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Cuomo says tolls will help pay for new bridge

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Governor Cuomo revealed some more details this week about how the newly named Mario Cuomo bridge on the Thruway over the Hudson River will be financed.

We know that the former Tappan Zee Bridge will be replaced by the new Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge, in honor the present Governor’s late father. But we don’t know the final price tag of the project, which spans the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester Counties.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, at business breakfast, revealed some new details, prompted by a question from the head of the state’s Republican Party Ed Cox, who asked the governor to detail the financing plan for the new bridge. Cuomo answered that Thruway tolls will help pay for it.

“The remainder after 2020 will be paid with toll revenue from the entire system,” Cuomo said.

Thruway toll rates are frozen until 2020.

The bridge has been partly financed with around $2 billion dollars from the windfall New York received from the bank settlements after the financial crash. There’s also bonds from the Thruway Authority and federal loans. The governor says the bridge, estimated at around $4 billion dollars, also costs around one billion dollars less than initially planned  

Cuomo has not revealed how much the exact toll on the new bridge will be, or what will happen to Thruway tolls after 2020.

Some are objecting to Thruway users from the entire state pay for the cost of the new bridge. The business group  Unshackle Upstate says “it’s unfair to ask Upstate commuters to pay for a bridge that many will never use”.

Cuomo also took a shot at GOP Chair Cox and former Republican Governor George Pataki, saying that while the GOP discussed replacing the aging bridge, they failed to follow through.

“They talked about replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge,” Cuomo said. “It just never happened”.

Cuomo said the lack of action contributed to what he calls the “cynicism of government”.

The new bridge will partially open on August 25th.