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Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Bridge Too Far: Cuomo Steals Money for Environment

Sept. 18, 2014:  Joseph Berger with another in his year-long series of propaganda pieces on the bridge for the NYT.   (Here's one of my earlier responses to his reporting.)  As usual, barely mention state and builders' lies about noise issues and passes off quickly the enormous EPA rebuff this week (see below)  and notes without comment that commuters will have to pay even greater toll hike now--doubling or tripling--even as state continues to deny any information on that to the press and the publicAlso again does not divulge that the new spans will not provide a single added lane for rush hour traffic or do anything about the real traffic bottlenecks--on the Thruway at either side of the bridge.  Finally, he repeats the urban legend that the original bridge was built to last just 50 years.  No one has ever been able to track down a source for that but has been used by proponents of new bridge for decades.

Sept. 17, 2014:  Well, the national EPA has weighed in--and in a wise move, and enormous embarrassment for Cuomo, rejected state getting 95% of the massive funding, ruling that the "clean water" projects were completely bogus.  The scam that was bridge plan and funding now fully exposed as commuters and others will now--as some of us have long warned--have to pay double or triple current tolls, plus taxpayers subsidize bonds.  A disgrace.  

August 28, 2014:  Read this scathing piece at my local paper, the Journal News of Westchester/Rockland, N.Y.  The NYT earlier this week refused to endorse Gov. Cuomo for re-election due to various "corruption" angles but far worse, in my view, was his ramming through of the long-delayed (for good reason) building of a new Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson.  It's now the biggest highway/bridge project in the country--thecurrent span is three miles long and less than 60 years old--and besides not promising much of a gain in speed of traffic, it includes no mass transit and the state has lied left and right about likely massive toll increases.  Taking the cake, as you'll see in article, is the governor's successful storng-arm push to drain hundreds of millions in dollars for environmental projects and direct them for the bridge--where financing (beyond soaking commuters) has never been place.  Cuomo pushed the project through anyway.  Now it can only be paid for by raiding funds for much-needed new treatment plants etc.--and doubling tolls.   (h/t Barbara Bedway)

June 2014: Latest scandal surrounding biggest construction project in U.S.--building the new three-mile-long Tappan Zee Bridge, just down the hill.  Cuomo and state rammed through the project hurriedly with little funding in place--beyond danger of tripling current bridge tolls.  Now they've gotten a state board to approve an outrageous $511 loan from key fund meant for environmental clean-up and much-needed new sewers.  No public comments allow earlier or today. See complaints by environmental groups and EPA regional chief.   And local residents being subjected to ear- and nerve-shattering noise.

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