The loan is moving to the next stage of the U.S. Department of Transportation TIFIA loan process.
"This is another important step forward for the new NY bridge project, one that will help keep tolls affordable for motorists," Cuomo said in a statement. "Today's action is also amplified by the fact that under design build the selected bridge plan came in $1 billion under the expected price, maximizing the impact of this major financial support."
New York State is building a new $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge just north of the existing bridge. The project includes two parallel spans and is expected to be completed by 2018.
The New York State Thruway plans to use bonds to help pay for the initial costs. Tolls will be used to help raise funds, the Thruway has also said. The federal loan would help lower tolls below previous projections and the state is looking for additional loans to further reduce costs, Cuomo's office said Friday.
Federal officials must conduct a credit review of the project before officially approving the TIFIA loan. New York is required to pay $100,000 for financial advisers to conduct the credit review.