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Advocates call for water treatment aid ahead of Obama's Tappan Zee visit

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Albany/HV: Advocates call for water treatment aid ahead of Obama's Tappan Zee visit
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TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- President Barack Obama's Wednesday visit to the Tappan Zee Bridge comes amid concerns that the Federal Highway Trust Fund will run out money by end of this summer, according to the White House.

Now, the push is on to get Congress to pass a bill to improve and invest in the nations crumbling infrastructure.

"Our job is to protect the job of the [Hudson River] at the same time infrastructure projects are being put forward," said Paul Gallay, of Hudson Riverkeeper.

"The project meets Clean Water Act standards and was significantly improved by the reduction in the amount of dredging, almost a 50 percent reduction in the amount of dredging from the original proposal and the reduction in the number of pilings and the size of the pilings," Gallay said.

Despite concerns surrounding the environmental impact, the American Society of Civil Engineers said US highways and bridges are in serious need of repairs and upgrades.
The organization has given the nations infrastructure almost a failing grade, a D-plus grade, in terms of condition and performance.

"Obviously there is a lot more barge traffic because of this project. Riverkeeper will do what it can along with agencies like the Coast Guard along with the boating community to assure people get access to the river and that it's safe," Gallay said.

Riverkeeper is hoping the president will not only invest in projects to improve bridges and roads, but also in water treatment infrastructure.

"I sure hope he's also going to be willing to talk about investment in our water treatment infrastructure. There's a multi-billion dollar backlog in projects we need to make sure the river is safe and clean for people to enjoy," Gallay said.

Construction on the New New York Bridge is expected to be finished by 2018.

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