EPA weighs Tappan Zee Bridge project against Clean Water Act standards

Doug Kerr/via Flickr
July 9, 2014

The Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild is undergoing another review by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The EPA wants to ensure the work satisfies standards set in the Clean Water Act. Last week, the Environmental Facilities Corporation agreed to spend $511 million in state clean water money on the Tappan Zee rebuild.

Many environmental advocates criticized the loan, saying it’s meant for local wastewater treatment plants.

But officials with the EFC say few municipalities have applied for those loans.

In an interview on the public radio program the Capitol Pressroom yesterday, EPA administrator Judith Enck says the corporation should do a better job of promoting the program.

“We have a sense, these are not grants, they are loans. Communities would prefer grants. Some communities may be up against their borrowing caps," says Enck. "But, the fundamental issue is, according to the state themselves, there’s $36 billion worth of projects that need to be funded, so there should not be $1.5 billion sitting around, not being applied for.”

Financing for the $4 billion Tappan Zee rebuild is still up in the air with much of the funding still unsecured.

If the EPA determines the Tappan Zee Bridge project violates Clean Water Act standards, then there would be no loan from the EFC.