Two state lawmakers from New York City's Staten Island borough want the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reconsider its decision to use 15,000 tons of steel fabricated in China for repairs to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
The MTA in November entered a five-year $235.7 million contract with Tutor Perini Corp. to replace the concrete upper roadway with a lighter steel deck. Completion is expected in 2017. Tutor Perini subcontracted China Railway Shanhaiguan Bridge Group to fabricate the steel from steel plate acquired through Angang Steel Group, China's second-largest steelmaker.
Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, both of whom represent parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn - the two boroughs linked by the bridge connects - said in a letter to interim executive director Thomas Prendergast that the MTA should not shortchange heavily tolled Verrazano commuters by using parts they called substandard.
"Clearly, using substandard products on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will ultimately jeopardize safety and result in costly delays, overruns, and ultimately repairs. It would be unfair to shortchange our constituents, who pay the highest toll in the nation to use this bridge, by neglecting superior American-made steel," their letter said.
MTA spokeswoman Judie Glave said the agency could not find an American company with the expertise to fabricate the steel bridge deck.
"Delaying the project to accommodate an American fabricator would slow it by up to two years and increase the cost by up to $100 million. However, the MTA wants to continue working with the domestic steel industry to develop American-made solutions for bridge projects of this scope and complexity," she said.