ALBANY — Former state Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison Jr. has been named executive director of Capital Gondola LLC, the entity behind the effort to build an aerial gondola across the Hudson River between Rensselaer and downtown Albany.
“I believe in it. It’s a great project,” said Madison, who is also a former head of the state Department of Transportation.
Since the idea was first floated last year, backers said they’ve raised $1.5 million in private funding, though they concede public money would need to be part of the equation if the project were to happen. A feasibility study released late last year concluded the gondola could be economically viable.
“While the intent is to underwrite up to 80 percent of the project’s estimated $43 million cost using private funds, financial support from various state and local grant programs is also being sought and will be crucial to leverage additional private sector investment,” said Mal McLaren, managing member of Capital Gondola.
In an earlier interview, Madison said the 800,000 people who pass through the Albany-Rensselaer rail station every year are potential riders, as are the 400,000 to 700,000 people who attend events at the Capital Center or Times Union Center each year.
Madison was director of the Thruway Authority from 2011-15 and was also director of the Federal Highway Administration from 2008-09 and was New York state commissioner of transportation from 2005-07. He has worked most recently as a private consultant.