A New York State Democrat has taken on the charge to get the Mario Cuomo Bridge back to its original name, the Tappan Zee Bridge.
“This is nothing against the Cuomos,” said Senator James Skoufis, D-Woodbury. He added that the process of originally renaming the bridge was “inappropriate” and that he would support dedicating another bridge, tunnel or roadway to the former New York governor.
“There was no public input, there was no feedback outreach. And if they had done that outreach, they would have heard, the governor’s office, that people didn’t want the name changed,” Skoufis added. “And so we’re trying to rectify that mistake with this bill.”
The three-mile bridge was originally named Tappan Zee since it opened in 1955, but was renamed in 2017 after New York’s three-year-old governor after a new bridge was built to replace the original. Mario Cuomo served as governor from 1983 to 1995 and left office after the 1994 election with a loss to Republican challenger George Pataki.
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In this August 24, 2017 photo, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new administration’s Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge, in Tarrytown, NY (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Republicans have favored the renaming for years, but Skoufis took the lead after taking his seat and inheriting it from his predecessor, Republican Senator Mike Martucci.
“Everybody in the Hudson Valley still calls the bridge the Tappan Zee for a reason,” Skoufis said. the New York Post in February. “It’s the right name.”
An attempt to pass the bill last term failed in April, but sponsors believe the bill could have more success with New York Governor Kathy Hochul leading the charge on the latest measure.
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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo, right, hugs his father Mario after winning the election for governor of New York on Nov. 2, 2010. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Hochul has not committed to the measure, saying it “must pass legislation before it gets my attention,” ABC 7 reported.
Two New York State Assembly Democrats from the Hudson Valley have voiced differing views on the bill, with Ken Zebrowski supporting it and MaryJane Shimsky claiming it was a diversion from “priority…our time and energy to rebuild more of our crumbling roads.” and repair bridges”.
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Skoufis stressed that the bill would need an Assembly sponsor, likely a Democrat, to push it through the legislative body that is two-thirds Democratic. Without the sponsor, the bill would likely have to pass as an addition to the budget, due in April, or as part of an omnibus, The Journal News reported.
The New York State Capitol is seen before Governor Kathy Hochul delivers her State of the State Address in the Assembly Hall on January 10, 2023 in Albany, NY (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Four Democrats supported the bill in the General Assembly last year, and Councilman John McGowan, R-Pearl River, said he would work with “anyone, Republican or Democrat,” to make sure it passes.
“The reality is you’re a Republican and it’s much harder to pass legislation than it is for my peers in the majority,” McGowan told the Post, adding that “good ideas are good ideas.”
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The measure has gained support following allegations of sexual misconduct from former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Andrew Cuomo reportedly pushed heavily armed lawmakers to adopt the name as part of an overnight push in a major omnibus bill in 2017 as the structure neared completion.
Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news.