Gov. Kathy Hochul is being asked to clean up another of Andrew Cuomo’s messes — on his father’s namesake bridge, lest construction firms reject future state projects.
Tappan Zee Constructors sent a letter to Hochul about the state’s management of the Mario Cuomo Bridge project. In the letter, detailed by Politico, TZC executive Sam Choy warned Hochul that contractors in the consortium could turn away from future state projects until a resolution is reached.
The dispute centers on money. Cuomo consistently claimed that the $4 billion bridge was built on time and on budget. TZC claims that to make that happen, the then-governor forced it to swallow millions of dollars in extra costs.
TZC alleges that the Thruway Authority refused to extend the project timeline despite unavoidable delays, forcing the group to make “cash calls,” an anonymous executive told Politico. The Cuomo administration allegedly brushed off TZC’s complaints.
In February, TZC sued the state Thruway Authority for $961 million. Months later, the authority settled some claims for $28 million, leading TZC to withdraw its lawsuit to foster a “positive environment” with the Cuomo administration for further talks, prior to his resignation. But now it wants to be made whole.
TZC claims that each day without a resolution is costing both sides. The company also warns that toll hikes might be needed if the project blows past its $4 billion budget.
Given that the Mario Cuomo Bridge — which replaced the Tappan Zee — opened in 2017, it wasn’t expected to be something Hochul had to contend with early in her administration. It joins a list of other Cuomo projects that Hochul will have to work through. They include AirTrain LaGuardia, the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Penn Station overhaul and redevelopment.
[Politico] — Holden Walter-Warner