New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll was the featured speaker at a New York Building Congress Construction Industry Breakfast Forum, which also featured remarks from Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York.
Highlighting major infrastructure projects to the crowd of over 350 professionals from the design, construction, and real estate industry, Commissioner Driscoll called it an exciting time for New York City as well as the State as a whole.
He provided updates on several key initiatives, including Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $100 million infrastructure investment program, stating, “This plan will modernize the State’s public transportation systems — freight, rail and ports, airports and roads and bridges — to meet the needs of the new global economy and enhance New York’s position as the Empire State.”
These projects include a comprehensive redesign of LaGuardia Airport, expansion of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and transformation of Penn Station and the historic Farley Post Office.
Commissioner Driscoll also detailed the Governor’s budget proposal, which includes multiple projects to improve New York State’s bridges, roads, and infrastructure in the face of extreme weather conditions.
Additionally, he spoke about the State DOT’s work on the local level, where it is currently providing technical assistance, guidance, and oversight for $2.9 billion in locally administered, federally aided projects under construction in New York City.
Emphasizing the importance of alternative forms of project delivery, Commissioner Driscoll discussed the use of the design-build method and public private partnerships.
He praised the Building Congress for its support of innovative project delivery, telling the audience, “You have always been at the forefront of support for innovative project delivery, and you were instrumental in the passage of the 2011 Infrastructure Investment Act, which provided authorization for the DOT to utilize the design-build method.”
Since receiving authorization, he said the State has awarded 23 design-build contracts valued at a little over $1 billion, calling the results overwhelmingly positive.
Commissioner Driscoll provided an update on DOT projects currently underway in the City, which he said total about $1.8 billion.
These projects include: the building of the new Kosciuszko Bridge; rehabilitation of stretches of the Major Deegan Expressway; HOV-lane extensions on the Staten Island Expressway; safety improvements to the Gowanus Expressway; operational enhancements to the Kew Gardens Interchange; rehabilitation of bridge structures on the Cross Bronx Expressway; and replacement of concrete decks on the Bruckner Expressway.
The Commissioner also talked about plans for Long Island, including bridge replacements and reconstruction of roadways, as well as the Governor’s plan to build a tunnel connecting Long Island to Connecticut.
In closing, Commissioner Driscoll emphasized the DOT’s goal of streamlining processes to deliver projects faster and more efficiently, the Governor’s support of the Department and the use of design-build and public private partnerships, and his commitment to maintaining a partnership with the building community.
He stated, “The support of this Building Congress is essential, and I can’t say that enough, particularly in helping to demonstrate how strategic infrastructure investment really does spur economic growth and creates a true 21st century transportation network.”
During her remarks, Jessica Lappin described the opening of the Santiago Calatrava-designed World Trade Center Transportation Hub as an impressive feat of engineering and a testament to hard work and human spirit.