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NYC Plans Ambitious Capital Spending Strategy

June 18, 2017 
By Stephanie West

New York, NY - The unprecedented $58 billion five-year capital spending plan represents a significant acceleration of infrastructure construction.

 If accomplished, it would be the most capital spending of at least the last 35 years. The largest year-to-year increase in spending by the City was roughly $1 billion per year for two years, when capital spending reached $10.3 billion in 2010.

To meet spending targets, the City’s capital construction and oversight agencies will be asked to deliver 20 to 50 percent more projects on time and on budget.  The increased demands on these entities and their staffs will test their ability to work quickly and collaboratively over a sustained period. The strength of the City’s longer-term construction pipeline can be measured by its proposed commitments. Included in the Commitment Plan, for example, is $2.2 billion for the City’s Department of Transportation budget to repair the Brooklyn Queens Expressway “triple cantilever” section.  This is a massive project, whose cost assumptions are based on the City’s ability to employ the design-build construction method.  Currently, the City is not authorized to use design-build and is seeking approval from the State legislature in order to begin procuring the work this year.

The City has also issued its Ten-Year Capital Plan – proposing $96 billion in commitments over 10 years, more than any previous 10-Year strategy. The plan focuses largely on several key priority areas: The School Construction Authority - $20.5 billion;  Water and sewer infrastructure - $18.1 billion; and Housing, a major priority for the Mayor - $13.6 billion.

Despite the large scope of the City’s Ten-Year Strategy, two priority transportation objectives are not included: The plan notes that it intends to fully fund the City’s $2.3 billion commitment to the MTA’s 2015-2019 capital program, but no commitments appear in its budget documents.  The City’s BQX light rail project linking the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts remains un-funded.

“This is an ambitious capital budget that shows the de Blasio Administration is laser focused on building and maintaining core infrastructure,” said Building Congress President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura.

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