The war over the naming designation of the new Tappan Zee Bridge has now been joined by a Hudson Valley representative in state government.
Do you think the new Tappan Zee Bridge should be named in honor of the late NY Gov. Mario Cuomo?
The new bridge shouldn't be named after any person
Putnam County Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R-Mahopac) has announced his intention to file a bill that would revert the name of the bridge back to the Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo named it for his father, Mario M. Cuomo during a late-night legislative session earlier this year.
The bill comes as a change.org petition started by a Port Chester lawyer continues to gain signatures, past 100,000 supporters as of Wednesday afternoon.
“I voted against renaming the Tappan Zee Bridge earlier this year and I remain opposed to it today,” Byrne told Daily Voice. “In typical Albany fashion, the name change was sneaked into an omnibus bill in the middle of the night while the rest of the state was fast asleep during what’s referred to as an “extraordinary” session of the state legislature.”
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.
Cuomo has called the overwhelming outcry against the naming of the bridge “vindictive,” “hurtful,” and "mean" through a spokesperson.
“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.”
While Cuomo has said that this is a way of paying tribute to past elected leaders, citing his father’s 12 years in office, Byrne said that renaming the bridge does a disservice to the former namesakes of the bridge.
“Not only does this abrupt change in name dishonor the legacy of Governor Wilson; it also ignores, as my predecessor Will Stephens noted, ‘the historical significance of the indigenous tribe and early Dutch inhabitants" by removing the Tappan Zee name entirely.’
"I refuse to ignore this outcry by our fellow New Yorkers, and am pleased to announce I will be working with my colleagues in the legislature to introduce new legislation that would restore the bridge’s original name."
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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