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President Obama visit expected to bring traffic to Tarrytown

Marcus Solis has more from Tarrytown, where residents are getting ready for a visit from President Obama.
May 14, 2014 9:39:26 AM PDT
Officials say motorists should expect traffic delays during President Barack Obama's visit to Westchester County.

Obama is scheduled to appear near the Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, where a replacement bridge is currently being built for the Hudson River span, on Wednesday afternoon to call on Congress to support his $302 billion transportation plan.

Midday street closures are expected, and some parking spaces in the nonresident lots west of the Metro-North Railroad tracks are off-limits. The town's five schools are also dismissing early.

Commuters should use street parking along West Main Street and areas near Pierson Park and the northeast section of the Walgreens parking lot.

The president's helicopter will touch down in Sleepy Hollow, a half-mile from Sunset Cove, where the event will take place. The restaurant where Obama will speak is on the grounds of a marina, which will also shut down for several hours.

In addition to calling on lawmakers to back his transportation plan, Obama will promote efforts to cut red tape and delays in permitting, the White House said.

While in New York, Obama will also headline a pair of high-dollar fundraisers benefiting Democratic candidates competing in the midterm elections. He and first lady Michelle Obama will spend the night in Manhattan before attending the dedication ceremony Thursday for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center.

Obama's New York jaunt forms the apex of a weeklong attempt by the White House to focus the nation's attention on what the administration describes as a looming crisis that, left unfixed, could stifle economic growth and torment the nation's commuters.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx kicked off the week on Monday, warning that the Highway Trust Fund, which relies on gasoline taxes that haven't been raised in 20 years, could run dry in August. Vice President Joe Biden added his voice on Tuesday, telling local leaders in St. Louis that "we've stalled" on infrastructure as he promoted a $410 million renovation to the famous Gateway Arch that's being funded largely by donations.

Obama on Wednesday was to announce modest steps to modernize permitting for infrastructure projects, with an eye toward shortening the process. Obama's plan seeks to improve coordination and synchronization among agencies so projects don't have to wait for multiple, consecutive reviews, the White House said. Obama also plans to expand an online permitting "dashboard" to include more projects.

The setting for Obama's call to action, the 3-mile-long Tappan Zee Bridge, currently is being replaced by a new bridge at a cost of $3.9 billion, financed largely by bonds paid for through higher bridge tolls.

The Obama administration has proposed a four-year, $302 billion transportation plan. Of that amount, half would be in addition to the programs paid for with fuel taxes. That additional spending would come from revenue raised by closing corporate tax loopholes and by making other changes in business taxes, a longshot idea in a politically divided Congress.


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