Environmental groups blast new loan for Tappan Zee Bridge project
TARRYTOWN - Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new plan to use money from the federal Clean Water Act for the new Tappan Zee Bridge is drawing criticism from some environmentalists.
State officials say a more than half a billion-dollar loan will help protect the environment and prevent the new bridge tolls from sky rocketing.
The loan has received negative feedback by some environmental groups who say the plan is being rushed through without public input or scrutiny, and now they are threatening to sue.
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Gov. Cuomo's new plan to use $511 million in loan money for the new Tappan Zee Bridge was approved by a group called the State Environmental Facilities Corporation Thursday.
The money would help pay for the removal of the old span river dredging and several other projects related to the $3.9 billion bridge replacement project.
Ross Pepe, President of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley, says this is exactly what the money is meant for.
But not everyone is in agreement about the loan, which still must be approved by several more agencies before it is official.
Eco-groups such as Riverkeeper and many others say it is an improper use of money and are threatening legal action if it goes through.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who is also the Republication candidate for governor, says that the loan is a sign that Cuomo is having trouble financing the new bridge project and that drivers are going to end up footing the bill.
The loan is not done yet and must still be approved by the State Thruway Authority and the Public Authorities Control Board.