On Thursday, August 16th, representatives from Governor Cuomo’s office will come to New Rochelle to share information, take questions, and engage in dialogue with our community about the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge. The meeting will be held in the Romita Auditorium at Iona College’s Ryan Library from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. I’ll be there myself, and the public is invited to attend.

For years the Tappan Zee Bridge has been plagued by over-congestion. 138,000 vehicles cross it daily — that’s thousands more than it was built to handle. And because the bridge doesn’t have shoulder lanes, accident rates are unacceptably high. Repairing the Tappan Zee would cost billions, while only extending its life about twenty years. That is why most people who have studied the issue carefully have concluded that the time has come to replace the bridge entirely.

A related question concerns the incorporation of mass transit — either rail or bus rapid transit — into the new Tappan Zee’s design. Keeping in mind that any mass transit component would have to be integrated into an overall system beyond the bridge, it is probably not realistic to expect the new Tappan Zee to feature mass transit from day one. In my opinion, however, it is vital for the bridge to be designed and engineered so that mass transit can be introduced easily in the future.

Although New Rochelle is not situated on the Hudson River, the link between Westchester and Rockland affects every community in our region. The Tappan Zee is a keystone of a larger transportation network that sustains our local economy and upon which hundreds of thousands of people depend for their livelihoods. So, as New Rochelleans, we have a stake in the outcome of this debate. As Governor Cuomo has stated: “it’s time to invest in a new better bridge that will create jobs, reduce congestion and give the region a real transit option.”

If you are interested in this subject, then I hope to see you on August 16th.