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Transportation advocates waiting for TZ Bridge Task Force
It's two months, eight days and counting from when Lower Hudson Valley county executives agreed to create a task force to explore the possibility of adding mass transit to the state's Tappan Zee Bridge replacement plans.
So says the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a New York City-based advocacy group, which has put a Times Square-like ticker on its website to nudge state and county officials along.
"While new construction plans make few provisions for transit, the state agreed to form a transit task force in August (the group would issue recommendations for transit in the corridor within a year). But there's still no task force," the website screams.
The Tappan Zee Bridge
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The Cuomo Administration says adding mass transit to the bridge now would double the cost of its bridge plans, currently pegged at $5.9 billion. However, Cuomo says the new bridge will be sturdy enough to add dedicated mass transit lanes at a future date assuming the money -- not to mention the political will -- can be found.
Current plans for the dual-span bridge include a dedicated, rush-hour bus lane on the bridge. Transit advocates want to see rail or bus lines coming off the bridge into neighboring towns so drivers will have a greater incentive to get out of their cars.
The ticker tweak harkens back to Aug. 16 when the county executives of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam promised to support the Cuomo plan and said they would create a task force to study the cost of adding bus rapid transit and commuter rail to the bridge. The task force is supposed to report its findings in the coming year.
"Governor Cuomo is committed to building a new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee and at the same time pursuing the best future mass transit options for the Hudson Valley," said Brian Conybeare, an adviser to the governor on the bridge project. "That’s why he is working with local leaders to put together the Mass Transit Task force which will have announced members in the near future and will be charged with delivering recommendations within one year.”
For a look at Tri-State's ticker, go to: http://www.tstc.org/
Should the Tappan Zee Bridge be built with mass transit?
Yes, I want Metro-North rails to be built on the bridge. Yes, I want bus transit to be allowed on the bridge. No, we can't afford to build it with mass transit. I don't care. I just want a new bridge.