A Daily Voice analysis of campaign finance reports shows that New York's major labor unions involved in replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge donated almost $800,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's re-election campaign.
Has the new $4 billion Tappan Zee Bridge improved commutes over the Hudson River?
Meanwhile, the same unions landed billions of dollars in construction contracts to build the new bridge, which the Democratic governor seeking a third term on Nov. 6 officially named after his late father, Mario M. Cuomo.
Numerous commuters have complained to Daily Voice that the new TZB remains as jammed during rush hour as ever -- especially during foul weather -- and they reject Cuomo's decision to rename the new bridge after his late father.
Interstate-287 and I-87 state Thruway on either side of the bridge continue to experience major delays as the lanes narrow on either side of the Hudson River.
A dozen unions listed in this contract for the New NY Bridge Project, a nearly $4 billion project, donated at least $784,000 to Cuomo’s campaign since 2010, according to campaign finance records.
The contract on the bridge included an agreement between the state Thruway Authority, state Building & Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO and affiliates, as well as the Rockland County Building & Construction Trades Council and local unions.
The contract lists two dozen labor unions involved in building the new bridge, half of which contributed to Cuomo’s re-election campaign or had parent companies donate, according to records filed with the state Board of Elections.
The New York State Building & Construction Trades Council gave at least $137,000 to Cuomo’s campaign committee since 2010.
A political action committee (PAC) associated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, meanwhile, gave about $140,000 to Cuomo’s campaign, according to finance statements.
The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York endorsed Cuomo’s re-election in June while praising Cuomo’s support for infrastructure projects.
Unionized contractors received as much as $1.5 billion from building the new bridge and dismantling the original Tappan Zee Bridge, according to John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany.
Local unions affiliated with the International Union of Operating Engineers, whose members worked on the Tappan Zee Bridge, donated at least $125,000 to Cuomo’s campaign since 2010, according to campaign finance records.
Cuomo’s political opponents, including primary challenger Cynthia Nixon and Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, who is Dutchess County executive, criticized Cuomo for rushing the bridge's opening for political advantage.
Calling it political silly season, Cuomo, who lives in New Castle, said it was not up to him to decide when to open the second, new TZB span in September. But a letter obtained by the New York Times conflicted with Cuomo’s account.
The letter from a Cuomo Administration official who oversaw the bridge project indicated that the state offered financial incentives to contractors to finalize bridgework before Cuomo's Sept. 13 Democratic Party primary against Nixon, an education activist best known for her television acting on "Sex And The City."
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