The League of Women Voters of Westchester has come out in support of adding mass transit to proposed plans for a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
In its statement to transportation officials, the League says it has strong reservations about the proposed project's narrowed focus.
A Tappan Zee Bridge that improves and expands car traffic without encouraging mass transit and making related east- and west-bound highway improvements is inconsistent with our needs, the League said. As many have already said, it is backward looking at a time when we are increasingly aware of the problems of urban sprawl, new environmental considerations and growing economic inequalities.
Current plans for the Tappan Zee Bridge call for two separate spans across the Hudson River just north of the existing bridge. There is no mass transit in the works, although transportation officials say proposed plans do not preclude mass transit from being added later.
The previous project for a new Tappan Zee Bridge included mass transit and would also have made additional improvements to 30 miles of the I-87/I-287 corridor. Residents from both Westchester and Rockland Counties expressed frustration over the lack of mass transit during two public briefings held in October.
The new bridge is expected to cost $5.2 billion and won't be completed until 2017. The League said it appreciated the project's expedited federal approval and the many jobs it would create, but ultimately they said those effects would be short-term.
The limitations of this particular project would be with us for the foreseeable future, it said. We must and can do better. The League said they urge transportation officials to rethink proposed plans and add mass transit to build a bridge we can live with for the long term.
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