Dear River Journal Editor,
I read on the News12 Westchester website recently that State Assemblymember Shimsky did not vote for the bipartisan bill to restore the Tappan Zee Bridge name to be moved out of the Transportation Committee for a full debate on the Assembly floor. Now the legislation is dead for a second year in a row. I don’t see any reference to this vote posted on her Facebook page, website or in the newsletter I just received from her office. As a constituent, I spoke with her office and they verified that she does not support the name restoration.
Where hers is only one vote on the Transportation Committee, why would any of the other members bother to support the bill if the Westchester representative does not?
Democrat State Senator Skoufis who is sponsoring a bill to restore the Tappan Zee Bridge name is the only Democrat who leading this effort, and he’s from Orange County! Why isn’t Senator Stewart-Cousins co-sponsoring this legislation?
As a local resident (and a registered Democrat), I am sharing this news tip in the hope that you will cover this development. Since local residents were not given an opportunity to weigh in when Cuomo and the NY Legislature voted in the dead of night to remove the beloved “Tappan Zee” name, this bill that was blocked in the Transportation Committee was our chance to have the opportunity to voice our opinion.
Now, costs are cited as a top concern, but apparently not back in 2017 when the NY Legislature approved the name change without any local input. As Senator Skufis has said, few new signs would be needed as most simply have inlays – either covering the Tappan Zee name or to correct the missing middle initial for former Governor Mario Cuomo. I also have heard that there are some old Tappan Zee Bridge signs in storage too.
I would greatly appreciate your coverage of this development. The “Tappan Zee” is a special name that is unique to this area and reflects our local heritage. It should never have been removed, and it’s time to right a wrong. At the minimum, I would like to see political transparency.
I expect most voters are unaware of the lack of support from either Shimsky or Stewart-Cousins on this legislation. A Democrat from Orange County should not have to lead this fight on his own, and the name change legislation will not pass without more support from Democrats. It’s time for the voters to have a voice and decide what is important to them. They can’t do that if they don’t know what’s happening.
I want to thank April for writing this piece, as everything she said is spot on, on how we feel about this matter. The bridge is an icon that not only respresents the Tappan Zee but the Hudson Valley as a whole. My take on why not many NY Democrats are not onboard is that they’re naive and/or do not understand the history and heritage that it represents. As Skufis is a more powerful senator, I hope he garners more support but with these “democrats,” it’ll be a while for them to realize the matter. They should do a better job and listen to our voices instead of sucking up to Cuomo and their donors.