New York City will have to try again next year to get design-build infrastructure project authority.
A bill that state Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, D-Bronx, filed on behalf of Mayor Bill de Blasio passed the House 121-21 on Tuesday but stalled in the Senate as the legislature adjourned its session.
Design-build links project design firms and contractors under a single contract with a single point of responsibility. The intent is to deliver infrastructure projects more quickly and cheaply.
New York State has design-build authority and is using it on such projects as the Tappan Zee, Goethals and Kosciuszko bridge construction projects. The new Kosciuszko opened two months ago.
A $1.8 billion city bridge project adjacent to the Kosciuszko, which carries Interstate 278 along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway over Newtown Creek, is costing “a lot more than it should,” said de Blasio.
State Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, had filed an enabling bill specific to the BQE work.
The mayor said the city could save $450 million immediately throughout the boroughs with design-build.
General contractors and labor groups oppose the bill. In addition, many observers cite the continuing friction between Cuomo and de Blasio.
“For too long the city has watched from the sidelines as successful design-build projects throughout the state deliver cost and time savings to citizens while city residents pay more and wait longer for infrastructure improvements,” said Lisa Washington, executive director and chief executive of the Design-Build Institute of America.
Cuomo proposed expanding design-build to all state agencies but no city agencies. The legislature two months ago approved it only for certain projects.
“I think any objective observer of design-build procurement as opposed to [design-bid-build] procurement would submit that it saves about 10% to 20% of any infrastructure project, and that is substantial savings that a very practical reform could achieve,” Chris Hamel, head of public finance for RBC Capital Markets said on a recent Bond Buyer podcast. “So I can understand why the mayor and his team feel so strongly about this.”