This week, the Watertown Daily Times published a letter written by LRANY Executive Director, Thomas B. Stebbins, looking to Scaffold Law reform as a method financial relief for the Tappan Zee Bridge project.
“We certainly agree with the Watertown Daily Times that there are better ways to pay for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement than raiding the water fund, a point made it its editorial “Robbing Peter: Cuomo needs better plan to pay for Tappan Zee Bridge project” published on July 9. One of the easiest solutions would be to reform a law that exists only in New York, our notorious Scaffold Law. The law holds contractors and property owners (like the state) 100 percent liable, even if they were only 1 percent at fault.
In addition to being a travesty of justice, the Scaffold Law has driven up costs on every building project in New York state, including the Tappan Zee Bridge. The current estimate is that the Scaffold Law will add up to $400 million in additional costs to the Tappan Zee project. But the scope of the problem is far bigger than just the Tappan Zee Bridge project. A recent study by the Rockefeller Center at the University at Albany estimates the Scaffold Law costs New York taxpayers $785 million in public funds every year.”