Last week, Gov. Cuomo announced that the state’s Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) will loan up to $511 million to the Thruway Authority for the new Tappan Zee Bridge project. The EFC is a public benefit corporation, so the loan will not be borne by taxpayers. Half of the loan, up to $256 million, will be interest-free and will be used for environmental remediation in and around the bridge.
The Tappan Zee bridge replacement project is expected to cost $3.9 billion. The loan is expected to help limit tolls on the new bridge.
Gov. Cuomo said:
“As we continue to see progress on the New NY Bridge, it is essential that actions are taken to protect wildlife and address the project’s environmental impacts – but in a way that doesn’t overburden taxpayers and drivers. This $500 million low-cost loan will reduce the financial burden of these necessary environmental measures, and enable the Thruway Authority to continue moving full-steam ahead on this important project.”
We’re still waiting for the announcement that the state is following through on its 2012 promise to establish a bridge toll/financing task force. We need to know how this bridge is going to be paid for – and we need to know that the Thruway Authority won’t be raising tolls Upstate to pay for the new bridge.