New York City could save $450 million "right away" if the state would enable cities to execute design-build infrastructure project delivery, said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Briefing reporters at City Hall on his $84.9 billion executive budget proposal for fiscal 2018, de Blasio said Wednesday that city officials would press harder to get Albany approval.
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.
De Blasio spoke in favor of design-build at his preliminary budget proposal in January and at a speech one day earlier before the New York Building Congress.
He was even more animated on the topic Wednesday.
“Reason didn't work in Albany,” said the mayor. “We've been nice, we've been polite, we've been reasonable and we still see a waste of taxpayer dollars so we're going to try a harder approach.”
The city accounts for 43% of New York State's population.
“The state just does not have a good relationship with the city and it goes back to the mayor and the governor,” Howard Cure, director of municipal bond research for Evercore Wealth Management, said of the bickering between de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
New York State uses design-build on some projects. State officials expect to reduce the costs of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement across the Hudson River between Westchester and Rockland counties by about $1.1 billion and complete the span 18 months ahead of schedule.
The state is also reconstructing the Kosciuszko Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Queens on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, through design-build. By contrast, said de Blasio, the city is undertaking a major project nearby on the BQE that will cost "a lot more than it should."
De Blasio said he would work to build a coalition of business and labor leaders as well as officials from upstate cities. The latter might help generate the necessary political support.
“I know there's lots of frustrated local leaders in the state,” said de Blasio. “The phrase 'What’s good for the goose is good for the gander' is good enough for the state of New York.
“We need to get that consciousness out there and direct it to the legislature and the governor and say, ‘Look, this is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.’ “