TIFIA Loan Denial Shows Need to Improve Tappan Zee Project

According to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), five projects were invited to advance to the next stage of the TIFIA program and the Tappan Zee was not among them. New York State had applied for a $2 billion TIFIA loan to help finance the new bridge.

USDOT uses a range of criteria to evaluate applications for this program, including environmental impacts and sustainability. Projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encourage the use of alternative transportation, reduce reliance on foreign oil, and promote livability are more likely to receive federal loans. Tri-State Transportation Campaign and others have argued that New York’s application would have been more competitive if it had included a public transportation component. In fact, one of the short listed projects—the US 36 project in Colorado—includes bus rapid transit.

The news means that the financing plan for the Tappan Zee Bridge is even murkier than before. Yet this development also provides a great opportunity for the state to improve the project moving forward by including a bus rapid transit component.