The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved a loan of up to $1.6 billion through its Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program for construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
The loan is the largest ever in the history of the TIFIA program.
The Secretary’s approval comes after the DOT’s Credit Council met this morning to review the loan application, said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, Westchester-Rockland).
Yesterday, Lowey wrote a letter urging the DOT to expedite consideration of the TIFIA application. It can be viewed here.
“This is a huge milestone for the construction of a New Tappan Zee Bridge, a critical link in our region’s infrastructure system and lifeline for commuters and businesses,” she said in a statement. “I am excited that the DOT has approved the largest ever TIFIA loan for a transportation project and that the work on a new bridge can continue to move forward.”
Actual construction started last week. Patch has that and all the TZB news on our dedicated page.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, ""Approval of New York State's request for this loan is great news for the tens of thousands of commuters who depend on the Tappan Zee every day, for communities in the Lower Hudson Valley, and for our entire state.
"This is a huge win for New York State, creating thousands of jobs, and an endorsement of one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in our history. It shows that despite over a decade of delay, New York can continue to build big," Cuomo said.
Plans for a new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee were first discussed in 1999, and over the next 11 years, $88 million in taxpayer dollars was spent, 430 meetings were held, 150 concepts were considered, according to the governor's office.
State Assemblyman David Buchwald said, "Today's announcement is a victory for all New Yorkers. It reaffirms our progress on building the new Tappan Zee Bridge that is essential for our region's economic vitality. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership through each phase of this important project."
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino also congratulated the governor; but, he pointed out there are still financial issues to be dealt with.
“I congratulate Governor Cuomo on this good news. The next step is how do we finance the rest of the bridge and the mass transit improvements to and from the bridge, while keeping tolls as low as possible," Astorino said. "The governor has my full support to help the state come up with the best financing plans possible.”