Cuomo’s Tappan Zee Plan Seen as Public-Private Model, RPA Says

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to have private companies design and build a new Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River can serve as a cost-saving model, said Alex Marshall of the Regional Plan Association.

Last year, Cuomo pushed through the legislature a bill that allows the state to put private companies in charge of the entire building process on infrastructure projects. Previously, New York did the design and private companies handled construction. Cuomo is applying the so-called design-build format, which he considers more efficient, to the $5.2 billion Tappan Zee project.

“The Tappan Zee can be a model,” Marshall, a senior fellow at the association, said today at the State & Municipal Finance Conference hosted by Bloomberg Link in New York. “If done right, the Tappan Zee will be built quicker and at lower cost.”

Founded in 1922, the RPA prepares long-range plans for development in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region.

Cuomo, a 54-year-old Democrat, has made building a new 3.1-mile (5-kilometer) Tappan Zee a priority. The 56-year-old bridge that connects Westchester and Rockland counties about 20 miles north of Manhattan is six years older than its projected lifespan. It carries 138,000 vehicles daily, 40 percent more than its design intended.

The U.S. Transportation Department approved the new bridge plan last month after President Barack Obama designated it as one of 14 to be sped through a federal review.

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