Brewster, N.Y. – 11/1/2013 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) issued the following statement in response to the $1.6 billion loan from the federal government for the new Tappan Zee Bridge.
“The $1.6 billion dollar loan may be seen as a positive development for many but to me is really an indicator of how far behind New York State is on infrastructure and economic issues in general. Where does this loan, and our continued reliance upon debt based financing, leave the taxpayers and ratepayers that will be left footing the bill? The predicted $14 toll, or more, is a significant price to pay for middle-class families trying to get to work, and without the mass transit portion, this bridge will literally be inadequate and out of date the day the ribbon is cut. This project is too big to get wrong, we need to build this bridge to be at least mass transit ready. While it may be too late to fund the actual bridge through a public-private partnership, we can still us this new concept to fund the mass transit portion.
Over 80 years ago the George Washington Bridge was built to be mass transit ready. As we know, the rail component was never constructed, and now commuters idle in significant GW Bridge traffic and are paying high tolls. This does not have to be the case for the Tappan Zee Bridge. If New York State would get its act together and enact P3 enabling legislation early in 2014, procurement could go out for the mass transit portion of the bridge, and taxpayers would be provided an alternate, efficient and less expensive means of traveling across the Hudson.
We live in a powerful state that is home to the greatest financial market in the world. Borrowing $1.6 billion from the federal government for this project is symptomatic of a lack of both creative thinking and innovative finance models. Its time to change the old borrow and spend methods and implement this new helpful tool,” said Senator Greg Ball.
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