The big holdup among county executives in the Hudson Valley and the Cuomo administration was whether the new Tappan Zee Bridge would be constructed to include mass transit.
But today, Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef and Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said they support the governor’s vision and will vote for the project next month at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council.
They said in a statement that the bridge will have dedicated bus lanes and will be built to later add more transit components. They said there’s a “framework deal” with the governor:
—Dedicated bus lanes will be incorporated on the bridge from the start.—The bridge will be constructed with mass transit capacity compatible with a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and Commuter Rail Transit.—A Regional Transit Task Force will 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 will 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 will be created for contractors that could be used to reinvest in regional mass transit or to moderate impact on tollpayers.
“I have been a strong supporter on 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,” said Astorino in the statement. “Under the framework we announce today, mass transit will not be an afterthought in the building of the bridge. 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.”
Cuomo has long said that the $5 billion bridge would be mass-transit ready. But his office recently said it would have dedicated bus lanes.