NYC watches as design-build successes grow everywhere else

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the opening of the opening of the first span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Queens with an inaugural ride across the bridge in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1932 Packard. The celebration continues with a light show and music tonight.


The Kosciuszko is just the latest in a growing number of design-build success stories in New York.  In fact, all three of the bridges profiled in this terrific New York Times story are design-build.

“New York, the city of perpetual arrival, is getting three new gateways: diaphanous cable-stayed bridges that look almost too ethereal to bear the load of thousands of vehicles and people each day. They are already transforming the skyline. With luck, they may even improve the drive.”

But as DBIA Executive Director/CEO, Lisa Washington, describes in her editorial published today in Crain’s Business – New York City is still waiting for the authority to use design-build as its legislation languishes in legislative committee.  Here is an excerpt from Lisa’s Crain’s piece…you can see her full comments here.

“New York state officials are celebrating their latest design-build success with today’s grand opening of the Kosciuszko Bridge. However, just a few miles away, their counterparts at City Hall are watching their opportunity to achieve design-build’s cost and time savings languish in the Legislature.

Design-build combines the bidding for the design and construction of a project, allowing firms to work together for maximum efficiency. A broad coalition of watchdog organizations, trade groups and industry leaders celebrated the Assembly’s extension of design-build authority earlier this month for all state agencies that currently have it. Lawmakers also expanded design-build to include eight new projects in four additional agencies. However, Albany has once again left New York City out in the cold. With less than two months remaining in the session, legislation allowing the city to use design-build (as the state has since 2011) is stuck in committee.

City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg says gaining design-build authority is her top legislative priority and could save the city $2 billion over 10 years. Yet, despite broad and bipartisan support, the city of New York is still not allowed to capture the innovative and collaborative efficiencies design-build has delivered elsewhere in the state. While New York still lags behind many other states by allowing only limited and temporary design-build authority, that authority has already delivered impressive successes. The city should be given the same opportunity.

Clearly design-build works for New York state. Residents and taxpayers in New York City are just as eager to improve their community and efficiently spend their limited infrastructure dollars. Yet, unless the Assembly acts, the city will once again have to watch from the sidelines as successful design-build projects all around it deliver increased innovation and efficiencies inexplicably denied to city residents.”