Last Monday, Brian Conybeare was announced as the Special Advisor for the Tappan Zee Bridge project.  He will serve as the liaison for the governor to Hudson Valley residents and businesses, conducting the day-to-day meetings with local community and business leaders, and working with secretary to the governor, Larry Schwartz, who was appointed to oversee the Tappan Zee Bridge project.

Conybeare is an award-winning reporter who most recently served as anchor for the News 12 Evening Edition. He was also a co-anchor on the weekly political talk show, “Newsmakers,” and has hosted the station’s local election debates and live town meetings.

The governor said:

“After more than 10 years of gridlock surrounding the Tappan Zee Bridge project, we are moving forward to finally build a new, safer bridge for the Hudson Valley.  As we continue to make progress, Brian Conybeare will help connect my administration with residents and the business community….In his role, he will help ensure that affected communities are provided the information they need and that concerns are properly addressed. Together, we will build a bridge that serves all of Hudson Valley.”

The governor’s office also announced a new website for the Tappan Zee Bridge Project, as well as a toll free number (855 TZBRIDGE) through which New Yorkers can submit questions and concerns about the project. Those interested can also receive updates on the Tappan Zee project via Twitter at @NewNYBridge.

The state is also forming two outreach groups that will work with the community on evaluating the bridge’s design.

We at Unshackle Upstate wonder: Why does the Tappan Zee Bridge need a special advisor?  At a salary of more than $160,000 a year,  Conybeare will just become another person at the Thruway Authority making more than $100K a year and adding to a bloated bureaucracy.  That is not going to help the Thruway Authority control its spending.  It is just another indication to us as to why they want a 45- percent increase in tolls for vehicles with three or more axles.