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State officials address plans to lower projected Tappan Zee toll prices

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Albany/HV: State officials address plans to lower projected Tappan Zee toll prices
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State officials working to find ways to lower tolls charges on a new Tappan Zee Bridge. An advisor spoke with YNN's Elaina Athans about the efforts.

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. -- "The governor flat out think the tolls, that are projected right now to 2017, are simply too high," said Tappan Zee Special Advisor Brian Conybeare.

And the majority of public shares a similar sentiment. Governor Andrew Cuomo and his team are trying to tackle lowering the toll charges for a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The estimate is $14 for a cash paying driver, which is nearly triple what they're handing over now. Cuomo has asked the Thruway Authority to start working with members of congress to secure more federal funding. Cuomo also wants to establish a financial task force.

"(It'll) look at federal funding, to look at the borrowing costs, to looking at lower the overall cost of the project, to hopefully lower the projected toll increases," said Conybeare.

These efforts were addressed at a meeting in Spring Valley, as the State moves ahead with plans to replace the structure. A new corridor would have eight lanes for traffic and space for emergency vehicles, among other things. One forum attendee wonders if she'll ever drive on the replacement.

Spring Valley resident Batsheva Gamoran said, "I don't know if I want to pay $14. That's kind of astronomical for these days."

Construction is expected to cost $5.2 billion. There are three bids on the project and the State says its have been assured the numbers are at, or below the $5.2 billion mark, which help toll prices.

"We're hopeful that they'll be low enough that they can bring the total cost of the project down, will bring the total toll increase down as well," said Conybeare.

The state is wrapping up its review process on these construction bids. Officials right now are going through about 750,000 pages of information. The final stage of the process is unseal documents, where they will learn the associated cost with each of the bids. The review should finish in about two weeks.

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