New Tappan Zee could create 7,700 full-time jobs, state says

An artist's rendition of the design for the

An artist's rendition of the design for the new Tappan Zee Bridge that was selected by a panel of experts as the best value among the three proposals submitted. The winning design must be approved by the State Thruway Authority. (Dec. 5, 2012) (Credit: NYnewbridge.com)

The Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project could bring more than 7,700 jobs and inject $3.2 billion into the Hudson Valley's economy, according to a new state study.

"It certainly is good news," said Ross Pepe, president of the New York Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley.

Commissioned for Empire State Development and New York Department of Labor, the four-page study forecasts how the $3.9 billion price tag of the bridge would generate jobs over the estimated five-year life of the project.


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Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison released a statement saying the study illustrates how the bridge is on track to fulfill its promise of boosting the regional economy.

"The information developed by the state Department of Labor and Empire State Development maps out in new, greater details the jobs that building this new bridge will create throughout the region," said Madison.

The lion's share of those jobs would be in construction, particularly for Tappan Zee Constructors, the consortium chosen by the Thruway to build the 3.1-mile bridge last year. Much of those jobs would be governed by a sweeping labor-management agreement designed to prevent work stoppages and other labor strife from slowing the bridge replacement.

But administrative workers and other white collar employees would also find work on the project, said Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera in a statement.

"New York State has a diverse and talented workforce," Rivera said. "This project is one of the biggest opportunities for us to work collaboratively with local business and contractors on placing New Yorkers in new and exciting jobs."

The report uses a formula that suggests that the project would employ 7,700 full-time workers if each job were full-time and lasted for the full five years of the project. But many jobs won't last that long, meaning far more than 7,700 people might work on the bridge project or land jobs from it in spinoff employment.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo initially said the new Tappan Zee would create 45,000 jobs, a number that used a different formula than the state report. The state report estimated that the bridge project would create around 36,600 "job years," or individual jobs that would last for a total of one year.

Transportation economist Charles Komanoff said parsing job figures from inexact estimates isn't a fruitful endeavor. Ultimately, he said, the new Tappan Zee Bridge or any other big infrastructure project is going to produce jobs based roughly on the investment in the enterprise.

"All public works create jobs," said Komanoff. "There are probably no more and no fewer jobs from any million or billion spent on this project than on mass transit, bike lanes and airports."

The report estimates that the bridge would result in $2 billion in disposable income for bridge workers and others who conduct business with them. The Hudson Valley is already enjoying an economic surge from that money, said Pepe.

In addition to construction crews testing the Hudson River bottom and readying the Rockland and Westchester County shores for heavy duty work, the preparations for the project have already helped local businesses, he said.

"Hospitality facilities are hosting the many meetings taking place," said Pepe. "There are real estate transactions taking place where office space is being rented, property is being purchased. Equipment is being rented and purchased for this project."

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