Today: 13.12.2017
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12.12.2017

Tappan Zee tricks add up to a Cuomo ‘bridgegate’.

At the 1984 Democrat National Convention, Gov. Mario Cuomo stepped up to the podium and gave one of the most iconic political speeches of the latter half of the 20th century. He said, “We believe in only the government we need, but we insist on all the government we need.” And the reason for his...
Time: 20:59     Date: 07.12.2017
Last US News - Opinion: Tappan Zee tricks add up to a Cuomo ‘bridgegate’. NY Post 24 - US News

And the reason for his popularity was that the “government we need,” in Cuomo’s opinion, was one that is transparent, responsive, limited and honest. All those are in short supply in today’s Albany, with the state government in the hands of Mario’s son, Andrew. On transparency and waste, the apple has fallen far from the tree.

There’s no better example than the controversial renaming of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The state has still not released a plan detailing how the $4 billion bridge will be paid for. A task force that promised transparent estimates of toll increases and regular meetings has never met. Thruway tolls remain frozen solely through the use of bank-settlement funds to cover costs — an arrangement that ends in 2020.

Despite strong economic numbers across the country, Gov. Cuomo has cultivated a 49th-ranked tax climate and a sputtering economy. No surprise there: He’s been consumed with flashy projects and made-for-media events.

He’s been deftly dancing his way around the corruption in his inner circle. He’s big on gondolas to nowhere, millions for TV commercials and twinkle lights on bridges timed to music.

The public frustration is evident, and the facts are clear. Reclaim New York Initiative conducted a poll back in June of Rockland and Westchester residents about the Tappan Zee renaming. It found that an overwhelming majority opposed not only the new name, but the way Albany forced it on them.

People are tired of Albany games that treat them as an afterthought. They’re tired of the arrogance of power that suggests you can abuse the state constitution to rename a bridge after a family member, cut out the people who live near the bridge, do it all in the dead of night — and think no one will care.

Cuomo’s very own “bridgegate” even has the governor spinning his own “vast right-wing conspiracy,” falsely accusing us of being behind the petition to keep the Tappan Zee name on the bridge and trying to characterize the petition as an attack on “my father’s name.”

Why? Because he just can’t fathom that someone — 100,000 people, actually — could rise up on their own to sign a petition opposing how the new Tappan Zee was renamed.

Those people aren’t right-wingers or mean-spirited. They just want a government that is more responsive, more honest and willing to listen.

Despite the bluster, the facts remain. This is a Westchester-Rockland bridge with unknown costs to taxpayers and drivers, renamed through a backroom deal at 1 a.m. by a state Senate leader from Suffolk County and an assembly speaker from The Bronx to honor a man from Queens. This should be concerning to everyone. Not just because it strips a tribute to another former governor, Dutch settlers and a Native American tribe, but because it’s a metaphor for the kind of government dysfunction that makes New York the nation’s leader in outmigration.

While Mario Cuomo encouraged others to “keep going forward, believing ever more deeply that it’s right to give to people and the world,” our state operates mired in half-truths, sarcastic tones and vendetta politics.

If anyone in Albany is actually listening, change the name. Brandon Muir is the executive director of Reclaim New York Initiative.

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Business

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