The state Thruway Authority hopes it will find out within 30 to 60 days whether the U.S. Department of Transportation will approve a $1.5 billion loan toward the $3.9 billion cost of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, the authority’s director said yesterday, The Journal News/lohud.com reports.
The application process for the loan has been prolonged, and the authority this month borrowed $700 million to help with short-term financing for the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Thomas Madison, the Thruway Authority’s executive director, said he’s confident many of the application hurdles have been overcome and that a decision will be coming shortly.
“We’re sincerely very optimistic. The talks are going very well with the folks in D.C.,” Madison told Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “The timeframes are now coming more clearly into focus. We think 30 to 60 days we should be in a place where we have some real certainty, and we are able to finalize our financial plan.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation said it continues to review the application for the Tappan Zee Bridge loan. Applications for more than $1 billion require two independent financial analyses.
It’s likely the Thruway Authority will get a federal loan from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, but the final amount is anyone’s guess, transportation policy experts say.
“The $1.5 billion (request) always struck me as overly optimistic, given all the demand for TIFIA loans. I’d be surprised if they got half that,” Robert Poole, director of transportation policy for the Reason Foundation, a self-described libertarian public policy group, told The Journal News.
Congress last year approved an eight-fold funding increase to TIFIA, prompting huge demand from cash-strapped local governments nationwide. The Tappan Zee Bridge project is one of the largest loan requests.