TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – A state-sponsored task force will look at mass transit options for the Tappan Zee Bridge and the I-287 corridor in Westchester and Rockland counties, the New York State Thruway Authority announced Friday.
State officials said recommendations from the task force will help address long-term transportation needs. The committee will complete its work and issue recommendations after one year.
“The first step is replacing the Tappan Zee, which has no transit capacity, with a new bridge that is ready to handle mass transit right away as a foundation,” Thruway Authority Chairman Howard P. Milstein said in a statement. “At the same time that we are building this new bridge, the Mass Transit Task Force will be working on finding the best transit options for local communities.”
The task force will work to find transit solutions for the 30-mile corridor, develop funding strategies to implement those solutions and ensure a viable transit program is in place.
The new Tappan Zee Bridge is required to be “transit-ready,” meaning it will be able to accommodate a bus rapid transit, light rail or commuter rail system. Officials have said that the system will not be built at the same time as the new bridge because it would be too expensive.
The state has named 28 people who will sit on the Mass Transit Task Force. Members include Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell, state Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald and Tri-State Transportation Campaign director Veronica Vanterpool.
Astorino praised the state's decision to create a task force while the new bridge is still in the planning phases. He has argued that the new Tappan Zee Bridge should include a mass transit component so that it can lessen congestion and support future communities.
“We're not waiting five years to discuss mass transit plans. We're moving forward now,” he said.
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