The new Tappan Zee Bridge will receive a major cash infusion in the form of a $1.5 billion federal loan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
The loan will distributed under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, TIFIA allows for the federal government to provide a variety of financing options, including direct loans and standby credit lines.
TIFIA is intended to expedite large infrastructure projects.
"TIFIA can help advance qualified, large-scale projects that otherwise might be delayed or deferred because of size, complexity, or uncertainty over the timing of revenues," the U.S. DOT's website states.
Getting the loan will help keep tolls lower than they otherwise would have been, Cuomo argues.
The next steps for the loan include having the U.S. DOT conduct a credit review for the bridge work, and for the state to pay $100,000 for a project review by financial advisors.
"This is another important step forward for the new NY bridge project, one that will help keep tolls affordable for motorists," Cuomo, a New Castle resident, said in a press release. "Today's action is also amplified by the fact that under design build the selected bridge plan came in $1 billion under the expected price, maximizing the impact of this major financial support."
The total cost of the plan, which will create a new span for Westchester and Rockland counties, is believed to come with a price tag of roughly $3.9 billion. The entity that will work on the bridge is called Tappan Zee Constructors and is slated to begin later this year, according to a state-issued timeline. Construction work is expected to take five years. The bridge, which will be built just to the north of the existing one, will be assembled in phases and will contain to twos; the first span is predicted to open in 2016.
Alternative funding sources for the new bridge are being sought, Cuomo's office stated. This includes seeking them through a Toll Task Force formed by the state's Thruway Authority. Possible measures for that include trying to lower credit and borrowing costs for the project and expanding toll discount programs.