Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino blasts new funding from clean water fund for TZ Bridge project

Gov. Cuomo plans to use the $511 million

Gov. Cuomo plans to use the $511 million loan to help build the new bridge. (Credit: News 12)

ALBANY - Westchester County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has joined environmental groups in criticizing the newest loan that has been earmarked to help build the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The $511 million loan to help build the bridge was approved Thursday by the New York State Thruway Authority and Public Authorities Control Board. The money comes from a clean water fund, and state officials say the loan will help protect the Hudson River's environment and endangered sturgeon and oyster beds in the Hudson River. Officials say the funding will also keep tolls on the new bridge down.

Astorino says the loan is a sign that Cuomo is having trouble funding the bridge project. Despite Cuomo's insistence that the loan will keep toll prices down, Astorino estimated drivers could be paying around $15 for tolls.

Environmental groups also disagree with using the money, saying it is wrong to use money earmarked for the environment for a transportation project. Critics say the funding was only intended to be used for municipalities with more than 2 million people.

The Environmental Protection Agency is also investigating whether this is the correct use of the funding.

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