This item slipped under the radar late Friday afternoon: The New York State Republican Party is calling out Governor Andrew Cuomo for abandoning transit on the Tappan Zee Bridge.
After the feds declined to invite New York to apply for a low-interest loan to finance construction of a transit-less TZB, the state GOP sent out this statement (hat tip to Nick Reisman at Capital Tonight’s State of Politics blog):
County Executives Astorino and Vanderhoef have implored the Governor to include mass transit into any new Tappan Zee Bridge as a way to ensure that the bridge is not obsolete on day one and protects the environment going forward. Governor Cuomo, who has acknowledged the importance of a new bridge, has been conspicuously silent and woefully inert.
The cause of rebuilding New York’s infrastructure will only succeed if it has a champion, and New York’s two U.S. Senators and Governor are the only elected officials with the political capital to get the job done. Today’s news makes clear that they have neither the will nor the ability.
As Reisman notes, even though Cuomo is a Democrat, the state GOP is not in the habit of criticizing him this sharply.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, state legislators Andrea Stewart Cousins, David Carlucci, Amy Paulin, Tom Abinanti, and Ken Zebrowski all signed on to a coalition statement last December which, like the state GOP, calls Cuomo’s TZB plan “obsolete from day one” [PDF via Tri-State Transportation Campaign]. The coalition also includes labor unions and environmental organizations.
So it seems that the Cuomo administration’s current TZB plans are so shortsighted and plainly unpopular in the Hudson Valley (where residents participated for years in a public planning process envisioning transit on the bridge), that both ends of the local political spectrum feel compelled to oppose them. Whether you’re approaching this issue from the left or the right, building a superwide, cars-only Tappan Zee Bridge is a lousy idea.