Cuomo asking for federal funding for bridge project
Approval from the Metropolitan Transit Authority wasn't the only step forward for the new Tappan Zee Bridge proposal. Governor Cuomo also signed a letter asking for federal funding. As Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports, Cuomo seems confident the state will secure the extra cash.
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NEW YORK -- Governor Andrew Cuomo likes getting things done, and Monday's key vote to allow the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project to move forward is another example of how the hard-charging Democrat is able to get his way.
"As a society, as a government, as a state, we have to be able to get to yes," the governor said. "You have to be able to build a bridge that needs to be replaced. If we want this state to be what we want it to be, you have to be able to tackle a project like this."
Plans to replace the bridge that connects Rockland and Westchester counties have molded on a shelf for more than a decade. For Cuomo, who took office 19 months ago, the delay was symbolic of New York's dysfunctional government.
Cuomo said, "Everything is so hard nowadays. You know, there are so many obstacles to getting anything done."
Cuomo this summer assigned his top aide, Larry Schwartz, to marshal local support for the project. He also corralled the support from local officials, including ex-Governor George Pataki, which was all designed to pressure county executives in Rockland, Westchester and Putnam to put aside their concerns over not having enough information. In the end, it worked.
Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef said, "I want to thank the governor directly for his involvement, his being in and part of the discussions with the county executives."
But there is still more to do. Cuomo is seeking a federal Department of Transportation loan from a $1.7 billion pool of money to pay in part for the estimated $5.2 billion bridge. But clearing the major hurdle of getting New Yorkers on the same page is considered a major accomplishment.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said, "I think what's wonderful is the openness, the process, the county executives, local officials working with state government, and we got it done. That's the bottom line; we got it done."