To the Editor:
Don’t shed a tear for Governor Cuomo complaining about a petition against naming the bridge for his late father Mario Cuomo. Motorists and taxpayers are more concerned about how Governor Cuomo will find $2.6 billion outstanding balance of $3.9 billion needed to pay for the Tappan Zee Bridge rather than naming rights. Don’t shed a tear for Governor Cuomo complaining about a petition against naming the bridge for his late father Mario Cuomo. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch or in this case, construction of a bridge. At the end of the day, someone has to pay. The Citizens Budget Commission report projects that tolls on the new Tappan Zee Bridge will likely increase from $5.00 to $10.50 after 2020 comes as no surprise. It confirms what I previously predicted. Governor Cuomo made a cold political calculation by promising not to raise the tolls when running for another term in 2018 or President in 2020 (the world’s worst kept secret). To pay back the $1.6 billion dollar federal loan and $1 billion New York Thruway Authority Bond which helped finance the new $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge, tolls will have to go up by double or more over several years. The well-respected Moody’s Investment Services previously estimated the tolls will go up to $7.60 by 2021 and $15 by 2026 for the Thruway Authority to be able to pay back both the loan and bond.
Governor Andrew Cuomo can pay for naming the bridge after his late father by using $2.6 billion out of his $26 billion and growing 2018 campaign reelection fund.
It is a safe bet that taxpayers and commuters will be paying higher fares, taxes and tolls in coming years to cover the costs.
(Larry Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.)