investment.”
State officials have said they hope to get up to $2 billion in a low-interest loan from the federal government.
Odell, Putnam’s executive, called today’s announcement an “historic moment.”
“We all agree that this project is probably one of the largest projects that we’ll undertake in the New York state in quite a while,” she said. “In American history, projects like this have always helped our families and getting our families either back to work or keeping them working.”
In July, county leaders said they wanted more assurance from the state that mass transit would be part of the new 3-mile span, arguing that they didn’t have enough details to cast votes. Since then, the project’s final environmental impact report has been released and state officials have held weekly community forums to answer questions.