THE OMBUDSMAN ALERT: Legislation advanced to restore Tappan Zee name to new bridge

BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT

Ombudsman

In a bill A8914A, sponsored by Assemblyman Byrne of Westchester (Senate matching bill S7671), our neighboring assemblyman is attempting to restore the tradition and history of our area by adding back the name “Tappan Zee” to the newly minted “Mario M Cuomo” bridge.

His justification, quoted directly from his bill, is as follows:

“Local residents surrounding the Tappan Zee Bridge have voiced their opposition to the renaming of the Tappan Zee Bridge, including a petition process which includes well over 100K signatures. This strong opposition is due to the fact that Tappan Zee denotes the history of the area in which the bridge is located. Tappan is the name of a native American sub-tribe of the Delaware/Lenni Lenape and Zee is Dutch for sea honoring the early Dutch settlers. For this reason, the bridge should be renamed the Governor Mario Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge.”

Unfortunately, according to Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Governor Andrew Cuomo – son of Mario – has let it be known that he will veto any bill that attempts to preserve the Tappan Zee name, even if it shares the name with his dad. This stubborn attitude of our governor will likely cost New York State taxpayers several million dollars, since as it currently stands, the many hundreds of existing signs bearing the Tappan Zee name located on the New York State Thruway, Palisades Parkway, Sprain Brook Parkway, Route 59, Route 9W, Route 17, etc., will have to be removed and replaced by “Governor Mario M Cuomo” signs.

If the Tappan Zee designation would be allowed to co-exist with the Mario Cuomo designation, the vast majority of those existing signs could remain in place, with only several new signs erected bearing the complete title “Governor Mario M Cuomo Tappan Zee Bridge.” There is much precedence for this since, ironically, former Governor Mario Cuomo, himself, renamed the original Tappan Zee bridge in 1994 to honor HIS former governor, Malcolm Wilson, leaving the vast majority of the original Tappan Zee signs in place and adding a relatively few number of signs bearing the complete title: “Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge.”

The Ombudsman Alert urges all of our readers to write to their elected representatives, Assembly representatives Ken Zebrowski, Ellen Jaffee, Karl Brabenec and James Skoufis and state senators David Carlucci and William Larkin to co-sponsor A8914A and S7671, respectively.

Note – It is the general policy of the Rockland County Times to refer to the new bridge as the New Tappan Zee or New TZ. A citizen petition calling for the official return of the TZ name has over 108,000 e-signatures as of May 2: click here to see petition.

Comments and questions: editor@rocklandcountytimes.com