DeFrancisco Won’t Rule Out ‘No’ Vote on Tappan Zee Loan
Sen. John DeFrancisco, who could single handedly kill a controversial $511 million loan to help finance projects associated with the new Tappan Zee Bridge said during an interview that will air on CapTon this evening that he has not ruled out voting “no” on transaction – especially if the Cuomo administration is not forthcoming with information about how the new bridge is being financed.
“I voted ‘no’ a lot of times on various things in the Senate,” DeFrancisco told me. “I have no compunction at all about voting ‘no’ if it’s not the proper use of money or there’s not a full financing plan, because the people should know how they’re paying for this thing, not get a bill sent to them after it’s half built and say, ‘we have no choice.’ So, I’ve gotta make sure this is done right. If I got a vote, I’m gonna use it.”
The Environmental Facilities Corp. Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to approve the loan – about of which will be at 0 percent interest – despite questions raised by environmental activists and the EPA because it would come from a revolving loan fund traditionally used to pay for local governments’ clean water and sewer improvement projects.
But before the loan can be executed, it must be approved by the three-member state Public Authorities Control Board. A “no” vote by any one member of the PAC Board, which includes DeFrancisco, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and state Budget Director Bob Megna, would be enough to scuttle this deal.
And there is precedent of board members exercising this power on high profile projects. Before DeFrancisco, former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno represented the Senate on the PAC Board, both he and Silver voted “no” in 2005 on the infamous West Side stadium project, effectively ending then-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s dream of luring the Olympics to the Big Apple.
Silver has not yet publicly weighed in on this loan. According to his office, the matter is under review.
I asked DeFrancisco, who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee, if the fact that the governor – who very much wants the Tappan Zee Bridge project to be a success – has turned his back on the Republicans would influence his vote. But the senator, a Syracuse-area lawmaker, insisted that would not be the case, saying he has been trying without success to get information about the financing of this endeavor for several months now.
“When there was a discussion about the Tappan Zee Bridge, I tried to get the executive director of the Thruway Authority to tell me how they were financing the bridge and there were no answers,” DeFrancisco said. “They were going to appoint somebody and so forth. So, that’s one thing I want to get out of that meeting when it happens is that in order to decide one component of financing, you gotta know the whole financial package.”
The PAC Board is next scheduled to meet on July 16, but DeFrancisco told me he has not yet heard whether the $511 million loan will be on the agenda. He said he hopes not, because he’ll be more likely to reject the project if his questions are not answered before the vote.
My full interview with DeFrancisco will air at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on July 1, 2014 at 3:09 pm, and is filed under Republicans, State Senate, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
Comments are closed.