April 18, 2013
The Tappan Zee Bridge Task Force and Mayor Christian met today with representatives from the Tappan Zee Bridge project team to discuss the proposal to place an All Electronic Toll Collection (AETC) facility in South Nyack. At the April 4 meeting, project representatives had said the AETC was proposed to be located permanently in South Nyack. We expressed concerns about the proposal and asked for more information. (See TZB Task Force report – April 4, 2013.)
The project team told us today that after consideration of our objections and review of the proposal and the TZC contract, they were withdrawing the notion of permanently locating the facility in South Nyack, but still wanted to construct it here temporarily during bridge construction. Towards the end of the project, a permanent AETC facility would be built at the current toll plaza in Tarrytown. The temporary structure in South Nyack would then be removed.
The team showed us maps of the proposed location at Exit 10 and visual simulations of what it would look like. The AETC facility is comprised of an overhead metal gantry that spans the roadway. This holds the EZ-Pass sensors. It also holds cameras that would be used to take photos of the license plates of cars that do not have EZ-Pass. Those drivers would be billed for the toll.
There would be two gantries. One would span the eastbound lanes of the Thruway in the middle of the Exit 10 circular ramp system. A second gantry would be placed on the eastbound entry ramp, just before it passes under 9W. There will also be a small building next to the main gantry to house the AETC recording equipment. Next to the building would be backup generators.
We asked why this location had been chosen. The project team told us that TZC had explored other locations on the Tarrytown side, but they concluded on the Exit 10 site, which was put in the contract accepted by the Thruway Authority. Project engineers reviewed other possible sites with us, contending that there were more difficulties locating the facility on the Tarrytown side.
We expressed concern about possible environmental impacts of the AETC on the Village. The Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS) was based on a project “limit of construction” just east of the South Broadway overpass. Since the temporary AETC is proposed to be beyond the project limit, we believe a supplemental impact study may be required.
We expressed concern that the Thruway Authority could change their mind some time in the future and decide to leave the AETC permanently in South Nyack. A permanent AETC would complicate the Village’s consideration of redevelopment of the Exit 10 area. The project team said they would amend the TZC contract to make it clear that the temporary AETC at Exit 10 is required to be removed. We said that we would also need an agreement between to Thruway Authority and the Village.
We discussed the need for economic development. We pointed out that we have been continually trying to work with the State to bring some benefits to the river villages region. This latest proposal adds yet more burden to South Nyack. We reiterated our requests for some substantive progress on a collaborative effort to attain some benefits.
We concluded saying the Village is wary, but open to accepting the AETC temporarily, but only upon our satisfaction that, 1) there is an enforceable agreement to assure us that the AETC will be only temporary, 2) that environmental impacts are studied appropriately, and 3) that the State demonstrates serious progress towards addressing the issues we have repeatedly raised.