Push to take away Cuomo identify, restore Tappan Zee Bridge will get new life with Dem’s help

A Hudson Valley Democrat needs to push the late former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo off his bridge — or at the least the Cuomo identify.

“Everybody within the Hudson Valley nonetheless calls the bridge the Tappan Zee for a cause,” state Sen. James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) instructed The Put up of the span accomplished in 2018. “It’s the rightful identify.”


Skoufis is including his political muscle to a three-year-old legislative push by changing into the primary sponsor of a invoice to rename the bridge connecting Rockland and Westchester counties after two years through which GOP-led efforts went nowhere in a state Legislature dominated by Democratic supermajorities.

The identify change would take impact instantly upon the invoice passing the state Senate and Meeting — which Skoufis hopes to perform earlier than the common legislative session ends this June — and getting signed into legislation by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“Anytime by June 8 could be nice,” Skoufis mentioned of his timetable to maneuver the invoice via the legislative works.

That seems rather more attainable this 12 months with a outstanding state Senate Democrat getting behind the trigger, based on freshman Assemblyman John McGowan (R-Pearl River), who’s sponsoring the invoice in his chamber — the place some Democrats backed it final 12 months

“The truth is being a Republican and attempting to move laws is rather more tough than for my colleagues within the majority,” McGowan instructed The Put up. “I’ll work with anyone, Republican or Democrat. Good concepts are good concepts.”

Skoufis, the primary Democrat within the state Senate to help the invoice, changed former state Sen. Mike Martucci, a Republican, as the primary invoice sponsor in his chamber.

Assemblyman John McGowan mentioned he’d work with either side of the aisle if they’ve a good suggestion.
Fb/Bleakley Platt & Schmidt

McGowan, the GOP Assemblyman, is taking on the mantle of his predecessor — now-US Rep. Michael Lawler — who launched the invoice in 2021.

Supporters say the proposal can also be about rather more than their most well-liked identify for a key transportation hyperlink.

Disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo strong-armed legislators into greenlighting the “Mario” moniker as a part of a late-night legislative backroom deal to approve a catch-all omnibus invoice in 2017, because the ending touches had been being placed on the practically $4 billion construction.

In alternate for the tribute to Cuomo’s dad, Republicans obtained a hodgepodge of concessions — together with larger retirement advantages for uniformed first responders injured on the job, a tax break for decrease Manhattan actual property, a three-year extension of county gross sales taxes for each upstate and New York Metropolis, as much as $50 million in flood help for Lake Ontario, and a loosening of land restrictions in a part of Adirondack Park

Many New Yorkers have been resisting the identify change ever since.

“Everybody within the Hudson Valley nonetheless calls the bridge the Tappan Zee for a cause,” state Sen. James Skoufis mentioned.
Ricky Flores and Peter Carr/The Journal Information

“The concept of renaming it within the identify of a politician – I don’t assume it’s one thing that folks help and there was no enter on this,” mentioned McGowan, whose district consists of the Rockland aspect of the bridge. “There was no public discussion board for folks to have to be able to share their ideas earlier than it was achieved – and it simply sort of occurred.”

Historical past can also be on their aspect, based on a legislative memo explaining how the roots of the “Tappan Zee” phrase attain again even past colonial occasions.

“The Dutch settlers that got here to the Hudson Valley within the seventeenth Century named this crossing ‘Tappan Zee,’ after a neighborhood Indian tribe and the Dutch phrase for sea,” the paper reads. “Altering the identify to mirror our area’s wealthy historical past is the suitable path ahead and altering the identify again to the Tappan Zee Bridge will just do that.”

An aerial shot of the Mario M Cuomo Bridge on a bright day with land in the distance
Ex. Gov. Andrew Cuomo strong-armed legislators into agreeing to call the practically $4 billion bridge after his late father, a three-term liberal lion of Albany.
Alamy Inventory Photograph

However the invoice nonetheless faces an unsure future within the Meeting after Transportation Committee Chairman William Magnarelli (D-Syracuse) blocked the proposal from getting a flooring vote final 12 months.

Magnarelli didn’t present instant remark Monday in regards to the reintroduction of the invoice.

No matter occurs with the proposal in Albany, folks linked to Rockland say “Mario M. Cuomo” has no likelihood of ever changing into the popular identify of the bridge connecting Nyack and Tarrytown.

“Name me an originalist — however to me, it’ll all the time be the Tappan Zee,” Rockland native Sarah Donnelly instructed The Put up.

Regardless of the obvious slight to one of many Empire State’s most well-known politicians, Skoufis confused that eradicating “Mario M. Cuomo” from the bridge shouldn’t be a private assault on the late liberal lion of Albany.

“Former Governor Mario Cuomo ought to have a public work devoted to his service,” he mentioned, “but it surely ought to be a naming — not a renaming.”