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Dear Letters Editor:
There is even more to "New TZB Now Up, Running" Will Tolls Increase? (Joe Lombardi -- September 3). Consider the photo op of Governor Cuomo driving across the new Tappan Zee Bridge. It spoke volumns concerning his lack of commitment to the MTA and mass transit. Construction of the Verrazano Bridge did not include capacity for connecting the NYC subway from Brooklyn to Staten Island. The new Tappan Zee Bridge provides no heavy rail connections to Metro North with communities west of Westchester including Orange, Rockland, Ulster and Sullivan counties to Grand Central Terminal. This could have provided a new option for thousands of NYC bound commuters west of Hudson. NYC reverse commuters looking for access to jobs west of Hudson would also have benefited. It would have provided relief to both the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station. It reduced the total project cost by over $1 billion. This is why Governor Cuomo never acknowledges the real reason the project came in on budget. It was a reduction in project scope of work. To pay back the $1.6 billion dollar federal loan which helped finance the new Tappan Zee Bridge, tolls will have to go up by several dollars. The well respected Moody's Investment Services estimates the tolls will go up to $7.60 by 2021 and $15 by 2026 for the Thruway Authority to be able to pay back this loan. Remember Cuomo still owes $5.8 billion toward fully funding the $32 billion MTA 2015 - 2019 Five Year Capital Plan. Add an additional $1 billion he pledged in response to recent NYC Transit subway and Long Island Rail Road Penn Station problems.
Construction costs for the Gateway Tunnel is $29 billion. Cuomo committed contributing 25% of the total cost, but has yet to identify the source of his $7.25 billion.
When it comes to paying for all his promised transportation projects, Cuomo reminds me of Wimpy who famously said "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." It is a safe bet that taxpayers and commuters will be paying higher fares, taxes and tolls in coming years to cover the costs.
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