News Feature | July 2, 2014

Is New York Trying To Use Water Treatment Funds To Build A Bridge?

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

9nycreg

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing criticism for allegedly trying to use funding intended for water treatment operations to instead build a new highway bridge. 

The latest voice to raise concern about the plan is the federal government. 

"Federal officials have begun questioning Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to use $511 million in loans from a clean water fund to help finance the new Tappan Zee Bridge," CBS New York reported

In a letter to the state, the EPA called the plan "unconventional." 

The EPA "said it is carefully reviewing the proposal," the Wall Street Journal reported. "The agency says it wants to ensure it is appropriate to use the funds for [the bridge project], and urged state officials to allow public scrutiny of the proposal.

What does Cuomo's proposal look like?

"The governor wants to take out a $511 million low-interest loan to cover part of the multi-billion dollar Tappan Zee replacement," Streets Blog NYC reported. "Good government advocates are putting up a fight, saying the deal sets a dangerous precedent for a program intended for projects like wastewater treatment plants." 

Some New York politicians are wary of the plan. 

"These funds have been intended to address wastewater treatment, sewage treatment needs of municipalities. It seems completely inappropriate to be drawing down these funds for this particular purpose," state Assemblyman James Brennan said to WAMC

Environmental advocates say Cuomo's plan is misguided. 

"Several environmental advocacy groups have lodged a formal protest against [the proposal]," the Associated Press reported. That includes the New York League of Conservation Voters and Environmental Advocates of New York.

The governor's office has argued that the proposal considers environment factors. 

"Cuomo says the loans will fund measures associated with the new bridge to protect the Hudson River and marine life," the Wall Street Journal reported. 

For more policy news, check out Water Online's Regulations and Legislation Solution Center

Image credit: "The Statue Of Liberty and the New York City skyline," Anthony Quintano © 2014, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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