Proposed Tappan Zee Repairs Still Covered In Red Tape

Montesano calls for regulatory reforms and financial plan to stave off back-door borrowing
October 12, 2011

Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head) is pleased to see the start of the long process to repair the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is a vital lifeline for commuters in the lower Hudson Valley and the tri-state area. The federal government recently agreed to expedite the process of review and approval for the necessary repairs to the bridge’s aging infrastructure. As one of 14 projects chosen across the country for this expedited review process, the elimination of some bureaucratic red tape is essential to the success of the repair project.

“It is long past time we address the Tappan Zee Bridge’s ‘50s-era infrastructure,” said Montesano. “I am pleased to see the federal and state governments finally cut the red tape, speed up the approval process, and make the safety of New York’s commuters a top priority. With 120,000 cars crossing the bridge every day, it is imperative that we address the lingering safety concerns and begin to physically repair the bridge.”

A major concern and impediment to the restoration of the bridge has been the state’s Dedicated Highway Bridge and Trust Fund. In 2009, the comptroller’s office released a report stating that the trust fund’s ability to pay for highway and bridge capital projects was delimited after substantial amounts were diverted to pay for state agency operations and debt-service payments.

“Because Albany’s political class has raided our trust fund to pay for pet projects, funding for this overdue, extensive, and expensive bridge repair is going to wind up being a deferred tax on future New Yorkers,” said Montesano. “It is time that a real financial plan is set up between now and spring 2013 when work on the bridge is expected to begin.

“With our state still stuck in a financial mess, it is important that a timeline and budget for the Tappan Zee’s reconstruction be put in place and adhered to by force of law. I do not want to see more back-door borrowing to pay for current spending. Let’s rebuild economically and politically, by setting out reasonable goals for the bridge’s reconstruction – including reducing or eliminating those regulations which do not serve a safety-related purpose – and holding spendthrift Albany insiders accountable to the Empire State taxpayers and commuters.”