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EPA rejects Cuomo plan for thruway bridge loan

Posted by Karen DeWitt on

The federal environmental protection agency has rejected a plan by Governor Cuomo to raid the state’s  clean water fund to help pay for the New York Thruway’s Tappan Zee Bridge replacement.

The Cuomo Administration had justified the loan from the state’s clean water revolving loan program, which is overseen by the federal government, saying it would help keep the Hudson River clean while the bridge was rebuilt, and after its completion. But opponents, including most environmental groups, say Cuomo is misusing the fund to clean up water pollution that would actually be caused by the bridge project.

The EPA agrees, and says, in a letter to the Administration that the loan money should not be used to mitigate “construction activities”.The letter also says the request to use the clean water loan to help finance a new bridge is “unprecedented”, and says no other state has made a request “of this type or magnitude”.

Cuomo says he’ll appeal the decision, but says the financing of the bridge project is not dependent on the loan.  

“This was never part of the planning for the bridge financing,” Como said.

The governor has yet to release a detailed plan of how the new bridge will be paid for.

A spokesman for Cuomo’s agency that would have  administered the loan, the Environmental Facilities Corporation,  says the EPA is “simply wrong”. 

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