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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says yes to considering bridge and tunnel

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 endorsed a state examination of the feasibility of a Long Island Sound bridge as well as a tunnel. Speaking after an event in Melville, Cuomo said he supports suggestions made by the Long Island Association business group last month to expand two feasibility studies that he first outlined in January. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday endorsed a state examination of the feasibility of a Long Island Sound bridge as well as a tunnel.

He also said a study of a deep-water port for the Island should include locations besides Shoreham.

In January, the governor proposed more limited studies: a $5 million look at a Sound tunnel and a $1 million look at a Shoreham port. Last month, the Long Island Association business group asked Cuomo and the State Legislature to consider expanding the scope of both studies.

“We are open to studying everything,” Cuomo said Tuesday after an event at the LIA’s Melville headquarters. “The question we pose to Long Island from the state side is, ‘You tell us your long-term vision for your economy.’ ”

Funding for the studies is subject to negotiations between Cuomo and the legislature for the 2016-17 state budget, which is due April 1.

Spokesmen for the State Senate’s Republican majority and the Assembly’s Democratic majority both said Tuesday that they had yet to take a position on the studies or their scope.

Cuomo, speaking to reporters, noted that a Sound crossing has been debated for nearly 80 years with the earliest proposal coming from a U.S. Senate committee, which floated the idea of a bridge in 1938.

Cuomo said construction of the Empire State Building, George Washington Bridge, Long Island Rail Road and other successful projects were initially dismissed as “a little crazy . . . but New York is all about thinking big.”

He also said the increased difficulty of getting on and off Long Island would in 20 years “slow down the growth of the Island and habitability.”

Other leaders oppose the Sound study.

Daniel F. DeVita, mayor of Laurel Hollow, said construction of a tunnel or bridge could set back efforts to improve water quality in the Sound. He said a better use for the $5 million in study funds was “spending it on other, more worthy projects like extending municipal water to those still serviced by private wells.”

In terms of the port, State Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) has said it shouldn’t be located on the site of the never-opened Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant.

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