TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- President Barack Obama helicoptered into Tarrytown Wednesday with Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his side to push Congress to open the Federal coffers for more infrastructure funding.
Obama arrived by air and was greeted by a crowd of supporters including New York State, Westchester County and local politicians in the shadow of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which provided a backdrop with the New NY Bridge construction under way.
“Behind me is the old Tappan Zee Bridge, the longest bridge in New York,” Obama said in his 16-minute speech. “At times you can see the river through the cracks of the pavement. Now, I’m not an engineer, but I figure that’s not good.”
Introduced by construction supervisor Chris Horton of Mount Kisco, who is working on the new bridge, Obama thanked Cuomo for making the bridge project a reality and Democrat Congresswoman Nita Lowey for expediting the federal financing.
“The investments in the new Tappan Zee Bridge mean less waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, more time spent with our families, and local economic growth” said Lowey. “The historic TIFIA loan I helped secure to support this new bridge will enable job creation and support our local economy."
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who is expected to be nominated at the Republican Convention Thursday in Rye Brook Thursday to run against Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial election, said he was concerned about whether federal funding would be enough to defray future tax and toll increases.
"New York is the highest taxed state and the cost of living here is pushing people out," Astorino said. "I predict that we will be paying for this."
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney said Congress needs to address infrastructure across the country.
“It’s time to get serious about investing in our country again and fight back against ideologues in Congress who want to hold our economy hostage by refusing to repair our crumbling infrastructure," Maloney said, "Projects like the Tappan Zee Bridge are where the rubber meets the road in creating local jobs and getting our economy back on track - we need a long term plan to continue making these investments in our future,” said Maloney.
Among the dozens of national and local press at the event was Irvington High School reporter Ian Reilly.
"This is my first assignment and it is really amazing to see all the press here," the freshman Reilly said. "I watch these things on television and seeing it as a reporter is great."