Regional News

Merrill Picked to Lead Tappan Zee Project Group

The New York State Department of Transportation has preliminarily selected a group led by Merrill Lynch & Co. to serve as financial adviser on the multibillion-dollar Tappan Zee Bridge corridor project, NYSDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Post said yesterday.

"We're in the midst of negotiating a contract with them," Post said. Any contract would be subject to approval by the state comptroller's office, she said. If awarded the five-year contract, the group would advise the NYSDOT on financing options for the bridge, including long-term concessions, or public-private partnerships, according to the request for proposals.

Out of six respondents, four were chosen to give oral presentations. Those included Merrill Lynch, First Southwest Co., KPMG LLP, and Public Financial Management Inc.

The request for proposals was issued in June and responses were due last month. Post said Merrill Lynch was selected "recently" but was not sure yesterday of the date.

The NYSDOT is the lead agency on the bridge project. The advisory contract is expected to begin Sept. 1, according to the RFP.

The three-mile long Tappan Zee Bridge that spans the Hudson River connecting Rockland and Westchester counties north of New York City opened in 1955 and now requires either major renovations or a replacement that could cost as much as $14.5 billion. About 140,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day.

A draft environmental impact statement is expected to come out in the spring. Last year Transportation Commissioner Astrid Glynn said the state needs to invest $175 billion in transportation infrastructure, including the Tappan Zee, from 2010 to 2029.

Calls to Merrill Lynch were not returned yesterday.



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