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.

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