See more videos on our new YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/buildthebridgenowny
Author Archives: dcostello
The New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) hosted an Informational Summit on Friday, April 20 to introduce local and regional Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBEs), Women Owned Business Enterprises (WBEs), and Small Business Enterprises (SBEs) to potential contracting and consulting opportunities for the design and construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge, which links Westchester and Rockland counties in New York State.
Statement by Dr. Marsha Gordon, President/CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, Inc. and President of BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (April 20, 2012) — A coalition formed to boost awareness and enhance understanding of the need to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge with a new Hudson River crossing commended the team of public agencies that presented a summit meeting on Fri., April 20, for disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses in Tarrytown.
Included in the Request for Proposal, which was published last month by the New York State Thruway Authority that seeks design and construction plans for a new Hudson crossing, is a goal to award some 10 percent of the $5 billion construction project that can be specifically performed by disadvantaged, minority, or women-owned small businesses. The daylong meeting today explained to company owners and managers about the many ways to potentially gain contracting and consulting work on the bridge project.
“I commend Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison, Jr., and his team for their efforts to open the door and give these firms the chance to share in the economic opportunities that will come when we build a new bridge,” said Business Council of Westchester’s President and CEO Dr. Marsha Gordon. Also serving as president of BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org, Dr. Gordon said the bridge will provide an enormous boost to the economy, across virtually all sectors and now especially for companies that can qualify to compete for that portion of the work for disadvantaged firms.
“The large number of attendees from as many as 18 states today is a telling barometer of the widespread interest in the project,” Dr. Gordon added. “Companies throughout the Northeast hope to secure contract work, gain experience and prosper as participants in this vitally needed infrastructure project. This bridge project will not only create immediate jobs, it will help build the future for many of these companies that are now poised to take the next step up the ladder of the American Dream.”
The state authority announced that four design and construction groups have been pre-selected to submit proposals and costs to build a new bridge and among the requirements will be to hire roughly 10 percent of their subcontractors in these categories.
With pre-construction work now underway as part of a $17 million contract, extensive pile driving is being performed along the pathway of the proposed new bridge, only a few hundred feet north of the existing span in the Hudson River. Actual construction of the new bridge could begin as early as this fall, a spokesman for the Thruway Authority said.
BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org has garnered support from thousands of local and regional businesses, as well as residents and taxpayers who depend on the Tappan Zee Bridge daily for safe, efficient commuting, freight deliveries, and leisure travel, as well as those companies and professionals who provide dependable and expeditious emergency services.
Purchase, N.Y. (APRIL 5, 2012) – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today emphasized the need to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge during a ceremonial signing of the 2012-2013 New York State budget at Manhattanville College.
“They’ve been talking about replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge since I think I was in diapers. I remember all the conversations about the Tappan Zee – it was temporary, it’s got to be replaced, it’s dangerous: we’ve literally been talking about it for decades. We’ve just never gotten the ability to get to ‘yes’ and to make it happen. Development has been paralyzed – it’s been frozen,” Cuomo said. “Well, those days are over. We’re going to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge, we’re going to do it now, we’re going to create jobs, and we’re going to make it safe and better for the people of the state of New York.”
The New York State budget, passed last week by the Legislature, focuses on infrastructure as a way to reinvent state economic development and put New Yorkers back to work. Among other initiatives, the launch of the New York Works Task Force will create tens of thousands of jobs by coordinating comprehensive capital plans, overseeing all investment in infrastructure projects, and accelerating hundreds of critical projects across the state.
BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org thanks the governor for his vision, leadership, and execution in delivering a budget that is not only fiscally responsible, but also creates jobs and strengthens communities across the state.
“The Tappan Zee Bridge is beyond its lifecycle and needs to be replaced now. Gov. Cuomo’s support of this project has been vital, and we applaud him for making this one of the country’s most important infrastructure projects,” said Ross J. Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc., and treasurer of BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org, a statewide collation advocating to build a new Hudson River crossing. “Gov. Cuomo understands that by putting boots on the ground and hardhats on hundreds of jobsites statewide, it will inject billions into the New York economy.”
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (March 30, 2012) – BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org, a statewide coalition advocating for a new Tappan Zee Bridge, today announced it has raised more than $50,000 in less than a month, highlighting the widespread support from business leaders, labor organizations, commuters, residents and many others who want to see a new Hudson River crossing be built while state and federal funding is attainable. BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org originally launched as ReplaceTheTZBridgeNow.org, but today officially changed its name to better reflect how the debate has evolved.
“Together, we will make sure the voices of our members and our business community are heard, and that the message we send is clear. The tremendous economic impact of this project cannot be overstated. $5 billion of economic activity will ripple through our region, benefitting every sector of the economy,” said Marsha Gordon, President of the Business Council of Westchester, who also has been named President of BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org. “We anticipate 40,000 new construction-related jobs alone, with 4,000 of them for disadvantaged, minority and women-owned businesses. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
The coalition also called on the public to take advantage of the final day of formal comments in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Letters can be sent to email@example.com.
“The economic future of this region is dependent upon building a new Hudson River crossing,” said Al Samuels, President of the Rockland Business Association. “The current state of the Tappan Zee Bridge is already a deterrent for companies looking to do business here, and we cannot stall the building process any longer. The time has come to get this done.”
Speakers at the BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org press conference, held at Sunset Cove Restaurant in Tarrytown overlooking the Hudson River, included Ross J. Pepe, President of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley; Marsha Gordon, President of the Business Council of Westchester; Al Samuels, President of the Rockland Business Association; Jonathan Drapkin, of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress; Joanne Deyo, Vice President of Facilities at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; and John Corlett, of the American Automobile Association of New York, Inc. Speakers emphasized the following:
• We need a new bridge: The Tappan Zee Bridge is 56 years old; it was only built to last 50 years.
• We need jobs: Building a new Tappan Zee Bridge would create more than 45,000 new jobs and have a tremendous impact on the regional economy.
• We need a safer bridge: The accident rate on the Tappan Zee Bridge is double the state average.
• We need less traffic and congestion: 138,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, causing terrible delays.
• We need to stop wasting taxpayer money: We are losing $50 million on repairs to maintain an old bridge.
• We need a bridge that supports our lifestyle: The current bridge does not allow bikes, has no walkway and cannot accommodate mass transit.
“Regeneron’s vision remains the same as when we first opened up labs in Westchester – to create products that can make a difference for patients. Recruiting and retaining the best and brightest talent is pivotal to making this happen,” said Joanne Deyo, Vice President of Facilities at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown. “With hundreds of our employees relying on the bridge every day to get to work, it would be most unfortunate and create enormous hardship for our employees were the bridge ever to become unusable. Therefore, Regeneron is anxious that the rebuilding begin as soon as possible, and we support the governor’s plan to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Obama Administration selected the Tappan Zee replacement project to be fast-tracked through federal approvals, paving the way for construction on the estimated $5.2 billion plan to begin as early as this year. On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders also announced a $132.6 billion state budget that specifically highlights the need to repair the deteriorating Tappan Zee Bridge.
A “centerpiece” of the budget, according to Cuomo, is the New York Works Task Force, which will create tens of thousands of jobs by coordinating comprehensive capital plans, overseeing all investment in infrastructure projects, and accelerating hundreds of critical projects across the state – including the Tappan Zee Bridge. The budget adds $1.2 billion in new spending for roads and bridges, which is over and above the $1.6 billion already allocated this year to the core transportation capital program. This program is in addition to the advancement of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project that will inject billions more into the regional and state economy, according to Cuomo’s office.
“There is no question New York must address its deteriorating bridges, roads, and other infrastructure in ways that are both fiscally responsible and immediate,” said Ross J. Pepe, president of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc., and a member of BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org, a statewide collation advocating to build a new Hudson River crossing. “The proposed 2012-13 budget meets these challenges by committing to put boots on the ground and hardhats on hundreds of jobsites statewide this year.”
“The New York Works Task Force will establish an aggressive mechanism to accelerate construction of critical transportation and infrastructure needs that will benefit all New Yorkers in virtual every sector of our economy,” Pepe continued. “We applaud Gov. Cuomo, Majority Leader Skelos and Speaker Silver for their political courage to say that roads and bridges aren’t built with tax cuts, they’re built with commitment, bold leadership and vision.”
The governor’s proposal for a new bridge will not only create more than 45,000 jobs, but it also will include a pedestrian plaza with a walkway and bike path. Built to last 100 years, it also will provide immediate express bus service, and unlike the current bridge, it will provide a foundation for future mass transit – including Bus Rapid Transit and commuter rail.
“Today marks a critical milestone in the plan to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge – a bridge of regional and national significance that serves millions of drivers and is an important commercial link for the tri-state region,” said John Corlett, Legislative Committee Chairman for AAA New York State, which serves more than 2.7 million members residing in New York State. “The existing bridge is well beyond its 50-year life span and needs to be replaced without further delays… Failure of this bridge would result in an economic and social catastrophe of historic proportions. It would show the world that the United States can no longer be relied upon to maintain a world class infrastructure.”
“The Tappan Zee Bridge is one of the most critical pieces of transportation infrastructure in the Hudson Valley, where 30 to 70 percent of residents commute to work outside the county where they live,” said Jonathan Drapkin, president and CEO of Pattern for Progress. ”We are satisfied that the construction of this new bridge and making its design ‘shovel ready’ for mass transit is the way to move forward now. Because the new Tappan Zee Bridge will be built to last 100 years, it is absolutely necessary that a modern mass-transit system be part of the plan.”
BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org will continue to garner support from thousands of local and regional businesses, as well as residents and taxpayers who depend on the Tappan Zee Bridge daily for safe, efficient commuting, freight deliveries, and leisure travel, as well as those companies and professionals who provide dependable and expeditious emergency services. For more information visit http://buildthebridgenowny.org, or contact George Drapeau at 914-631-6070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us for an important press conference Friday, March 30, at Sunset Cove Restaurant in Tarrytown.
Business leaders, construction professionals, public safety officials, union workers and many more will discuss the progress being made to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge. The public will also be encouraged to send final comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which concludes its public comment period Friday, March 30. Comments can be sent to email@example.com. The press conference will also announce the evolution of BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org, a statewide coalition advocating for a new Tappan Zee Bridge while state and federal funding is available. A boat tour of work underway will follow.
Friday, March 30 — 10:30 a.m. Press Conference
BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org Leaders, Supporters
Ross J. Pepe, President, Construction Industry Council
Marsha Gordon, President, Business Council of Westchester
Al Samuels, President, Rockland Business Association
Louis Alagno, Westchester County Police Chiefs Association
Jonathan Drapkin, Hudson Valley Patterns for Progress
John Corlett, American Automobile Association of New York, Inc.
Sunset Cove Restaurant
238 Lower Green St., Tarrytown, NY
George Drapeau, Construction Industry Council: 914-631-6070 (w) / firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana Costello, Co-Communications: 914-629-8379 (c) / Diana@cocommunications.com
BuildTheBridgeNowNY.org is a statewide coalition of business leaders, construction professionals, trade and labor associations, public safety officials and many more who are calling for a new Tappan Zee Bridge to be built while state and federal funding is available. Visit them at http://buildthebridgenowny.org or call George Drapeau at 914-631-6070. This group was formerly ReplaceTheTZBridgeNow.org.
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (MARCH 23, 2012) – Construction workers staged a “Rush Hour Rally” along Route 9 in Tarrytown Friday to call for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge as motorists braved another busy commute across the Hudson River. The rally united labor organizations in support of replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge while funding from the state and federal governments is available.
“The bridge is way above capacity, something has to be done. The traffic is insane; you can see it behind us now, and in the morning it’s just as bad,” said Mount Vernon resident Frank Sexton, an ironworker with Local 40, as he waved a rally sign along Route 9. “The residents demand and deserve better than what they’re getting now.”
Completed in 1955, the Tappan Zee Bridge is now functionally obsolete. Originally designed to handle a maximum capacity of 80,000 cars, the bridge far exceeds the recommended limit with an average of 140,000 vehicles per day. In addition, the existing bridge does not meet the current seismic performance standards, which could be catastrophic for civil defense and emergency responders in the event of a major earthquake. Plus, motorists say they too often are sitting in traffic, which makes the daily commute even more of a grind.
“Typically you want to be able to get in your car and know you will have the same commute every day. But with this bridge, it’s like rolling the dice. You never know how long it’s going to take to get to work in the morning or home to your family at night,” said Tom Mannion, a project manager with C.W. Brown Inc. in Armonk who lives across the river in Palisades. “It’s a real quality-of-life issue having spend so much time commuting every day.”
With cars honking in support, construction workers warned that further delays in building a new bridge would put motorists’ safety at risk. The Obama administration has selected the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project as one of the country’s major infrastructure initiatives, fast-tracking the project through federal approvals. After years of waiting, funding is finally identifiable and attainable for the estimated $5 billion project, which would support mass transit, include walking and bicycling paths and offer E-ZPass lanes.
“New Yorkers need two things right now: jobs and a new bridge,” said Construction Industry Council President Ross J. Pepe. “Construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge would create tens of thousands of jobs – both directly and indirectly. We must act on this opportunity and build a bridge we can afford, otherwise our state and region would suffer as a consequence.”
About the Construction Industry Council
Headquartered in Tarrytown, N.Y., the Construction Industry Council (CIC) is the Hudson Valley’s premier association for the Heavy/Highway sector of the construction industry. The CIC represents more than 600 employers – from contractors and suppliers to specialty consultants, subcontracting firms and professional engineers. With more than 30 years of service, the association lists accomplishments that include strong labor/management cooperation, statewide campaign initiatives to create, maintain and improve major transportation infrastructure, workers safety programs and corrective legislation that benefit all New Yorkers. Today the CIC is advocating for the Tappan Zee Bridge to be replaced NOW. Visit http://www.cicnys.org for more information or contact the CIC at 914-631-6070.
I am Marsha Gordon and I serve as president of the Business Council of Westcheter. I thank you for the opportunity to add our opinions and views at this hearing today. On behalf of the Business Council’s board of directors and many executive committees that serve more than 1,000 employers in the region, I want to underscore several reasons why it is essential to move forward with a replacement Hudson River crossing project at this time.
Our leadership and board of directors have long been on record in support of the replacement bridge program currently being considered. As we all know, the current bridge was originally designed to handle much less traffic than it is now being asked to serve. Among the myriad of reason to build a new crossing, let me list just a few. The current bridge does not conform to current interstate standards. Conditions that contribute to traffic accidents and tie-ups will persist no matter how much money we spend to repair the exiting span. A new bridge will be designed and built to current standards of lane width and deck pitch that will rectify conditions that are now a major reason for traffic accidents and delays. And in doing so – by reducing repair-related traffic delays – the new crossing will add emergency breakdown lanes to avoid tie-ups and thus contribute to better air quality in the corridor in both Rockland and Westchester counties.
Finally, I want to add that the Business Council of Westchester is opposed to any course of action that will stall, postpone or even kill this vital project for the most obvious reason: The existing span is already many years past its design life. The Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS), issued last month, clearly pointed to the need to replace the bridge and that doing so will have no negative impacts on local communities. We call upon the Thruway Authority, State DOT and the Federal Highway Administration to build a new Hudson River crossing that will eventually accommodate mass transit to the bridge. Insisting that mass transit be part of the new bridge on first day the new bridge opens will delay the project by years. Please do not let this occur.
By ROSS J. PEPE - Since Governor Cuomo and the Obama Administration announced the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project would be fast-tracked through federal approvals, a chorus of local politicians from both sides of the aisle has been willing to throw themselves under the bus to stop the project from going forward. On the surface their motives masquerade as a call for public interest. Can the roadway be fast-tracked without mass transit? Will future environmental reviews be conducted to address mass-transit? Will we ever really see mass transit?
As we all know, the bridge replacement project was among six infrastructure projects nationwide singled out by President Obama to spur additional job creation and economic growth. Amazingly, the FHWA stated the bridge’s environmental review and permitting process can be completed within the coming months, paving the way for construction of the twin structures as early as August 2012.
The estimated $5.2 billion plan to replace Tappan Zee includes many user-safety and efficiency features that are designed to be immediately reconfigured on Day One to accommodate mass transit bus systems already operating today. These systems could easily be morphed into a Bus Rapid Transit system once the land-based features for BRT are designed and in-place. Each of the two new crossings will have four travel lanes of 12-foot-widths, and one emergency access lane (also 12 feet wide), a break-down lane one each span structure and a pedestrian/bike lane on the northern span.
So what’s all the fuss by local politicians who are clamoring for an all-or-nothing approach? It is surprising that both the Rockland and Westchester County Executives are whistling a new tune to slow down the process after both officials called for an early bridge solution to deal with growing concern over traffic tie-ups and serious structural issues of the existing bridge. Hopefully, their new slow waltz is not political maneuvering just to thwart Gov. Cuomo and President Obama from breaking ground before next November. Clearly the safety of the motoring public and the well-being of the hundreds of thousands of lives the bridge hold sway over everyday are the core issues that must not be forgotten during this empty debate over mass transit inclusion.
Citing Public Safety, Economic Stability for New York, Coalition Urges New Hudson River Crossing in 2012February 18th, 2012 | Posted by in Press Releases - (0 Comments)
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (February 1, 2012) – A broad statewide coalition of major employers, transportation professionals, civil engineers and labor organizations, representing more than 300,000 employees and more than 15,000 employers, called for replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge this year with a new, safer Hudson River crossing.
The group calling itself ReplaceTheTZBridgeNow.Org warned that any further delays in building a new Hudson River crossing put at risk the motoring public’s safety and the economic stability of the region and the entire state.
“It is well documented that the Tappan Zee Bridge has deteriorated to a point that it can no longer be considered a dependable crossing,” said Kendra L. Adams, president of the New York Motor Truck Association in Albany. “Continuing to delay the replacement of the bridge to ensure that a mass transit system be available on ‘day one’ is short sighted and irresponsible.”
Ms. Adams, added, “Nearly 45,000 tractor trailers–one third of all vehicles that cross the span daily–serve business and industry, not just commuter demands. Failure of the current bridge, which is certainly possible given its current condition, would force that truck traffic onto arterials in rural communities, creating steep economic costs to the trucking industry and consumers and social costs to those communities.”
Many agree. “The time to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge was yesterday,” said Marsha Gordon, president of the Business Council (of Westchester), which represents more than 1,000 companies. “The Tappan Zee Bridge must be replaced to meet immediate and future traffic flows. Any mass transit system should be considered as a long-term goal, and must not delay the replacement of this vital link in New York’s transportation network.”
Construction Industry Council Urges Gov. Cuomo, Department of Transportation to Address Congestion, Poor Pavement Surfaces on Highways, Bridges in Hudson ValleyFebruary 18th, 2012 | Posted by in Press Releases - (0 Comments)
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (January 18, 2012) – Despite the prospect of a groundbreaking this year for a new Hudson River crossing to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge, the head of a leading construction trade association in the region call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to focus state spending in the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year budget on capital improvement projects that have gone begging for much too long. These include sections of the Palisades Parkway in Rockland, the Taconic Parkway bridge work in Westchester and congestion-relief projects throughout the lower Hudson Valley region.
In his budget address on Tues., Jan. 11, Gov. Cuomo called for an additional $1 billion in spending for programs to improve highways and bridges, which could bring the state program of $2.7 billion to a total funding level of $4.5 billion for infrastructure and transportation capital projects, according to the Governor’s office. Construction Industry Council President Ross J. Pepe said the additional funding for public works projects are coming at the right time, when the economy is ailing and crews are out of work.
“Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-13 beginning April 1 is clearly aimed at solving many of the problems we as New Yorkers now face. There is high unemployment levels in many sectors of the economy and a very demonstrable need to bring our transportation infrastructure up to par with neighboring states. Transit and transportation safety and reliability are essentials if we hope to grow our economy in New York.”