Volume 17 • Issue 12 / August 13 - 19, 2004

Act encourages faster rebuilding, minority hiring, cleaner emissions

By Lincoln Anderson

On Tuesday, Governor George Pataki signed into law legislation to establish the Coordinated Construction Act for Lower Manhattan. The comprehensive legislation will help the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan by encouraging the procurement of high-quality work in the most time-conscious manner while also promoting fairness, cost efficiency and cleaner air.

The legislation is part of an effort on behalf of the state and city to increase participation of women- and minority-owned businesses in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan and the coordination of public projects Downtown by way of creating a Construction Command Center.

“As we move our Lower Manhattan redevelopment plans from paper to steel, it has never been more important than now to provide for the fast, fair and safe means of developing public projects,” Pataki said. “In the next few years we will have numerous construction projects underway, including the world’s tallest building, a 21st-century transportation hub at the World Trade Center site and Fulton St. and a memorial to remember and honor those we lost.

“All of these projects will require tremendous cooperation and coordination among the rebuilding agencies and private developers; all of whom have spent the last two years meeting to coordinate the logistics, while assisting in the development of the soon-to-be-created Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center,” Pataki said.

Among the act’s provisions, it allows public agencies to pre-qualify bidders, in order to increase speed and quality; allows the city and utility and telecommunications companies to bid together on infrastructure projects, reducing the need to rip up streets repeatedly; requires the use of contractors with state-certified apprenticeship programs on large projects, increasing safety on the worksite and minority access to construction jobs; requires the city to follow the state’s laws on the hiring of minority- and women-owned businesses; and requires all public agencies to use ultra-low-diesel fuel for construction vehicles.

The Construction Command Center will work to insure that construction conflicts do not bog down the rebuilding effort, while attempting to minimize the impact of construction on residents, businesses, workers and commuters. The Command Center is intended to serve as a one-stop shop for information and advisories on construction activities, traffic rerouting and other issues. The governor and mayor will appoint a Command Center director.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “To minimize the frequent ripping up of streets and traffic disruptions, this law will now bring a more common-sense and coordinated approach to the long-awaited reconstruction of Lower Manhattan. It also implements the clean air measure I have advocated for since 9/11, which will require the construction equipment being used to rebuild Lower Manhattan be powered by low-sulfur fuel.”

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