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Cuomo wise to meet with neighbors on Tappan Zee project

Many gather and watch a live town hall

Many gather and watch a live town hall meeting concerning the Tappan Zee Bridge at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown sponsored by Newsday and News 12. Credit: Rory Glaeseman

Following a pledge to meet with people affected by the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced two meetings for next week – one in Westchester and another in Rockland.

The Westchester meeting is set for 8 a.m. Wednesday at Berkeley College in White Plains followed by one at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Dominican College in Orangeburg.

In announcing the meetings a week before they are scheduled, the governor said it was important to “go town-by-town and village-by-village” to explain the details of this projected $5.2 billion project and address all questions and concerns.

There will be many: Noise, cost, tolls, timetables and its impact on the environment and neighborhoods are sure to be among them. So, the governor is wise to engage the community and those affected. It’s the best way to rally support and make sure this bridge project isn’t one that goes nowhere.

These forums follow a Town Hall meeting in June sponsored by Newsday and News12 where hundreds of people turned out, many asking Larry Schwartz, secretary to the governor, and Thomas Madison, executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority, about specific issues. When they didn’t have answers for people at the forum, they pledged to get them.

After reaching an agreement with labor that is expected to generate millions in savings, the governor has the support of key trade groups. And business organizations so far are backing construction of a new bridge as a boon to the economy.

Now it’s up to the Cuomo Administration to answer the questions of people on both sides of the Hudson River – those who will be the most affected. Meeting them in their own communities is a good way to bridge any divide.

Pictured above: Members of the audience listen during a town hall meeting concerning the Tappan Zee Bridge at the Doubletree Hotel in Tarrytown. The town hall was sponsored by Newsday and News 12.