DOWNSTATE TAPPAN ZEE TRAVELERS RIDE THE COATTAILS OF UPSTATE TAX DOLLARS

            Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) to clarify its 2015 budget and publicly release a financial plan for the Tappan Zee Bridge project. Hawley said NYSTA has mismanaged funds in the past and the state should not be funding a project that primarily benefits downstate residents. 

            “Unfortunately, this is another case of a state government devoid of transparency and openness,” Hawley said. “At a time when the public has lost faith in its government, state agencies should be making every effort to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars and at least let the public know how resources will be budgeted. We have been waiting for a financial plan on the Tappan Zee Bridge project for years, and at this point we have little information about how funds will be raised to pay for the multi-billion dollar project.

            “Most of my constituents do not use the Tappan Zee Bridge and an increase in toll hikes statewide would unfairly force everyone to pay for the luxuries of downstate residents and politicians. That is unacceptable. I am once again calling on NYSTA and Chairman Megna, who spoke about the importance of a financial plan a mere 4 months ago, to release the remaining budgetary information and spending plan for the Tappan Zee Bridge project.”

            NYSTA was given $1.285 billion in this year’s enacted state budget, of which only $750 million has been accounted for. The Tappan Zee Bridge project is estimated to cost $3.9 billion and will be partially financed through a U.S. Department of Transportation loan. Previous attempts to access specific financial plan information have been denied.  

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