State Looks To Replace Tappan Zee Bridge

Transit Blogger focuses on mass transit so why am I writing about the Tappan Zee Bridge? Well I am writing about it because if the state has its way, the aging Tappan Zee Bridge will be completely replaced & sport a new structure which would be extremely mass transit friendly. Lets go straight to the report by William Neuman of the New York Times:

State officials announced an ambitious plan on Friday to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge with a new bridge with room for commuter trains and high-speed bus lanes. The price tag for a new bridge and expanded rail and bus lines: $16 billion.

Officials did not say how they would pay for the project; they said they would work with a financial adviser to come up with financing options. The state transportation commissioner, Astrid C. Glynn, said that the state would seek federal financing for part of the project and that a partnership involving some form of private financing would also be considered.

“This is obviously a very significant investment for the state,” Ms. Glynn said in a telephone interview after a formal announcement in Tarrytown. “At this point, all options have to be on the table.”

Officials said the bridge itself would cost $6.4 billion. A high-speed bus corridor running from Suffern to Port Chester would cost $2.9 billion. And it would cost an additional $6.7 billion to build a new rail line that would go from the Metro-North station in Suffern and across the bridge, connecting with Metro-North’s Hudson Line south of Tarrytown.

Click here for the complete report.

Now lets go to Tri-State Transportation Campaign who weighed in on the state’s plan in this entry by Communications Associate Steven Higashide:

The Tappan Zee Bridge/I-287 Corridor project hit a major milestone this morning, when NYSDOT publicly recommended that the Tappan Zee Bridge be replaced, that a bus rapid transit (BRT) system run through the I-287 corridor between Suffern and Port Chester, and that a new commuter rail line be built from Suffern to the Tappan Zee Bridge, where it would connect with existing tracks and run to Grand Central Terminal in NYC.

The announcement, which came at a press conference at the study team’s Tarrytown office, received praise from TSTC and other advocates. The full corridor BRT/Rockland-NYC commuter rail combination is projected to attract more new and total transit riders than any other combination the team considered: 79,900 average weekday riders, with 31,200 of those being new riders not diverted from other transit systems. These and other updated transit ridership projections are listed in two studies, released today, which detail the study team’s justifications for recommending a replacement bridge with BRT/commuter rail and a bicycle/pedestrian path.

Click here for the complete entry.

The New York Times had a followup report which was written by Diana Marszalek:

THE recent announcement that transportation officials want to replace rather than repair the Tappan Zee Bridge, and have it accommodate new bus and Metro-North service to boot, sounds like a logical first step. The Tappan Zee, at 52 years old, is so outdated that 80 percent of it would have to be replaced to bring it up to current standards and to meet the growing needs of commuters, the officials said.

Given the $6.4 billion price tag, not including the costs for mass transit, transportation officials said it was not worth trying to make the old structure new again. “This must be done,” Andrew J. Spano, the Westchester County executive, said at the Sept. 26 press conference at which transportation officials and Westchester and Rockland County leaders announced their recommendation that a new Tappan Zee Bridge be built. “This is a bridge whose time has come.”

Those same officials, however, now plan to spend the remainder of this year and all of next looking long and hard at how to execute the plan, especially in light of concerns about the impact it will have on traffic, nearby towns and the environment.

Click here for the complete report.

As a former Rockland County resident, I can tell you first hand that this bridge is long overdue to be replaced. Outside of that fact, I think transit advocates, bloggers, etc… should applaud the state for looking to help further our transit infrastructure in an ever growing region. However I will hold off the huge celebration until I see what the actual plan will be.

I am also concerned that their is already talk of the rail portion not being open on day 1 of the new bridge. I can’t stress how important it is that the rail portion is open on day 1 of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. If it does not open on the same day, you can pretty much guarantee that it will be the victim of delays due to budget concerns. While the thinking behind this project is a welcome sign in a region & society which has long been auto-centric, it has to be executed to truly showcase our government’s real desire to improve our transit infrastructure.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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