Tappan Zee Bridge: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political, PR skills won over county execs

ALBANY — The telephone calls came with regularity from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his staff to the three Hudson Valley county executives who were leery of backing plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The conversations over the past month were courteous and professional, but also serious and urgent, the local leaders said. The result was what Cuomo has become accustomed to during his 1 1/2 years in office: He got his desired outcome.

The county executives from Rockland, Westchester and Putnam voted Monday to move the project ahead and seek federal aid for it.

“His approach really expedited the process,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “If he wasn’t such a communicator on this project, we would probably be nowhere near” this phase.

In Albany, Cuomo has used political skill to get a reluctant Legislature to back his agenda. He is using the same approach on one of the largest projects in the nation: building a new $5.2 billion bridge across the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties.

“It’s like everything else we’ve been trying to do over the past 19 months,” Cuomo said in an interview Friday. “We said when we came in that New York state was suffering from a culture of governmental dysfunction, and we came in with an agenda that we were going to move aggressively.”

He has moved fast on the controversial bridge, a project that has languished for more than a decade. But unlike winning key votes at the Capitol, such as legalizing same-sex marriage last year, the new bridge will be years in the making and require patience for an administration keen on quick results.

To view this full article and get the most recent update on the Tappan Zee Project, CLICK HERE