Republican mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis and Democratic incumbent Bill de Blasio appear to have common ground on at least one issue — a proposed change to state law that would allow the city to streamline the process it uses to design and build projects.
Malliotakis, a state assemblywoman from Staten Island, speaking at a news conference in her home borough Thursday, outlined a series of proposals she said would save the city money and speed up long delayed infrastructure projects. The proposals are included in state legislation she co-sponsored this year, that failed to get approved by the legislature.
Under current law, the design phase and the construction phase of projects are contracted separately, which Malliotakis said had led to widespread delays and cost overruns that she argued could be prevented if contractors collaborated at the inception of a project.
“Current state law mandates a less efficient approach,” Malliotakis said.
To highlight the waste, she held her news conference in front of a proposed new city animal shelter that has yet to be completed five years after officials broke ground on the project. The new shelter was initially slated to cost $3.1 million, but has since increased to $8.2 million, Malliotakis said.
“It boggles the imagination that in a city with some of the most talented people in the construction industry, that a project as small as the Animal Care Center of New York cannot be completed on time and on budget,” Malliotakis said.
Ian Michaels, spokesman for the city’s Department of Design and Construction, said the agency “has worked closely with the contractor to help it overcome financial difficulties so the project can be completed as soon as possible without the need for additional legal action.”
De Blasio, has also previously voiced support of the so-called design/build model. In June, he called on state lawmakers to give the city authority to use the streamlined process on seven major infrastructure projects, including repairs on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
“Design build authority would save us time and money, which means our roadways would open sooner, emergency room wait times would decrease and the NYPD could begin training at their new facility,” de Blasio said at the time.