President Barack Obama is set to visit the Tappan Zee Bridge on Wednesday to deliver a speech pushing for more federal spending on bridges and similar projects.
Obama is expected to stress the importance of federal contributions to infrastructure spending. The United States Highway Trust Fund is one source of such revenue, but the Department of Transportation estimates the fund will encounter a shortfall before the end of fiscal year 2014. The President is expected to call on Congress to revitalize the fund with new spending.
Such spending could help projects like the propsed Tappan Zee Bridge replacement. The current replacement project carries an estimated $3.9 billion price tag according to the New York State Thruway Authority. The Obama Administration has already approved a $1.6 billion loan for the replacement bridge, but it is still unclear how New York State will cover the remaining cost. Some options could include raising tolls, selling bonds, or a combination of both.
The 58-year-old bridge is long over due for a replacement. According to the New York State Thruway Authority, more than 138,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day—it was orginally designed to accomodate up to 100,000.
The timeline for constructing a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge can be viewed below.
The New York State Thruway Authority’s proposed timeline for constructing a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge. Courtesy of The New York State Thruway Authority
Computer rendering visualizing the completed project. Courtesy of The New York State Thruway Authority