TARRYTOWN, N.Y. Al Samuels says he loves old things, but the existing Tappan Zee Bridge has to go.
It's iconic. It's beautiful, Samuels said. I have two very large murals of it hanging in my office, but it has to go.
Samuels is president of the Rockland Business Association. He was one of a group of businessmen, construction leaders and transportation organizations who gathered at the Sunset Cove Restaurant in the Washington Irving Boat Club to rally for a new Tappan Zee Bridge and introduce a statewide coalition: BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org .
The coalition is an expansion of the ReplaceTheTZBridgeNow.org , which was formed to move the bridge project forward after politicians and others called for a slower process to study the impacts of a new bridge and to add a mass-transit system to the bridge. The expanded group announced Friday that it had raised more than $50,000 in less than a month.
Proposed plans for the new bridge include two twin span structures about 300 feet north of the existing bridge. The final comment period on the draft environmental impact study was Friday. A record of decision on the project is expected at the end of the summer.
The group argues that a new bridge is needed to protect the safety of those who cross it, create jobs, reduce traffic and congestion and stop wasting taxpayer money.
We have been through 10 years of talks trying to get a bridge built, Ross Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council, said. But now it's time to move forward and get the bridge done.
Samuels argued the existing bridge's safety concerns have driven away economic development and delays on the bridge project would keep jobs away from construction workers who need them.
The crossing between Westchester and Rockland Counties is critical to the future economic health of our region, Samuels said. We must have a safe, new crossing.
Marsha Gordon, president of the Business Council of Westchester and newly minted president of the BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org organization, said the bridge was critical to move goods, services and people throughout the region.
Let's build this bridge; let's get this going! Gordon said.
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