Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve grants to New York State for more funding for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project. The need of a replacement bridge highlights the national need for increased investment in our infrastructure to both enhance safety and boost job creation. Last year, the White House tapped the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement as one of several transportation projects nationwide to be expedited through the permitting and environmental review process.
“Governor Cuomo has expressed unwavering support for the project, and New York State has already committed resources to the new bridge. This undertaking cannot be delayed because of a lack of funding, and as a result I am confident that the DOT will closely review the applications for grants for the project. This is why I led the recent letter sent by the New York Congressional Delegation to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, urging this funding to be awarded to New York State.
“It is urgent that our nation begin repairing its structurally deficient bridges. This will help us avoid tragedies such as the 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse, with its tragic loss of life. The Tappan Zee Bridge is vital to the entire Hudson Valley region and New England, and its safety is paramount. The bridge carries more than 150,000 vehicles per day, and the bridge handles 40% more traffic than originally designed to hold. Should the TZ Bridge have a structural failure, it could mean a significant loss of life, devastation to the region’s economy, and creation of a transportation nightmare.
“In addition, a responsible course of action for Congress is to work together to pass a long-term transportation bill to provide more jobs on transportation projects and ensure our roads, bridges and tunnels are not crumbling. Instead, the GOP has been paralyzed by infighting as their Tea Party members hold yet another important piece of legislation hostage to their ideological crusade. A long-term transportation bill would not only improve our infrastructure, but it would put more Americans back to work and improve our economy. For each billion invested in infrastructure, 30,000 people are put to work. We cannot sit around and bicker while another American bridge’s ticking clock approaches zero,” said Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.