New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) on Thursday gave a 25-minute speech touting the new replacement Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River coming in on budget.
The New York State Thruway Authority, which was in charge of building the newly opened $4 billion bridge, has yet to release a full public explanation on how the project will be financed, Politico reports.
"It's disgraceful that on the day the new bridge opens, this project still largely remains a black box," Republican State Chairman Ed Cox said in a statement. "While rightfully celebrating today the completion of an urgently needed public works project, huge questions remain as to costs and financing over which the governor has stumbled recently with contradictory statements. He still owes New Yorkers truthful answers to these questions."
The bridge—legally renamed for Cuomo's father, the late Mario Cuomo, who served as governor from 1983 to 1994—carries the New York State Thruway over the Hudson River between Nyack and Tarrytown.
State officials sent $2 billion in cash obtained from settlements with various banks for the bridge's construction, and were able to secure a $1.6 billion federal TIFIA loan.
Cuomo has so far not allowed toll increases on either the bridge—which costs $5 to cross—or the rest of the 570-mile highway system, though in recent weeks he said support would come from system-wide tolls. The governor then said the bridge "would be financed separately from the road it has subsidized for years," according to Politico.
During his 25-minute speech, Cuomo said the new bridge is more than an infrastructure project.
"This bridge is a symbol … of what this state and nation haven't been doing for years—because in truth this state has stood still for too long," Cuomo said. "We have lasted on the legacy of our forefathers."
"Why the complacency? Why haven't we challenged ourselves the way our forefathers challenged themselves … why has our government ambition waned?" Cuomo asked. "I think the answer is as simple as it is damning: we didn't believe we could do it."
Cuomo then criticized President Donald Trump on infrastructure.
"That fear, that cynicism, then drove our people to choose politicians who promised a government that did less, not more. A government that offered only excuses and explanations … but today is different," Cuomo said. "President Trump had promised a $1 trillion infrastructure fund. So far, nothing has materialized."
The governor then said New York is not waiting for the federal government to build a "new state" and a "new economy," before criticizing those who "answer the anxiety of the unemployed and the underemployed" by "stoking fear, and anger and division and racism."
Cuomo has been the governor of New York since 2011. Some observers have suggested he is considering a 2020 presidential bid, overlooking the 2018 gubernatorial election.