By Maggie Astor
The State Assembly voted Wednesday in favor of new bidding rules that will hasten the construction of a third water tunnel in Manhattan; the State Senate voted similarly last month.
The bill, officially called S8361, authorizes the city to sell property without the usual competitive bidding process if the property cannot be individually developed due to zoning rules. According to State Senate materials, this would only be allowed “in the limited circumstances where the property cannot be independently developed due to its size, shape, configuration, topography or applicable zoning or a combination of such factors.” The rationale is that since these properties “are not appropriate for sale through the public auction or competitive bidding processes that would be required under existing law,” it would be a waste of time and resources for the city to hold a public auction before selling directly.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the passage of the bill, saying in a statement after the vote, “By enabling the City to bid out the project’s construction work and utility street work together — giving the City control over the entire scope of work — we can simplify and streamline one piece of an immensely complex project.” He added that the legislation is expected to “shave years off of the construction timeline for the Manhattan leg of the tunnel.”
The Building and Construction Trades Council and the General Contractors Association were among the bill’s supporters.
“We look forward to seeing Governor Paterson sign this bill into law and getting the contracts out to bid — and people to work — so we can continue to move the water tunnel project forward,” Bloomberg said.