Governor Andrew Cuomo’s task force recommended expansion of the bus-rapid-transit network in the Lower Hudson Valley to support the new Tappan Zee Bridge, according to a report obtained Monday by Gannet’s Albany Bureau.
The 31-member Mass Transit Task Force recommends “a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system that is simpler, faster and more reliable than what is provided today.” The BRT system proposed would take advantage of the extra lane capacity, according to the report.
The proposal called for expanding service, planning for a transportation center in White Plains, and bus sensors for the buses on routes through the busy intersections of Westchester and Rockland counties.
According to the report, new bus service would lead to travel times 25 percent faster on local roads and 20 percent faster on Interstate 287 leading to the bridge.
The most immediate recommendation in the proposal would be buses running every 15 or 30 minutes to connect to local buses or Metro-North when the bridge opens.
The Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River is being replaced by the state Thruway Authority for a tentative $4 billion with no detailed financing plan to date. The bridge, which now generates $130 million a year in tolls, is expected to open in 2018.
The BRT report did not include proposed financing or how much the system expansion would cost.
Groups have pushed for a light rail system but state officials deemed it too expensive and opted for a plan to increase bus capacity from 7,800 to 28,000. The report stated light rail should be considered as a future option if the population and demand grows.