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NY State, City Talk Benefits of Design-Build

Thursday, March 8, 2018

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Talks around design-build authority in New York are heating up as the state’s budget deadline approaches, with proponents arguing that a design-build effort would streamline major projects that have a ticking clock.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s counsel Alphonso David penned an outline to Council Speaker Corey Johnson last week that includes a proposal for allowing New York City to use design-build for all capital projects.

Sfoskett, SS-BA-CY 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway project, the state would also support new jails to replace Rikers Island.

Legislation for this type of effort has been put forth in the past but didn’t get through state government. Now, though, there’s more of a time crunch as projects such as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway are a higher priority.

“All local governments want broad design-build authority, but it has been a nonstarter legislatively,” said David.

Because the proposal has been shot down before, David is seeking approval on a case-by-case basis, which proponents say could please everyone while saving the city money and time.

In addition to the BQE project, the state would also support new jails to replace Rikers Island.

“[If] the city was aggressive in expediting the closing of Rikers, they would request design/build authorization for construction of the new jails,” David’s letter reads.

That project in particular going the design-build route has NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s full support.

“Let me just quickly ‘amen’ to the Speaker and thank him for coming back to issue,” de Blasio said when Johnson called for design-build to help expedite the closure. “Design-build is not the sexiest issue around, but it’s incredibly important.”

In the letter, David reportedly played up that Johnson’s support would help settle waters between the Council, de Blasio and Cuomo.

The Public

Last month, State Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Joanne Simo hosted a rally in Brooklyn in support of a design-build attack for the BQE.

Allegedly, a design-build process would shave two years off the project that would replace a section of the triple-cantilevered bridge. If the process is drawn out, there’s a fear that a weight limit would have to be imposed on the bridge. A weight limit would result in rerouting the approximately 16,000 trucks per day, which CBS New York called “truck-mageddon.”


Tagged categories: Design build; Government; Government contracts; Laws and litigation

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