NEW CITY — Tolls, earthquakes and jobs topped the discussion Tuesday during the latest community meeting on a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
The session drew about 25 people to the community room at the New City Public Library, where the Tappan Zee Bridge Community Outreach Team provided an overview and took questions.
County Legislator Ed Day, R-New City, who commutes over the bridge, said consideration needed to be given to paying for the project by dedicating a portion of tolls collected all along the Thruway system to the new span.
“This cost has to be spread across the Thruway and not just in one local area because it is part of the Thruway,” Day said.
He noted that tolls paid on Port Authority bridges funded area airports and the World Trade Center.
The toll on a new Tappan Zee Bridge, which is estimated to cost as much as $5 billion to build, is forecast to increase to $14 from the current $5. Commuters who now pay a discounted rate of $3 to cross the three-mile span would see the toll increase to $8.40. About 75 percent of those who cross the bridge each day are non-commuters.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has asked the state Thruway Authority to find ways to reduce the tolls.
Carol Vericker of Wesley Hills wanted to know if high-occupancy vehicle and emergency lanes would be added and how the estimated 45,000 jobs the project is said to bring would be guaranteed to go to local workers.
Mark Roche of Arup Engineering, one of the many consultants on the project, said a new bridge would allow space for such lanes and also be able to carry the weight of mass transit systems that could be added in the future.