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New York City to keep pushing for new method to build public projects
June 22, 2017 / 9:42 PM / 6 months ago

New York City to keep pushing for new method to build public projects

NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) - New York City officials said on Thursday they will keep lobbying for the right to use a new procurement method to build big public infrastructure projects faster and cheaper after the state legislature failed to authorize it.

“We will continue to advocate for passage of this legislation until it becomes law,” the city’s Department of Transportation said in a statement.

The state Senate ended its session late on Wednesday without voting on a bill that would have allowed the city to immediately start using the so-called “design-build” delivery method for eight big projects. One of the projects is the complicated $1.9 billion renovation of an old, triple-level expressway that passes through the borough of Brooklyn.

When asked about the status of that project following the failure of the bill, a city transportation said in an email that “there is an urgency to getting approval in order to know how to proceed.”

On Tuesday, the state Assembly, or lower house of the legislature, had passed the legislation by a vote of 121 to 21.

While most major U.S. cities and states - including New York state - can use design-build to deliver infrastructure projects, the largest U.S. city cannot.

Under current law, New York City relies on traditional design-bid-build contracts. Critics say this method is more time consuming and expensive because it involves more than one contract with parties who do not communicate with each other from the very beginning of the process.

Not all assembly members supported the bill because it required project labor agreements, which are contracts with organized labor unions.

Those agreements have prompted opposition from general contractors, said Assemblyman Andy Goodell, a Republican whose district lies in western New York and who voted against the bill.

Minority-owned firms, which are mostly non-union shops, have also been largely excluded under such agreements, he said.

“I‘m very concerned that we inadvertently exclude all these potential bidders by this bill,” he said. (Reporting by Hilary Russ; editing by Daniel Bases and Tom Brown)

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