Stressing the importance of replacing the Tappan-Zee Bridge, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is hopeful that changes in state law will help move the project along on schedule and at cost, a rarity in past major state projects.
"The state does not have a good track record of bringing in a project at or below budget, and that is a very charitable statement," Cuomo said to a group of reporters after at Thursday.
Cuomo said changes in state law requiring contracting firms to work in the design process of major public projects will help hold those firms accountable because they will no longer be able to blame the design after the fact.
"One firm is going to be responsible for both the design of the project and the construction of the project and they are going to be responsible for the final cost," Cuomo said.
The Governor added that replacing the bridge has been talked about for decades, but held up by a frozen government.
"We're going to move forward with the Tappan Zee Bridge, which I think will energize the entire region," he said. "It will save the taxpayers across the state money because it's actually cheaper to replace the bridge than continue to repair it at the rates we were repairing it."
Mass transit, a key issue in the project during its early stages, will likely not be included in the new bridge when it is first completed, Cuomo said. But the Governor said he expects there to be an option to add some form of mass transit once the new bridge is finished.
Cuomo said the billions of dollars in extra costs and the lack of current transit systems to connect to the bridge are the biggest deterrents from including it in the original project.
The state is currently putting together multiple financing options and Cuomo said he hopes to have a final estimated cost for the project within the next few months.
"We'll come up with a financing option that is most advantageous for the state," he said.