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As work begins in earnest to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge with a new and more-durable span, it’s time to think about what the new bridge will be called.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
The state is suggesting that it may nearly triple the cost of crossing the Hudson River from Rockland County to Westchester County when it replaces the outdated Tappan Zee Bridge in several years. The new bridge is going to cost some $5 billion, and Governor Cuomo needs to figure out how to pay for it.
The plan to hit up drivers for 14 bucks when they enter Westchester County (the bridge has a one-way toll system) is very likely a trial balloon, similar to the Port Authority’s plan last year to impose huge new hikes on its bridges and tunnels that connect New York and New Jersey. Governors Cuomo and Christie expressed horror and outrage, and the PA, as if on cue, immediately reduced its request, but tolls went up all the same.
That’s the likely scenario for the new Tappan Zee Bridge—the toll will be significantly higher than it is now, but it won’t be as high as the request. That’s how politics works. But here’s the problem: Government is making it increasingly expensive for commuters and commercial traffic, and that’s simply not good news for the city and regional economy.
Mental Health Protest
Everybody but Governor Cuomo is certainly trying.
The TriState Transportation Campaign just launched a new set of radio ads ahead of public hearings next week for the administration-approved, mass-transit-less bridge planned to replace the dangerously deteriorated Tappan Zee. The spots conclude: “Without transit, we’ll be stuck in traffic for decades. Tell Albany—we need transit on the Tappan Zee.” It is the same message offered by a recent video produced by the group that shows politicians and planners on both sides of the river and the aisle support mass transit on the bridge. They all want to know why after a decade of planning, after 280 meetings, it must all be cast aside.
Update: The man let go of the rope on purpose or accidentally fell into the water around 2 p.m., according to The Nation’s Greg Mitchell. He landed in water or on the deck of barge and was taken to police barracks, Mr. Mitchell reports. The man’s condition is unknown, but NBC New York reports the man fell in the water, not on the barge. Right now he’s on an emergency worker’s boat, according to Gothamist. Before jumping he also took off his pants, apparently, and tried to swim away but emergency workers gave him a life preserver, which he took.
Occupy Wall Street might have to step up their protesting efforts. A man is currently dangling off the Tappan Zee Bridge, protesting his termination at a mental health facility Rockland County. Michael Davitt is clinging to a banner that’s tied to a van blocking traffic on the bridge over the Hudson River, occasionally taking sips from a thermos. The banner reads “ROCKLAND EXECUTIVE LEGISLATURE COVER UP RETALIATION,” and Patch reports his car has closed one lane.