Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Tappan Zee Bridge bears all the hallmarks of a Robert Moses project. Cuomo stripped popular transit elements from the original, publicly-conceived plan, leaving only a massive highway. Cuomo has shut down the public outreach process for the bridge entirely. He’s even moving to sign the contracts to build the bridge before answering basic questions about its design and funding. (Cuomo’s less-than-transparent answer about how the state will pay for the bridge today: “We’re working on a number of funding options.”)
Still, while we’d accuse Cuomo of Moses-style transportation planning, we wouldn’t have expected the governor to proudly own the label. But unbelievably, that’s what he did today at a press conference, implicitly comparing his bridge project to those of Moses in response to an on-point question about the New York Works Task Force from Capitol Confidential’s Jimmy Vielkind.
There are ways for government to get things done without using a ramrod, obviously. Your characterization, that Mr. Moses used a ramrod, other people would disagree with that characterization, but it’s yours. My point is that government can function efficiently and effectively, I said with due process, with an open process, with consultation. But the consultation and the process shouldn’t be paralyzing. You know, government needs to work, society needs to be able to replace a bridge.
Talk about it, discuss it, analyze it, argue it. Look at different styles, look at different financing options, but ultimately, you have to decide if you’re going to get anything done.
So if you think the Cross-Bronx, Sheridan, Bruckner and Major Deegan Expressways reinvigorated the South Bronx; if you think the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge is better off without its once-proposed inter-borough transit connection; if you still shake your head at those in Greenwich Village who had the nerve to speak up against a freeway through downtown, then you’ll love Andrew Cuomo’s transit-free Tappan Zee Bridge.
Don’t take our word for it. Andrew Cuomo said so himself.