Riverkeeper Objects To ‘Midnight Announcement’ Of Tappan Zee Vote
Riverkeeper, a veteran Hudson River watchdog/environmental organization, cried foul last night after the state announced a crucial vote on the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project will be held Monday morning.
The vote of the nine-member New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, which is required before the $5.2 billion project can go forward, was delayed back in July when three county executives – Rockland’s Scott Vanderhoef, Westchester’s Rob Astorino and Putnam’s MaryEllen Odell – said they needed more information from the Cuomo administration.
On Thursday, the trio announced they had decided to drop their opposition and back the project after reaching an agreement with the governor that includes forming a panel to study the region’s mass transit needs.
The three all said they would vote “yes” at the next Metropolitan Transportation Council meeting, which they expected would be held next month.
But the council, likely spurred by the administration’s desire to strike while the iron is hot (and before anyone could change their mind), announced on its website yesterday afternoon that a “special” meeting – and a vote – will take place Monday.
Riverkeeper accused NYMTC of violating its own regulations, which call for two weeks notice before meetings – except in the case of an emergency.
“Moreover, state officials have repeatedly promised the public a transparent and inclusive process for the new Tappan Zee Bridge. It’s impossible to square that promise with this last-minute decision to call a special meeting for Monday morning,” Riverkeeper’s press release stated.
“Just as importantly, this vote cannot legally be held because no detailed financing plan for the project has been made public, despite months of promises by the state to do so.”
“…Friday afternoon meeting notices and cursory one-page financing plans are simply not acceptable, in support of a $5.2 billion public works project. Nor do they square with the state’s recent promises of transparency and public inclusiveness.”
“This meeting should not go forward.”
According to the AP, council spokeswoman Lisa Daglian says Riverkeeper is referring to a draft policy that was never adopted. She insisted state requirements have been met.
Interesting aside: One of Riverkeeper’s most prominent officials is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is president of the Waterkeeper Alliance and also happens to be Cuomo’s former brother-in-law.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on August 18, 2012 at 9:01 am, and is filed under Tappan Zee. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|