New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) members voted unanimously today, Aug. 20, to approve resolutions that allow for the planned Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project to progress to the next stage.
"The federal process at the regional level is complete. The state can move forward with the project, which is now eligible [to seek funding under the] federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA)," says Lisa Daglian, NYMTC spokeswoman.
The counci'’s vote follows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Aug. 16 announcement that three Hudson Valley County executives on the council agreed to vote in support of the replacement bridge plan. The next day the council issued a public notice that the vote would take place today.
Riverkeeper, Ossining, N.Y., says such short notice of a crucial meeting "violates public process," however, and is "a major departure from past promises of transparency and inclusiveness."
The group says the only submitted financial plan for the project is slightly longer than one page and only describes the cost of the bridge, not the revenue to pay for it.
"In the business world, no reputable company would hold a vote on, let alone approve a $5-billion investment on the basis of a sketchy, one-page financial plan, especially from a business that's already having problems with its bond rating, like the [New York State] Thruway Authority," Paul Gallay, president of Hudson Riverkeeper, said in a statement following the vote.
Daglian says the vote was originally scheduled for July but some members had requested a postponement then. "All of the documents have been posted on our Web site for review since June," she says.
Meanwhile, the council's vote included a transportation conformity determination that "paves the way for funding to be used for a host of other projects including a Hunts Point Market project," Daglian says.