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DiNapoli Approves Bridge Contract, Wonders How to Pay for Project

Contract approval does not include approval of financial plan, toll increase or debt insurance.

Plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge, the state's single largest infrastructure project, moved forward Jan. 18 when the State Comptroller and Attorney General approved a contract for the design and building of the structure. 

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman approved a $3.142 billion contract with Tappan Zee Constructors (TZC), a consortium that includes Fluor Enterprises, American Bridge Company, Granite Construction Northeast, and Traylor Bros.

“The final approval on this contract is another milestone for the new bridge project that is now ready to break ground this year,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “After a decade of delay, we now have a final approved bid that will give the Hudson Valley a new bridge with the best price, the shortest construction time, require the least amount of dredging and be a foundation for future mass transit. The transformation of this bridge project represents what state government can accomplish in the new New York.”

Still to be approved are a financial plan, toll increase, and debt insurance. 

“Replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge is New York state’s largest single infrastructure project and is vital to our economic prosperity,” DiNapoli said. “To protect taxpayers, my office will closely scrutinize the Thruway’s oversight of the construction of the new bridge. The Thruway Authority is responsible for proposing a financing plan and must live up to its commitment to pursue the lowest cost options and ensure that its customers are paying the lowest possible tolls. Every effort must be taken to minimize costs for this project and protect the long-term fiscal health of the Thruway system.”

TZC said they are pleased to be moving ahead. The group won the bid after coming in 20 percent lower than the other two competitive bids for the project. The plan is based on a five-to-six-year time line. As Patch has reported, construction is expected to begin as soon as spring. 

The new bridge will have eight lanes, emergency lanes and extra-wide shoulders for express bus service. There will be a bicycle and pedestrian path, and at least three highway speed E-ZPass lanes. 

New York State Thruway Board of Directors Chairman Howard P. Milstein called the project, "vital to the long-term economic well-being of the lower Hudson Valley and the entire region."

After the approval was announced, DiNapoli said to CBS News, “The big question is still out there — how do we pay for it?” 

John Gruber January 22, 2013 at 05:10 PM
This basically sums up the American mentality: Buy now, worry about paying later... And lo and behold we're 16 trillion in debt
Walt January 22, 2013 at 05:28 PM
$16.5 but whose counting? $6.5 in the last 4 years alone with no absolutely plan to stop the slide. The American mentality has become one of entitlements, bloated bureaucracy along and out of control spending to keep the shell game going. Government has become the ruling class and we serve it and you ain't seen nothing yet!
joe January 24, 2013 at 09:43 PM
This insane governtment of ours take advantage of our inability to conceptualize the difference between a million this or a billion that. Let me visualize it for you: 1 million seconds ago it was January 13th. 1 Billion seconds ago it was 1981. Get it? Trillion? You don't want to know, that's why we have the elected officials we have today--because you dont want to know.
joe January 24, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Well said Aidan! And who sucks up to the unions?....Who?...Say it!!
Aidan January 25, 2013 at 02:09 PM
The headline is so New York: "DiNapoli Approves Bridge Contract, Wonders How to Pay for Project". How ridiculous.

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