In an effort to streamline projects and minimize delays, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced passage of legislation to authorize joint bidding on contracts for private utility work as part of public works projects in New York City (A.10021). Silver said the legislation, modeled after highly successful measure he authored in the wake of 9-11 for lower Manhattan, will allow for the more timely and cost-effective completion of street repairs and boost revitalization efforts. The measure has also passed the Senate and will now be sent to the Governor's desk.
Public rights of way - such as roads and sidewalks- usually contain both publicly and privately owned utility services, water mains and sewers as well as energy and telecommunication lines. The preservation or movement of privately owned utilities is a common component of public works projects. Independent contract negotiations for work related to private utilities can result in significant project delays and increasing costs of public works projects.
"We have already seen the success of jointly bid contracts in aiding the revitalization and rebuilding of lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center," Speaker Silver said. "Now it is time to open up the same opportunities for the rest of the city. Jointly bid contracts will help speed up construction projects, which will cut down on the several inconveniences that these projects often cause for both the general public and for local businesses. In light of the many recent natural disasters that have caused significant damage to our great city, it is critical that we do everything we can to cut red tape and help our communities move forward in the recovery process."
"Every one of us knows firsthand the frustration and disruption that never-ending street repairs can cause in a neighborhood. When repairs drag on needlessly, they can hurt businesses and upend the lives of a whole community. We thank Speaker Silver and Senator Lanza for passing commonsense legislation that will help us speed repairs and save tax dollars by better coordinating all the utilities and crews involved in maintaining our streets. We look forward to the Governor signing this priority into law so we can better maintain our infrastructure while helping businesses and residents get back to normalcy much sooner."
To cut down on delays, joint bidding would allow the City to include private utility interference work as part of the competitive bid process, resulting in one contract award for all the renovation or installation work on the necessary utilities. This will allow the City to work flexibly with contractors and utilities to devise the most effective and timely approaches to completing public projects.
The legislation will also ensure that when New York City awards these joint contracts, both the contractors and subcontractors to have a record of maintaining positive labor relations, a commitment to working with minority-and women-owned businesses and a record of protecting the health of safety of workers on construction projects.
The value of joint bidding was recognized by the State Legislature in 2004, when both houses authorized the Coordinated Construction Act of Lower Manhattan in an effort to coordinate the rebuilding efforts and various projects in proximity to Ground Zero and the World Trade Center.