It’s the best-kept secret in all of New York: How exactly does Gov. Cuomo plan to pay for the $3.9 billion new Tappan Zee Bridge that even now is being built?

Progress on the span, a centerpiece of Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign, is impressively rapid — but Team Cuomo still hasn’t dropped a public plan for where the money’s coming from.

A top suspect is the New York Thruway Authority. But it just adopted its 2017 budget with yet another promise not to hike tolls on the state’s premier highway until at least 2020.

The authority says it expects to be flush, as a dramatic rise in travelers on the 570-mile road brings in an extra $11 million in revenue. But that wouldn’t begin to cover the financing for Tappan Zee construction.

And not all the state’s revenue projections pan out: Just last week, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reported that tax revenues for the first half of the current fiscal year fell short of the governor’s projection by nearly $1 billion.

But the Tappan Zee remains the biggest mystery in the state’s finances. Notably, the governor still refuses to make public the financing documents his administration had submitted to the feds last year, in a failed effort to score a $511 million environmental loan from Washington to use on the new bridge.

E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy has suggested Cuomo “is trying to put off paying the costs of a new bridge until he leaves office.”

With no sort of public plan or explanation in view, that sounds about right.

You may also like

State’s Growing Budget Hole Threatens NYC Jobs and Aid as Congress Takes a Holiday

“The biggest problem for the state is the enormous, recurring structural budget gap starting next year and into the future,” said E.J. McMahon of the conservative-leaning Empire Center. “Cuomo clearly hopes that starting in 2021, (Democratic presidential candidate Joseph) Biden and a Democratic Congress will provide states and local government a couple of year’s worth of added stimulus. Read More

How Andrew Cuomo became ‘maybe the most powerful governor’ in U.S.

Ed McKinley ALBANY — When the New York Constitution was reorganized nearly 100 years ago to give the governor more power over the budget process,  noted there was a risk of making “the governor a czar." M Read More

Study disputes Cuomo on Trump tax package; experts say it’s complicated

Michael Gormley ALBANY — A new study by a conservative think tank says President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law gave most New Yorkers a tax cut, even as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo insists on repealing the measure because he says it will cost New Yo Read More

Empire Center sues Department of Health over nursing home records

Johan Sheridan ALBANY, N.Y. () — The Empire Center filed a  against the state Department of Health on Friday. “This case isn’t about assigning blame or embarrassing political leaders,” said Bill Hammond, the Empire Center’s Read More

Good news: That New York pork isn’t going out the door after all

The Empire Center first reported Tuesday that grants — 226 of them, totaling $46 million, to recipients selected by the governor and individual state lawmakers — seemed to still be going ahead. Read More

New York Lawmakers Seek Independent Probe of Nursing-Home Coronavirus Deaths

With lingering questions about how the novel coronavirus killed thousands of New Yorkers who lived in nursing homes, a group of state lawmakers is pushing to create an independent commission to get answers from the state Department of Health. Read More

Policy analyst: Cuomo wrong to write-off nursing home criticism as political conspiracy

“The importance of discussing this and getting the true facts out is to understand what did and didn’t happen so we can learn from it in case this happens again,” Hammond said. Read More

EDITORIAL: Nursing home report requires a second opinion

No doubt, the Health Department and the governor would like this report to be the final word on the subject. But if it’s all the same with them, we’d still like a truly independent review. Read More

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!