Cuomo Admin Silent as Media Questions Tappan Zee Fuzzy Math

A new print advertisement from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, running in the Westchester Journal News, illustrates the fundamental incompleteness of the Cuomo administration's transit-free plan for the Tappan Zee Bridge. For a larger version, click here.

As advocates for transit on the Tappan Zee Bridge take to the airwaves, the media are starting to ask questions about the Cuomo administration’s ever-shifting and unexplained cost estimates for the project.

Over the weekend, Crain’s called attention to the state’s hard-to-believe estimate of the cost of running a new bus rapid transit system across the bridge:

“The state hasn’t told the group why it projects the cost of a bus component to be as much as $5.3 billion, compared with an earlier $1 billion projection that Tri-State transit wonks called inflated to begin with.

Inexplicably, the state now says commuter rail service would be cheaper than the bus option. Typically, rail projects are several times more expensive.”

Then, yesterday, the Observer’s Matt Chaban pointed out that the cost of the transit-free bridge, too, is already inflating. “Meanwhile the bridge may cost an extra $1.4 billion and take longer than expected to complete,” wrote Chaban. “With all that in mind, why not take a little time and get it right.”

There’s a growing chorus of voices calling for transit across the Tappan Zee. A slew of local politicians, including the county executives on both sides of the Hudson, and an ever-growing list of towns have demanded the inclusion of transit on the new span.

The Cuomo administration, however, is doing everything it can to make an informed debate impossible. Crain’s had no more success getting information from the state than Streetsblog has.

By pumping up the cost of transit without explanation and changing its projection for the cost of the bridge itself to suit any given purpose, the state is denying its citizens the information they need to weigh the costs and substantial benefits of Tappan Zee transit. Is the state afraid of what New Yorkers might find?