ALBANY - New York will get up to a $1.6 billion federal loan to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge, the largest loan of its kind ever issued by the federal government.
Cuomo administration officials Thursday confirmed to Gannett's Albany Bureau that the state will get the long-anticipated loan for the $3.9 billion project.
"It couldn't be any better. It's everything we hoped for and more. It's also a ringing endorsement of the project itself," Cuomo said later Thursday morning on "The Capitol Pressrom," a public radio show.
The state has requested $1.58 billion from the federal government in a low-interest loan under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.
Cuomo officials said the loan is the largest the federal Department of Transportation has provided under the program. It will represent 15 percent of the total pot that the federal government had in its $10 billion portfolio.
Previously, the largest TIFIA loan was for $900 million in Texas in 2001.
The loan is good news for the project, which has gotten underway in recent months. Construction of the three-mile span across the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester counties would have been more expensive without the loan and would likely have meant higher tolls.
The state initially sought 50 percent of the project's cost through the loan, but then lowered it to 33 percent when the federal government indicated last year it would not provide half the cost.
The current toll is $5 roundtrip for the bridge. It could have been as much as $14.
"It's a ringing endorsement of the project itself," Cuomo said. "It's great news for the people of the state."