Reply – Re: Four Teams Short-Listed for $5-Billion Tappan Zee Bridge Rebuild
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Re: Four Teams Short-Listed for $5-Billion Tappan Zee Bridge Rebuild
— by Ted Ted
P3s, Maintenance In the Future for NYC Area, Transpo Leaders Say
 Aileen Cho
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Alternative project delivery methods, including public-private partnerships (P3s), may well play an increasing role in New York City-area megaprojects. Officials are exploring the possibility of private sector involvement in a range of upcoming ventures including the $3.6-billion LaGuardia Airport central terminal revamp, the extensions of the Hudson-Bergen and Camden light rail lines in New Jersey, and the $1-billion Goethals Bridge rehabilitation.

“We are exploring the possibility of P3s to complement our capital program, and we welcome your ideas,” said James Weinstein, executive director of New Jersey Transit. He spoke at a July 25 forum hosted by Professional Women In Construction and put together by aviation consultant William Fife.

Noting that four prequalified teams are preparing to submit design-build proposals for the $5-billion Tappan Zee Bridge July 27, Joan McDonald, New York State Dept. of Transportation Commissioner, told the audience that “we know there is some design-build fatigue” but said that the planned $500 million rehabilitation of the Kosciuszko Bridge will be design-build, with Requests for Qualifications to go out when the design is at 40%.

Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, said that a Request For Information solicitation has received 15 responses from teams interested in the LaGuardia airport terminal project, which will seek $2.4 billion in private funding. The authority will do the same when it embarks on a revamp of Terminal A at Newark airport as well, he added.

As did all the panelists, he reassured the largely MBE/WBE audience that no matter what the project format, “our commitment to MWBE participation is 18-20% annually, and that stays the same.” He noted that work at the World Trade Center site alone generated $1 billion in five years for minority- and women-owned firms.

The Goethals Bridge project has $500 million from the Transportation Infrastructure in Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and has prequalified three teams to pursue a 35-year concession to finance, build and maintain the bridge.

But megaprojects aside, all agencies emphasized that their focus was on maintaining a state of good repair for existing facilities. The port authority’s $25-billion 10-year capital plan reflects its return to its “core mission” of transportation facilities, rather than on “real estate” at Ground Zero, Foye said.

Weinstein noted that New Jersey Transit’s $1.2-billion capital program includes “procuring a number of 2- to 3-year on-call contracts” and helping Amtrak maintaining a 100-year-old Northeast Corridor. “New Jersey Transit is the heaviest user of the Northeast Corridor,” he pointed out. “Eighty percent of our quarter-million daily trips touch the Northeast Corridor.”

Thanks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) NY Works Initiative, the NYSDOT’s $1.6-billion core capital program is now supplemented by $1.2 billion through FY 2014 to advance signature transportation projects, accelerate projects to preserve more than 2,000 lane-miles of roads and accelerate rehabilitation of 100 bridge decks, said McDonald. So far 24 of 42 planned related contracts have been awarded, she added.

“The truth is that megaprojects should not be the focus,” said Hilary Ring, senior director of capital programs for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Two of the MTA’s four ongoing megaprojects are nearing completion—the $1-billion Fulton Street Transit Center and the  $2-billion No. 7 line subway extension. Major tunneling has also been completed on the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access projects.  The megaprojects account for only one-quarter of the work to come, said Ring. “We have 20 contracts coming up worth about $50 million or so, and lots of smaller ones too,” he said.

New Jersey Transit;
 New York State Dept. of Transportation;
 New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority;
 Port Authority of New York & New Jersey;
 Professional Women in Construction