De Blasio, agency leaders urge Cuomo to sign NYC Design-Build Act

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whitehall terminal staten island ferry
Financial District, NYC Photo by Ajay Suresh Creative commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and agency leaders put out another call on Dec. 12 for the Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation permitting the city to enter into design-build construction contracts.

Agency officials and members of the de Blasio Administration gathered at the Whitehall Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry in a media event to encourage passage of the NYC Design-Build Act.

The legislation would save the City $300 million dollars of 49 key projects—including the Staten Island Ferry—by expediting the construction of vital public infrastructure such as libraries, bridges, firehouses, and schools, according to a statement from De Blasio’s office. “There is no cost to the State.”

“Throughout our city, we have serious infrastructure needs that cannot wait for a crisis,” de Blasio said. “It is critical we address these issues right away and in the most cost-effective way possible.”

“Design-build authority would save us time and money, meaning less red tape and more libraries, roads, and bridges in communities across our city. Design Build has been invaluable for the State, it can and should be for the City too.”

Specifically, the NYC Design-Build Act – which passed with unanimous support from New York City members of the State Legislature – would authorize the use of the design-build method for projects undertaken by city agencies, including the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR), the School Construction Authority (SCA), the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and NYC Health + Hospitals.

If enacted, this legislation would accelerate roof and boiler repairs for NYCHA residents, expedite the opening of libraries, parks buildings and schools, reduce traffic by enabling the city to complete road, water and sewer projects faster, while also making the City government more efficient. city agencies have identified 49 projects which could benefit from the design-build method, including:

Reconstruction of Belt Parkway bridges: NYC DOT will reconstruct a series of bridges on the Belt Parkway at Sheepshead Bay Road, Ocean Avenue, Bedford Avenue and Nostrand Avenue. The project is estimated to cost up to $155 million, and design-build may save more than $9 million while also expediting completion of the project.

NYPD property clerk facility: DDC will construct a modern replacement for the outdated, undersized and environmentally vulnerable evidence storage facilities currently spread out along various sites throughout the boroughs of NYC. This project is expected to cost more than $423 million if built according to the design-bid-build system; design-build could save more than $8 million, but also help ensure that this project’s’ various technological components are well-integrated.

Staten Island Ferry resiliency upgrades: Superstorm Sandy caused significant damage to the passenger terminal and ferry maintenance facilities in Staten Island and Manhattan. The City made temporary repairs, but permanent resiliency measures are required to protect these facilities from storm surge flooding, high winds and rising sea levels. Design-build is projected to save $3 million from the project’s $57 million estimated cost, but could also prevent construction from disrupting the 24/7 operation of the Ferry for the tens of thousands of daily passengers.

Three primary health care centers: Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn: The NYC Design-Build Act bill would allow NYC Health + Hospitals to utilize design-build to more rapidly increase access to health care services in medically underserved areas by expediting construction of new primary care health centers. These centers will provide comprehensive primary and preventive care services, including chronic disease testing and management, as well as age-appropriate screening exams to approximately 50,000 patients. Design-build would help these centers open faster, meaning thousands more patients could be seen, while also potentially shaving up to $5 million from the expected project cost of $82 Million.

“Signing the NYC Design-Build Act into law will enable New York City to complete projects quicker, more often under budget, and cut through red tape that has often blocked us from putting together the best design and construction teams,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “We have seen the positive results design-build can yield not only across the country, but throughout New York State, which is why we need to bring this authority to New York City.”

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