by Rick Pezzullo
Tolls for motorists driving over the Tappan Zee Bridge would not increase for at least the next five years under a plan outlined in mid-January by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his annual State of the State Address.
To ease the financial burden of passenger and commercial traffic, Cuomo proposed a three-part Thruway Toll Reduction and Protection Plan that will keep tolls flat until at least 2020 for all users, cut tolls in half for nearly one million frequent travelers, and eliminate tolls for farm vehicles.
The Governor proposed a $700 million investment in Thruway infrastructure, on top of last year’s commitment of $1.285 billion. Meanwhile, the construction of the New NY Bridge, which will fully replace the Tappan Zee Bridge in 2018, remains on schedule and within its $3.98 billion budget.
State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti (D/Greenburgh, Mt. Pleasant) said Cuomo was correct in his assessment that New York is “Built to Lead.”
“The governor is right to commit to bettering our infrastructure, especially our transportation infrastructure,” said Abinanti, who, on the other hand, noted he was disappointed Cuomo failed to mention caring for people with special needs in his address. “However, we need to include our library infrastructure. Libraries are our 21st century community centers.”
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th District) implored the Republican-controlled Senate to stop blocking proposals made by Cuomo and work with the Democratic-controlled Assembly to “move New York State forward.”
“While lofty and ambitious goals are welcome, Albany must become a place of action and not just political posturing,” Stewart-Cousins said.