The Cuomo administration this week abandoned its proposal to build either a new bridge or underground tunnel across Long Island Sound after local opposition to the plans came to the fore.
Paul Karas, acting commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), said the project would not be moving forward. “After careful review of a variety of considerations pertaining to the project, NYSDOT has decided not to move forward with [the project] at this time,” Karas said in a statement.
According to the commissioner, the agency “conducted a high-level review to assess the technical and financial feasibility of constructing” either a bridge or tunnel to cross the Sound. Such a crossing would have connected Long Island to either Westchester County or Connecticut.
The project, proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this past January, raised concerns due to its $55 billion price tag, as well as questions as to its necessity and the potential disruption to local communities. Earlier this month, Town of Oyster Bay officials encouraged residents to fight the proposal.
According to news site Newsday, local officials recently gave an hour-long presentationof opposition, outlining the possible negative impacts of the project, from an increased tax burden, to disrupted aquifers, to 10-story-high tunnel vents. They also encouraged residents to contact Cuomo’s office via phone, letter or internet, and to use social media to spread the word about their opposition.
Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino told the audience the project would “devastate our suburban quality of life.”
“We knew this was the wrong project and we knew it would have devastated our communities,” Saladino after the decision was announced. “There were so many people – elected officials, community leaders, regular residents - who came together as one team” to voice opposition. “Quite frankly, I appreciate the governor for seeing this was not the right project,” he added.