Less than two weeks after reports that the interest rate on TIFIA loans was up almost one percentage point over a six month period, the Associated Press reported over the weekend that, according to state documents and interviews, Governor Cuomo’s “plan to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge has quietly hit financial uncertainties that could shift more of the $3.9 billion cost to motorists and taxpayers statewide, with the possibility of far higher tolls than the $14 originally predicted.”
Despite it being a clear requirement in the TIFIA Program Guide, the AP notes that a big sticking point in securing financing is the Thruway Authority’s omission of a detailed financial plan, as well as a considerable amount of current debt that has already led to a negative credit outlook from both Moody’s and S&P.
As Tri-State has noted before, if the state does continue to have trouble financing Governor Cuomo’s signature public works project, it must not redirect funds from the MTA Capital Plan (as it has done before) or other transportation projects to make up for shortfalls on the New Tappan Zee Bridge project.
Moreover, this further supports the need for the state to commit to a robust BRT system that can be implemented in stages, with key improvements in effect for the first day the bridge opens. Not only will a transit option provide drivers with a viable alternative to $14+ tolls but transit is the most sustainable solution to the I-287 Corridor’s very real congestion problems.