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Thruway Authority Board okays $256 million environmental facilities loan for new TZ Bridge

NEW YORK – The New York State Thruway Authority has approved the $256 million environmental facilities loan for construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

Two speakers address their groups’ opposition to the loan and two reports by staff detailed the individual components of the loan expenditures.

Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison said all of the project elements were developed during the early phases of the project, were part of the permitting process and environmental review.  At that time, considering an Environmental Facilities Corporation loan had not been contemplated, he said.

“Some have indicated that this was just a financial gimmick of some description, but in effect, I think it is a prudent and innovative approach like we have tried to do in other areas of financing for the project to look at all possibilities and this was a fund that qualifies for these project elements that came first,” Madison told the Thruway board.

The board can borrow another $256 million from the Environmental Facilities fund, which officials said will probably transpire in about a year.

Opponents contend it was not established for this kind of loan and note that the US EPA has the final say and can “claw back” the loan at its discretion.