Board Members Out; New Members Named

ALBANY – Roger Higgins, a Democrat, once the chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature, has served for the last several years as a member of the New York State Bridge Authority Board.

All of the members of that agency have been replaced effective immediately with seven new members named by Governor Andrew Cuomo and confirmed by the Senate.

Higgins, meanwhile, will continue to serve state government as he will now serve as a Dutchess County representative of the Stewart Airport Commission. That board provides advise and consent to the State Transportation Department, the landlord of New York Stewart International Airport property. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has a long-term lease to operate the airport.

New members appointed to the Bridge Authority Board are Lou Lanza, a contributor to Cuomo’s campaign committee, Michael O’Brien; Ilan Gilbert, a former Yorktown town supervisor; Joan McDonald, a Democrat and former state transportation commissioner is currently Westchester Executive George Latimer’s chief of staff; Alexander Berardi, an Ulster County businessman; Maria Bruni, a Democrat and Middletown City economic development director; and Colin Jarvis, the Newburgh Ministry executive director.

Meanwhile, Senator Jennifer Metzger (D, Rosendale) said if the governor tries to merge the Bridge Authority with the Thruway Authority next year, she will object to it just as she did earlier this year.

“The Bridge Authority is an efficiently run organization and it served the Hudson Valley extremely well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That is exactly the case with the Bridge Authority,” she said. “We don’t want to see a merger with the Thruway Authority; we don’t want to see the resources sucked out of the Bridge Authority for the Thruway Authority.”

This year’s state budget has a provision for the two agencies to share services, which was seen as a compromise with the governor’s merger plan.

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