The state is suggesting the city seek design-build authority on a project-by-project basis — saying it’d support efforts to use the streamlined process to rebuild a portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, to create new jails to replace Rikers Island and to fix up public housing, according to a letter obtained by the Daily News.
The proposal is one of several outlined by Gov. Cuomo’s counsel Alphonso David in a letter to Council Speaker Corey Johnson ahead of the state’s budget deadline on April 1 and the end of its legislative session in June.
Backers of design-build say it speeds up the process and reduces costs by combining the planning and construction phases of capital projects — and Cuomo has touted its successful use in rebuilding the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The city has been seeking permission from Albany to use it for all capital projects — but in the letter, David argued that has been met with displeasure in the Legislature, saying efforts to expand it to New York City, to all local governments and to all of his own executive agencies have all been blocked in the Legislature.
“All local governments want broad design-build authority, but it has been a nonstarter legislatively,” he wrote.
Instead, he suggests the city would have the “highest likelihood of legislative success” by seeking design-build approval on a case-by-case basis — starting with rebuilding a portion of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
“We are very concerned with the traffic implications to downtown Brooklyn if the BQE construction is not expedited,” David wrote. “The governor would be fully supportive of design-build for the BQE.”
The city has estimated design-build could save $113 million and cut two years off the project’s timeline.
In a statement, the governor’s office said the proposals were ways for the budget “to address pressing issues facing New York City.”
“Good faith discussions are being had with our partners in local government to find resolutions to these issues,” press secretary Dani Lever said.
A City Council spokeswoman said they were reviewing the letter.
The state would also support design-build for new jails to replace Rikers Island. In the letter, David insists that a new LaGuardia airport, the new Yankee Stadium and the new Tappan Zee Bridge are also slated to have shorter timetables.
“[If] the city was aggressive in expediting the closing of Rikers, they would request design/build authorization for construction of the new jails,” he wrote.
De Blasio publicly urged the state to OK design-build when discussing the Rikers Island timeline just days before the letter was sent.
“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.”
The state also recommended design-build at the New York City Housing Authority — where it also suggested state-run lead inspections and, if lead is found, a state-imposed lead abatement program. It also suggested, as Councilman Robert Cornegy had sought, a state of emergency declaration for NYCHA as a way of “overriding certain procurement laws and thus reducing the time frame of NYCHA’s bureaucratic bidding process,” and to employ a private sector contractor to manage emergency heat repairs.
The letter also calls for more transparency in how the city spends state education dollars, for the city to pay $50 million toward Hudson River Park and to pony up $400 million for a subway repair action plan — to which Johnson, to whom the letter was addressed, has been more amenable than de Blasio, who has refused.
“We have also said repeatedly that all city funds will be placed in a ‘lockbox’ for [New York City Transit Authority] and it’s our pleasure to work with the city on the remaining emergency action plan items together,” David wrote.
The letter to the Council comes as the governor’s relationship with the mayor continues to revolve mainly around public disagreement on a wide range of issues. Johnson, meanwhile, has been looking to carve out a warmer — and more effective — relationship with him.
In the letter, David cites the Council’s authorities over some of the matters of dispute.
“Your participation is essential, as some items may ultimately be supported by action of the Council to pass a ‘home rule’ message and some items, such as Rikers Island, may require the Council to serve as a legal signatory,” the letter reads.
It also notes that the governor’s office was seeking to reach agreements with the both Council and the mayor’s office — which David wrote was copied on the letter and aware of his conversations with the Council — in order to move the issues through the legislative process more smoothly.
“I think our discussions with you and the mayor’s office have been helpful and we have the framework for an agreement, which would become the governor’s position in the budget discussion with the Legislature,” he wrote. “While there is always a possibility that the Legislature may not accept the governor’s position regarding our resolution, it is the best practical approach forward.”
Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/state-nyc-design-build-major-repair-projects-article-1.3857252