Amid Backlash, Cuomo Strongly Defends Official Renaming Of TZB After Father

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is vehemently defending the naming of the new Tappan Zee Bridge for his father, former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, despite a petition that has garnered more than 100,000 signatures speaking out against the designation.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo with Chick Gallela during opening ceremonies for the new bridge in August.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo with Chick Gallela during opening ceremonies for the new bridge in August.

Photo Credit: Jeanne Muchnick
Former Gov. Mario Cuomo

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Through a spokesperson who spoke to Daily Voice on Monday, Cuomo called the petition, which has garnered more than 95,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon “vindictive,” “hurtful,” and "mean," citing “ugly political times” for the reason so many have been so outspoken against the official designation of the new Tappan Zee Bridge.

“The bill passed overwhelmingly by Democrats and Republicans," Cuomo's said. "Something like 90 percent. And that’s heartwarming because those are people who knew my father, those are people who worked with my father, and they’re not hyper-partisans who are part of this campaign.

“It’s a brand-new bridge. It deserved a new name. When you build something new, you normally give it a new name.”

Cuomo said that it is a way of paying tribute to past elected leaders, saying his fathers 12 years in office earned him bi-partisan support.

“We very often pay tribute to past elected leaders, right?” Cuomo added. “We have the Hugh Carey Tunnel, the Robert Kennedy Bridge, we have the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Highway (and) we have the Dewey Thruway. 

"Not everybody agreed with my father, but at the end of 12 years, there’s nobody who could say this man wasn’t a man of quality who represented this state extraordinarily well and worked hard every day.”

According to multiple reports, the bill to rename the bridge for the elder Cuomo was introduced at the end of a long legislative session by a Suffolk County state senator. It came under immediate criticism by both residents and local politicians.

"Mario Cuomo has no connection whatsoever to Westchester or Rockland," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said earlier this year.

In a statement , the organization Reclaim New York lambasted the naming proposal, calling it "absurd."

“The governor and Albany lawmakers spent the scheduled legislative session’s late hours on a push to name the new Tappan Zee bridge, even though they still have not identified how to pay for it. It’s absurd to name the bridge before commuters and taxpayers even know how much this massive project will cost them in tolls, taxes, or debt. In true Albany style, they debated naming a bridge before tackling ethics reform, mandate relief, local tax extenders, or finding a way to keep more money in New Yorkers’ pockets.

"Since citizens are paying for the bridge, they should get to decide what it's called."

“The governor’s sly attempt to put his family’s name on the bridge, which he can’t figure out how to pay for, even with his massive toll hikes on the horizon, is simply outrageous," Astorino added in June. "Governor Wilson lived in Westchester and should not have his name stripped from the Tappan Zee Bridge to satisfy Andrew Cuomo’s ego. Mario Cuomo has no connection whatsoever to Westchester or Rockland."

In a poll released by Reclaim New York Initiative earlier this year, it was determined that 53.8 percent of Hudson Valley residents disapprove of renaming the bridge in the name of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s father. There was a 33 percent approval rating and just 14.7 percent of respondents thought the bridge should be named for the former governor when selecting from multiple options.

According to the poll, 80 percent of voters believe that Westchester and Rockland residents should have had a say on the vote, which was pushed through the Legislature in a “late-night scheme.”

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