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Irvington, Other Villages Talk Tappan Zee Bridge

IRVINGTON, N.Y. – Federal and state officials view the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project as “the replacement of a bridge that carries two federal highways,” Irvington Village Administrator Lawrence Schopfer told the Board of Trustees and residents during a recent meeting.

“They view mass-transit as a local issue, not a federal issue,” he said. “The project looks only with that parameter.”

Schopfer discussed a recent Village Officials Committee meeting, where the group of officials from the six Greenburgh villages and Sleepy Hollow “had a good conversation about where this project really fits in the whole scheme of the plans for the state” and how it related to the previous I-87/I-287 corridor project.

Schopfer said this view means that draft environmental studies would not address the possibilities of mass-transit, although plans for the new bridge do not preclude future systems.

“To include mass-transit means to include the essentially 30-mile corridor,” Schopfer said.

The project is a scaled-down version of the previous I-87/I-287 corridor project, which sought transportation improvements to the bridge and 30 additional miles along the New York State Thruway. That project was stalled in the works for several years before the current project was fast-tracked by federal and state officials.

Transportation officials hope to have a new bridge built by 2017.

Schopfer disavowed earlier area-media reports that implied leaders and other activists have been demanding that mass-transit be included on the bridge or the bridge not be built at all, stressing that many officials want the bridge to be built.

Schopfer said officials need to carry the message that people should “stop looking at this project as 'You better include mass-transit.'” He noted that any inclusion of a mass-transit system at this point would slow the project down.

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