DECEMBER 3, 2015
Chairman Gantt, members of the Assembly Standing Committee on Transportation, thank you
for this opportunity to discuss the New York State Department of Transportation’s
(NYSDOT) Capital program.
The Department is currently delivering capital projects within the framework of a two-year
$7.5 billion capital program established as part of the current budget. The enacted Budget
makes new State investments to improve the transportation system, enhance the system’s
resiliency, create jobs, and deliver unparalleled operating aid for transit systems. The current
year’s budget includes more than $3.5 billion in new capital program funding. Of that amount,
more than $2.5 billion in new funding is provided to support the Department’s highway and
bridge program. Building upon the Governor’s support for sustained investment in roads and
bridges, DOT’s budget utilizes the first $150 million of a new $750 million five-year bridge
initiative. This initiative strategically accelerates the rehabilitation, reconstruction or
replacement of more than 100 bridges statewide serving critical freight; agriculture and
commerce corridors.
To address the needs of local governments, the Budget also provides significant State
assistance for municipalities to address the repair and rehabilitation of locally-owned roads
and bridges. This support includes $438 million in additional funding for local highway and
bridge projects under the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS); $50 million
Extreme Winter Recovery Funding to mitigate the impacts of the harsh winter and its effects
on local roads; $39.7 million for the local matching share of federally-aided projects under the
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Marchiselli program; and more than $4.9 billion to support the operation of municipally
sponsored transit services from Suffolk to Erie Counties.
I am personally committed to enhancing the partnership and collaboration that the
Department currently experiences with local governments. As a former Mayor, I recognize
that local roads and bridges matter! The repair and rehabilitation of existing transportation
infrastructure are required not only for safety and mobility, but for every region of the state
to remain economically competitive. By working cooperatively, investments in transportation
infrastructure will facilitate economic growth; leverage private investment; and create new
jobs in our communities.
To ensure that adequate resources are available to maintain locally-owned transportation
infrastructure, DOT will continue to advocate for increased federal investment for all roads
and bridges, regardless of ownership or functional classification. I am particularly pleased that
the Conference Report for the federal surface transportation authorization bill includes
language proposed by the Department to restore funding eligibility for local bridges under the
Act’s largest single funding program; eligibility that had been significantly curtailed in 2012.
Since coming to DOT in July, I have also been meeting with Town and County Highway
Superintendents across the State. I have heard their concerns regarding the Department’s
commitment to funding local projects. I am personally committed to taking a fresh look at the
issue and implementing corrective actions as appropriate as well as reimagining the
Department so that it serves as a resource to support local governments. Through
enhanced training, technical assistance and deployment of innovative technologies, DOT will
better assist municipalities’ address their infrastructure needs.
During the budget negotiation process, the Department submitted to the Legislature a five-year $18
billion capital plan proposal for consideration. Ultimately, given the uncertainty of federal transportation
aid, it was agreed to move forward with an interim two-year program. I welcome the opportunity to
discuss the benefits of additional investment in transportation infrastructure by all levels of government.
The Governor has alluded to augmenting the funding levels for DOT’s capital program as part of the final
agreement on addressing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) capital needs. Discussions
on funding for roads and bridges are on-going. Any additional funding impacting the State’s highway and
bridge program, however, will need to adhere to Governor Cuomo's continued commitment to fiscal
responsibility. In the interim, NYSDOT will continue to implement programs and projects in the most
effective manner at whatever funding level is established.
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This past Tuesday (December 1, 2015), House and Senate negotiators released the text of the
Conference Report for the five-year Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
FAST is the first long-term transportation bill enacted by Congress in more than a decade.
In addition to providing a stable planning horizon, FAST provides approximately $300 billion
nationwide in highway, transit, highway safety and rail program funding authorizations. This
generally equates to flat funding levels adjusted for inflation. The bill also creates a new
National Highway Freight program that is distributed to the States by formula and establishes
a new discretionary program for Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects. My staff
and I are reviewing the text of the bill to assess the implications for New York State. I would
like to personally thank New York’s conferees on the bill: Senator Charles Schumer;
Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Congressman Richard Hanna for ensuring that our State’s
share of federal funding was not eroded.
The enacted budget extended the Department’s authority to utilize design-build and other
innovative procurement methods for two additional years. Since being signed into law in 2011,
NYSDOT has awarded 22 Design-Build contracts valued at approximately $1.1 billion,
including the Department’s largest ever single contract, the $550 million Kosciuszko Bridge.
Project activities have included more than 34 bridge replacements; 38 bridge deck and
superstructure replacements; highway rehabilitations and interchange ramp reconstructions;
track rehabilitation and one rail station replacement. Design-build is not intended to replace,
but rather complement the traditional design-bid-build process used by the Department to
deliver the vast majority of capital projects. Without question, however, design-build is a
valuable tool in our toolbox that has enabled the Department to accelerate the delivery of
projects that would not have been advanced otherwise. The cumulative cost savings is
estimated at approximately $85 million (8 percent). The real savings is in delivering projects
sooner and reducing the inconvenience to the traveling public. Design-build has saved an
estimated 516 months or 43 years compared to the traditional Design-Bid-Build Process.
These projects are underway throughout the State, and the results are overwhelmingly
positive: projects are being delivered sooner; with cost certainty; and jobs are being created.
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DOT understands the importance and value of minority and women-owned business
enterprises (MWBE) to the State of New York and the continued growth of New York’s
economy. Accordingly, DOT continues to emphasize the need to not only meet MWBE goals
but also to exceed those goals when possible. As a result of our efforts, MWBE commitments
on 100% State funded contracts have remained consistent at about 17%. Moving forward, the
Department has an aggressive process in place to help contractors in their efforts to increase
MWBE participation on 100% State funded contracts and to achieve the new 30 percent goal.
This includes: ensuring that MWBE goals are properly established for DOT contracts;
reviewing all State funded contracts to ensure appropriate and available MWBEs have been
solicited by the low bidder and provided the opportunity to participate; providing certification
orientation and training guidance to better prepare MWBEs for Department projects, and by
working with our industry partners to achieve success.
Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the Department is committed to enhancing the safety
and functionality of the transportation system; increasing mobility alternatives for all
individuals; and to facilitating economic development and job creation across New York State.
In the coming year, I look forward to working with you personally on identifying the resources
necessary to achieving these common goals.
Thank you.
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