New York City Council members on Thursday chided Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration for what it called misalignment of planned capital commitments and agencies' ability to execute them.
An issue brief prepared by Councilman Brad Lander's office said 44% of capital projects were severely late and 42% were over budget.
"What we've seen is a lack of coordination among agencies, too little accountability in the delivery of projects, ineffective budgeting and planning, and outdated procurement policies," Lander, the council's deputy leader of policy, said at a council finance committee hearing at City Hall on de Blasio's proposed executive budget.
"The results? Outrageous cost overruns and absurdly long delays."
De Blasio's $84.9 billion executive budget is before the 51-member council, which must act on it by June 30. The 10-year capital strategy amounts to $95.85 billion.
Mayoral budget director Dean Fuleihan, speaking before the council, said the capital strategy "keeps infrastructure in a state of good repair, promotes health and safety, and expands access to education and opportunity."
Lander and several other council members announced a legislative package that would establish a task force to overhaul the project evaluation system, update procedures for assessing the adequacy of the city's infrastructure and improve transparency and reporting.
According to Lander, the council report builds on a study released last month by the think tank Center for an Urban Future and the watchdog Citizens Budget Commission.
The study, titled "Slow Build," focused in the city Department of Design and Construction's management of library and cultural projects, which CUF said average more than four years to complete at a median construction cost of $930 per square foot.
Distribution of capital commitments under de Blasio has changed notably since under predecessor Michael Bloomberg and reflects different priorities, said the watchdog Citizens Budget Commission.
"The city continues to invest heavily in roads and bridges, water and sewer infrastructure, and schools; however, the share of total commitments dedicated to these categories has changed under the de Blasio administration," CBC said in a commentary.
Whereas the 2014 strategy, the last one Bloomberg submitted, dedicated 37% of all commitments for education, the 2018 strategy reduces the amount to 22%. Similarly, investment in the water and sewer system declined from 23% to 19%.
"The decreases in shares devoted to schools and water and sewer infrastructure have been reallocated to housing and economic development, now accounting for 15% of all commitments, up from 6% in the 2014 strategy," said CBC.
"Shares dedicated to city equipment, parks and cultural institutions, public protection, and city hospitals also increased modestly."