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Key Tappan Zee Bridge approval passes

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council has approved a $5.4 billion plan to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The board voted unanimously Monday to approve the project.

The county executives of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam had said last week they would vote in favor of the project. Each of the three in effect held veto power because the council must approve a project unanimously to qualify it for federal funds.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been gathering the support of dozens of other officials in the past couple of weeks. He’s expected to speak on the project later Monday in Piermont.
  
Under the current plan, the bridge will have a dedicated bus lane during rush hours but ambitious plans for a commuter rail line or bus mass transit were dropped for financial reasons.

Cuomo has agreed to the formation of a task force that will make mass transit recommendations within a year.

The environmental group Riverkeeper on Friday criticized officials for giving only three days’ notice for a vote on the plan.

“They’re trying to sneak it in while everybody’s away for a nice weekend in the summertime. I mean, this is a $5 billion project we’re being asked to take on faith. One of the big issues is that there’s no detailed financing plan that’s been made available and that’s a requirement of federal and state law,” said Riverkeeper president Paul Gallay.

Many expected to vote to be sometime in September, but the Cuomo administration said any delay could affect federal funding for the $5 billion project.

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