8/23/14, "Tappan Zee tolls: Feds ignore appeal for estimates," Journal News,
Appeal was filed in June."Officials are required to respond within 20 business days.
"Federal officials continue to remain silent on whether they will release key documents that contain future toll estimates for the Tappan Zee Bridge.
December, the state Thruway Authority secured a $1.6 billion
low-interest loan from the federal government for the $3.9 billion
bridge replacement project.
Earlier this year, The Journal News
filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the financial
section of the state's loan application to the Transportation
Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.
U.S. Department of Transportation officials, after consulting with Thruway leaders, denied The Journal News' request in May,
arguing that releasing "hypothetical toll revenues and financing
scenarios both for the Project and for the entire NYSTA system" could damage the Thruway's credit rating and increase its borrowing costs.
Journal News filed an appeal in June and officials acknowledged it June
10. A public agency has to answer an appeal within 20 business days,
according to law.
As of Friday, it had been 52 business days. Several DOT officials assigned to the case did not respond to emails last week.
delay has prompted The Journal News to seek help from the Office of
Government Information Services, a federal agency that oversees Freedom
of Information Act policies and compliance. Nikki Gramian, deputy director of OGIS, said she is looking into the matter.
Journal News is not the only organization seeking financial details on
the Tappan Zee project. Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a
mass-transit advocacy group, recently received a single blacked-out page
in response to its request for the same documents.
asking for the financial plan, and we think they should make it public,"
said Vincent Pellecchia, general counsel for Tri-State. "Not being able
to see it is frustrating.""