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Mario Cuomo Bridge

Taxation Without Transportation: Tappan Zee II

by John Shields

As Rockland County residents, we pay an  MTA tax. But we don’t have any MTA service in the county. To paraphrase our founding fathers, it’s TAXATION WITHOUT TRANSPORTATION.

The promise of mass transit — a return on our MTA investment which mostly supports adjacent counties with Metro North train service — had been promised by the I-287 Corridor / TZB planners. But that promise has now been broken.

Exactly what are the Nyacks going to get for this Thruway invasion? Better public transportation?  A new community center?  More park land?

When the first bridge was finished in December 1955, a huge traffic circle was constructed that not only destroyed a large part of South Nyack but also seriously infected the community with noise and air pollution.  Could this be some kind of transit planning “Back To The Future?”

A bigger bridge built for more traffic will bring more air and noise pollution with no plan for mass transit. Over the past nine years, bridge planners promised us mass transit along with more lanes that would now and in the future ameliorate that expected congestion and pollution. Instead, we are now being served a new plan that will further decimate the Nyacks’ quality of life.

The Thruway planners are fond of saying they will take no more land and will use only the existing right of way.  They fail to explain that the right of way includes significant footage that is not part of the present highway payment.  Many of us who live close to the highway will now be even closer when construction is complete. And that’s after 4-5 years of seeing, hearing, feeling and being inconvenienced by new roadwork right outside their front doors.

The same people who justified the need for mass transit during the past nine years by saying “you can’t build your way out of congestion” are now telling us we can get along without the previously promised trains and buses. Which story are we supposed to believe — what they promised last year or what they said last week?

John Shields is the former Mayor of Nyack, NY

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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