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Nyack's Mayor: Tappan Zee Tunnel, Not Bridge

Nyack's Mayor Richard Kavesh believes public transit is an integral part of the new Tappan Zee Bridge—but if he had it his way, it would be the Tappan Zee Tunnel.

The construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge—a project that will cost approximately $16 billion and may begin as early as 2013—is far-reaching, significant news. But it is most significant to the village residents and officials who live and work in the bridge's shadow.

In the first edition of Patch's "Mayors & The Bridge" column, we sat with Nyack's mayor, Richard Kavesh, to discuss the implications of the project.

"If there's going to be a new bridge, mass transit is essential," Kavesh said. "The whole idea of this bridge is to get people out of their cars and onto mass transit."

"The last thing we want is a new bridge that will bring more cars—and, as a result, traffic, noise, congestion and pollution."

Kavesh is confident the bridge's train service would be a success—"people have wanted a one-seat ride into Manhattan for years," he said—but has less confidence in the bus system.

"I have doubts as to whether or not they can make the bus service economically feasible," he said. Kavesh believes unless an inter-county bus system in implemented and organized, bridge bus transit will be futile.

"No one's going to take a bus over the bridge when there's no certainty of a connection on the other side, he said.

One major decision engineers and officials have to make is whether the bridge will be one level or two levels. For Kavesh, the dual-level model is most appealing; it would take up less land. Still, for him, it's not ideal.

"Personally I think they should be building tunnel," he said. Kavesh noted tunnel construction may consume less money and time, but was dismissed by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), which is supervising the project.

For most residents, however, the major issue is not what kind of bridge, but the results of construction.

"It's going to be 10 years of county-wide chaos," Kavesh said. "But Nyack wont be as affected as South Nyack."

"It's a necessary evil if there's mass transit with it," he added.

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