by Jen Laird-White
Nyack Village Board Member Jen Laird-White’s remarks on Thursday 10/27 to the Public Scoping Briefings on the proposed infrastructure improvements for the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing.
My name is Jen Laird-White and I am here as the Deputy Mayor and a Trustee for the Village of Nyack, but I am also here tonight as a parent of two school aged children. I am not here to dispute the facts that the Tappan Zee Bridge requires emergency attention but I am here to ask that the cure is in the best interest of the river villages and our surrounding communities.
As a locally elected representative, I am here with my neighbors to protect our air, our water, our economic resources and our quality of life.
I would like to thank the Governor for taking the leadership on this important issue. After more than twenty years of watching every public official kick the can down the road, finally, something is set to happen with our failing Tappan Zee Bridge.
If properly and sensitively designed, a new bridge, can serve some of the interests of our village and our county in many ways and make our trips across the Hudson safer and smoother, reducing the hours we sit in traffic trying to get to work or home. The current plan also includes options for the waves of cyclists who stream along both sides of the river and a walkway so those who chose to stand in the middle of the mighty Hudson can actually do so. In one area, however, the plan is sorely lacking. This project needs mass transit and it is our collective obligation to ensure that it will have it.
We do not want the bridge of 1955 but the bridge for the 2055. One that embraces the idea that one person /one car is not the way to go and that we must be smarter and fiercer in our protection of our resources, both economic and environmental so that our grandchildren can have lives as good, if not better than the ones we live. But most of all, in the well meaning destructive bargain that is the creation of a new bridge, we ask Mother Nature forgiveness in the form of something greener, healthier and better for all: mass transit.
It is expensive, it will be complicated to achieve but I stand here and ask all of us to join in the goal of having mass transit be part of our bridge. We need to return to Washington and meet with the appropriate parties and bring back the money to add Commuter Transit Rail or Bus Rapid Transit to our bridge.
As a trustee of a river village, protecting the Hudson is a sacred trust. I am committed to working with the Governor, our local elected official and all of you to make sure that the federal commitment to this project includes some mass transit. Let us work together to change the scoping language from “not preclude” to “definitely include.”
Jen White is Deputy Mayor of Nyack and the Democratic candidate for mayor in the November 8 General Election.