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DOT outlines $20B transportation program.

The New York State Department of Transportation is determined to move ahead on Liberty Boulevard, the successor to Westway on Manhattan's West Side, and as part of the improvement plan it presently intends to use the Hudson River waterfront area from Chelsea to Pier 40 as a park, DOT Commissioner John C. Egan reported at a recent Construction Industry Forum co-sponsored by the New York Building Congress.

The forum drew more than 150 construction contractors and architects, who heard Commissioner Egan explain that 60 percent of the funding for Liberty Boulevard is available now, and that he believes this is enough to start the project.

In addition, the Commissioner said he has suggested that a bridge be built over the Harlem River to alleviate Yankee Stadium traffic congestion and encourage the Yankees to stay in The Bronx.

Highlighting DOT's overall accomplishments, Egan said the state agency currently is implementing $3.2 billion of construction work, and he told the Building Congress members that this is the first time DOT's ongoing capital program has exceeded $3 billion. The money has been invested in 700 projects.

Responding to a question by Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson, Commissioner Egan explained that DOT's $3.2 billion of work-in-progress is part of a $20 billion, four-year transportation program that includes capital improvements for 1,100 state and local bridges and 11,000 miles of highway. The program, he said, was agreed to by Governor Cuomo and the legislature.

Continuing, Egan said that DOT's capital program will rise steadily over the next two years, and he explained that the agency expects to invest $1.45 billion in capital improvements next year and then $1.55 billion the year after. He said he was grateful to the construction industry for its support, and he described the industry as "our partners in progress in this effort."

Subsequently, Anderson noted that he was going to testify before DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration in favor of another capital plan, the Airport Access Program of the Port Authority of NY & NJ, a $2 billion light rail system linking LaGuardia and Kennedy airports with the region's transportation network. He asked Building Congress members to contact the DOT and FAA and report their support for the project.

Building Congress Chairman John Hennessy introduced Egan and noted that the commissioner is responsible for administering $10.7 billion of highway, capital construction and local assistance programs.

Egan, observing that the high volume of DOT capital construction under way and planned should be good news to the construction contractors, said he wants to encourage their participation in DOT programs by removing several practices they have identified as impediments to undertaking DOT jobs. He explained that DOT is working with contractors on such issues as using bid bonds instead of cash or certified checks with bid packages, allowing contractors to transport cranes on at least part of a day before a holiday, expediting payments so that contractors are compensated quicker based on completion of a smaller percentage of work, and setting reasonable goals regarding MBE/WBE contracts and then seeing that the goals are met.
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Title Annotation:New York State Department of Transportation
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 10, 1994
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