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Construction & Design

City earmarks $8 billion for infrastructure

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is slated to receive substantially more funding in the City’s 2016 Executive Budget than last year.

A New York Building Congress analysis of the capital budget shows the DOT commitment plan for FY 2015-2019 totaling $8.2 billion, which is $1.5 billion, or 23%, more than the FY 2014-2018 plan.

The full increase is funded by the City, while non-City (primarily State and Federal) funding is actually forecast to decline by $278 million compared to last year’s plan.

The DOT capital plan is presented in six categories, or project areas: Highway Bridges; Waterway Bridges; Highways; Ferries; Traffic Operations; and Equipment.

The largest part of the DOT capital program, Highway Bridges receive $3.2 billion in new commitments over the five-year plan period, a 19% increase from a year ago.

Funding for improving structures rated “fair” or “good” is set to rise substantially, notably with the inclusion of $357 million for reconstruction of the Shore Road Bridge in Brooklyn and $521 million for design and reconstruction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Triple Cantilever Bridge. Construction on the Triple Cantilever will continue through 2022 and cost $1.7 billion in all.

Other major bridge projects scheduled for the plan period include:

  • Mill Basin Bridge over the Belt Parkway: $88 million for this project is expected to be committed in FY 2016 and 2017;
  • Unionport Road Bridge in the Bronx will receive $184 million in commitments in FYs 2016/17; and
  • Broadway Bridge, $99.4 million, also in FYs 2016/17.

DOT also forecasts committing $118 million for the Roosevelt Avenue Bridge over the Van Wyck Expressway in FYs 2015 and 2016, although this project has been delayed several times.

Commitments to improve the City’s Waterway Bridges are pegged at $812 million over five years, a 102% increase over last year’s budget. The plan includes $60 million for a hazard mitigation project on the Williamsburg Bridge, beginning in FY 2016. Major work will continue on the Brooklyn Bridge, which receives an additional $300 million for rehabilitation of the Bridge approach.

Highway projects are the second-largest piece of the DOT budget, with more than $3 billion in commitments over five years. The plan includes funding for road resurfacing of 752 lane-miles per year starting in 2016, and full reconstruction of 407 lane-miles over ten years.

The plan also includes:

  • $357.5 million for sidewalk construction and reconstruction, $140 million over last year’s plan;
  • $100 million for reconstruction of Queens Boulevard;
  • $64.9 million to implement “Vision Zero Great Streets” in FY 2018; and
  • $16.7 million for a Utica Ave Bus Priority lane, $22.5 million for Select Bus Service on Woodhaven        Boulevard, and •$89.4 million for other bus rapid transit projects to be determined.

The plan eliminates $54 million for improvements to the Van Wyck Expressway in the Willets Point area, although $7 million remains in FY 2019 for design work for the project. This project was intended as a key vehicle access alternative for the City’s Willets Point redevelopment project.

Historically, not all forecast commitments are actually completed in the year in which they initially appear in the budget, noted NYBC.

In the last four years (2011 through 2014), actual commitments for Highways and Bridges averaged 61% of budgeted commitments included in the Executive Budget.

The unusually high level of commitments proposed in this year’s budget is similarly unlikely to be fully realized. Applying the same rate of commitments as the last four years, DOT’s Bridges and Highways programs should see $844 million in realized commitments this year, the highest figure of the prior four years, and actually exceeding DOT’s target of $839 million.

“The City has proposed a robust and aggressive capital plan that addresses key transportation improvements. The DOT, along with other City agencies that support its capital program, will have to work to streamline administration to ensure this program is efficiently implemented,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson

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