ALBANY - (AP) -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to use clean water funds to help pay for the new Tappan Zee Bridge has been approved by a key state board.

The state Thruway Authority board voted Wednesday to accept the $256 million, five-year loan from the state's Environmental Facilities Corp. The Authority plans to request a second $256 million loan, perhaps next year.

Environmental groups have opposed the loans, saying it's wrong to finance a bridge with federal funds intended for drinking water and sewage treatment projects.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has also questioned the move and is now reviewing the state's proposal.

Cuomo's administration says the funding plan will help minimize tolls on the $3.9 billion span being built to replace the existing bridge north of New York City.