You could be forgiven if you’ve missed some of the news concerning the new Tappan Zee Bridge project. This project is very much on Governor Cuomo’s front-burner and is moving right along at an impressive pace. Here is the Reader’s Digest version of some (relatively) current events.
In February, four groups consisting of the usual suspects were short-listed to design and build the new span. In a strange twist of fate, one of the short-listed groups includes Dragados which now employs the same Chris Ward who reportedly butted heads with Gov. Cuomo during his time as the Executive Director of the Port Authority.
Meanwhile, back in Albany, the State engaged consultant Jeffrey A. Parker & Associates, Inc. to figure out how to pay the $6 billion price tag. The State has requested $2 billion from the Federal Department of Transportation pursuant to the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). So, assuming the feds allocate the requested $2 billion (a better bet than an Atlantic City slot machine given President Obama’s selection of the new bridge as one of fourteen projects to receive accelerated environment review – and Mr. Cuomo’s political affiliation), Mr. Parker must close a $4 billion funding gap. The administration has mentioned using pension fund investments, bonds and toll revenues. But, unless I missed something, nobody has officially suggested toll increases – yet.