Mayor Adams Announces Comprehensive Effort To Overhaul Capital Process, Reducing Red Tape and Ensuring Faster and Cheaper Project Delivery
Oct 13, 2022 - 04:02 AM
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced a comprehensive effort to reform the capital process, including the initial recommendations of the Capital Process Reform Task Force and the release of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Blueprint 2022.
“There is a covenant between government and the people of our city: New Yorkers pay taxes and they expect that the city delivers for them. For too long, however, our city has failed to deliver,” said Mayor Adams. “The capital process may seem abstract — but it makes a difference for the elderly person who needs that senior center, the kid who needs the library to access the internet, the essential workers who need well-functioning facilities, and millions more across our city. DDC Blueprint 2022 shows we can achieve excellence in project delivery, and the talented group of stakeholders on our task force will ensure that we take it to the next level.”
The Capital Process Reform Task Force — convened in April 2022 — is undertaking a comprehensive review of the city’s capital process with the goal of developing recommendations to reform capital project delivery. The task force brings together a group of individuals with different expertise in the capital process, including construction contractors, design professionals, labor leaders, and city agencies, including DDC, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA), the New York City Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the New York City Law Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS), as well as the New York City Comptroller’s Office.
The task force’s initial recommendations span several areas of the capital process, including improving the project pipeline, streamlining approvals, managing projects more effectively, reforming procurement, and growing the number of New Yorkers who can participate. The task force’s comprehensive citywide review has benefitted from an examination of many successful DDC initiatives, which, in certain instances, made sense to extend to other city agencies. Many of DDC’s accomplishments are highlighted in Blueprint 2022, which illustrates successful projects, streamlined processes that have made management of those projects more effective, and strategic initiatives to improve the capital construction process.
Through the release of Blueprint 2022 and the initial set of recommendations from the Capital Reform Task Force, the Adams administration is signaling its commitment to making government work better for New Yorkers, including prudent stewardship of taxpayer dollars in delivering world-class public facilities and critical infrastructure.
“The public capital construction process should exemplify what government can do for everyday New Yorkers,” said First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo. “Under Mayor Adams’ leadership, we are focused on ways to improve the construction of public buildings and infrastructure in the City of New York, and I am grateful to the industry leaders who agreed to lend their time and expertise to the effort.”
“New Yorkers deserve a capital delivery program that provides excellent public works delivered on-time, on-budget, and encourages broad participation,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “The mayor’s task force is working to scale the successes detailed in Blueprint 2022, improve internal processes, and cut duplicative red tape to deliver better projects with fewer disruptions. I applaud DDC on their building successes under the COVID emergency and appreciate the dedication of our industry partners to meet this moment for reform.”
“New York City’s future rests — literally, and too often, creakily — on our infrastructure. So we can’t allow decade-late sewer and bridge repair or multi-million dollar bathrooms to be the norm,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “Improving the city’s ability to deliver capital projects on-time and on-budget is essential for an inclusive economic recovery, for public health and safety and mobility, and especially, as the ten-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy reminds us, for a resilient future in the face of climate change. That’s why I’ve been fighting for many of these reforms for a decade. Thanks to Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Grillo for making capital projects reform a real priority, and for doing it with a spirit of collaboration. It will take all hands to more efficiently build the future of our city.”
“DDC has shown repeatedly that it can build quickly and efficiently under emergency conditions when the city’s outdated contracting rules are fixed to focus on ‘Getting Stuff Done’ fast,” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley, P.E. “We did it after Hurricane Sandy, we did it during the pandemic, and we’re doing it again right now to improve conditions for asylum seekers and for detainees and guards in our jails. DDC has an amazing team, which continues to find ways to wring improvements out of our current system, but, ultimately, they need the tools that everyone else uses to complete construction projects successfully. We are treating each and every day as an emergency and our team deserves modern delivery techniques to get things done.”
“The arduous work of capital project delivery requires innovative solutions. In convening this task force, Mayor Adams and First Deputy Mayor Grillo have rolled out the welcome mat for the best ideas on reforming a complex capital process from an accomplished and diverse group of industry leaders,” said Sherif Soliman, director, Mayor’s Office of Policy and Planning. “I am thrilled to work with these esteemed leaders to create real change that will benefit New York City’s communities.”
“Our city’s built environment is ever evolving, which means our public capital project process should be evolving along with it,” said MOCS Director Lisa M. Flores. “Under the leadership of Mayor Adams, we recognized the need to bring together a set of diverse perspectives to produce a new and sustainable vision for the future. The Capital Process Reform Task Force has been successful in laying the groundwork for change. It has allowed us to dig into the details and identify pain points for all parties, which we can now translate into a solution agenda to meet the infrastructure needs of our city.”
“Reforming the city’s capital process is long overdue, and we appreciate that Mayor Adams understands its importance and is leading this unprecedented effort,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “We are proud to work with this administration, our colleagues, and industry experts to help make the city’s capital process more efficient.”
“In order to make New York City resilient to climate change we must be able to select, design, procure, and implement capital projects faster than we do now,” said Chief Climate Officer and DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “Speeding up the delivery of critical capital projects is taking action on climate change, and I thank the members of the task force and our partners in government for their commitment to this existential work.”
The Capital Process Reform Task Force members are:
- Michael A. Capasso, CEO and president, C.A.C. Industries, Inc.
- Ali Chaudhry, senior vice president and chief of development and government relations, AECOM
- Louis Coletti, president and CEO, Building Trades Employers’ Association
- Raquel Diaz, public sector area manager, Gilbane Building Company
- Reverend Jacques Andre DeGraff, chair, MBE Leadership Summit
- John T. Evers, president and CEO, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
- Alaina Gilligo, head of strategic partnerships, Gilbane Building Company
- Shari C. Hyman, vice president for public affairs, Turner Construction Company
- Gary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
- Sam Padilla, president, Padilla Construction Services, Inc.
- Taylor Palmer, government relations manager, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
- Nayan Parikh, president, New York Tri-State Chapter of National Association of Minority Contractors
- Benjamin Prosky, executive director, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and The Center for Architecture
- Arthur Rubinstein, president, Skyline Steel Corp., and chair, Subcontractors Trade Association Legislative Committee
- Gus Sanoulis, vice president of construction, Con Edison
- Dan Sawh, owner and president, Haydan Consultants Inc.
- Dan Symon, associate partner, Gartner; former director, MOCS
- Robert G. Wessels, executive director, The General Contractors Association of New York
“I am honored to serve the city of New York on the Capital Reform Task Force, utilizing my 28 years of experience working on New York City public works and as a lifelong resident of New York City,” said Michael A. Capasso, CEO and president, C.A.C. Industries, Inc.
“It is an honor for AECOM to be a part of these efforts, and extend our support in fostering a collaborative, efficient, and effective environment to build back New York stronger than ever,” said Ali Chaudhry, senior vice president and chief of development and government relations, AECOM. “Thank you, Mayor Adams, for your leadership and commitment to innovation and reform that truly works in the best interest of New York, in partnership with the industry that is the backbone of our continued prosperity.”
“These recommendations will be the foundation for reducing costs for city projects, expediting the construction of city projects and the jobs and tax revenue these projects will create for New Yorkers,” said Louis Coletti, president and CEO, Building Trades Employers’ Association.
“The Capital Process Reform Task Force represents a unique opportunity for our city to seize the future. As the building industry continues to cut costs and streamline the timeline, we will open the door to creating jobs for New Yorkers and expanding the middle class. This is a moment for a once-in-a-generation revolution,” said Reverend Jacques Andre DeGraff, chair, MBE Leadership Summit.
“We commend Mayor Adams and First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo’s efforts to improve the agency procurement process in New York City,” said John T. Evers, president and CEO, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York. “By engaging the engineering and design community in these crucial discussions, Mayor Adams is showing he values the input of design professionals and the critical role they occupy in the procurement process. ACEC New York looks forward to continuing our work on the Task Force and continuing the engineering community’s strong partnership with the administration to promote design excellence and efficiency in the building and infrastructure sector.”
“We have been honored to work closely with city leaders in an effort to make the city’s capital process more efficient, cost-effective, and inclusive,” said Raquel Diaz, public sector area manager; and Alaina Gilligo, head of strategic partnerships, Gilbane Building Company. “We applaud Mayor Adams, First Deputy Mayor Grillo and their team for gathering all stakeholders around the table to press for reforms that will move the city forward more swiftly while deepening its commitment to economic growth, opportunity, and diversity.”
“To benefit all New Yorkers, reforms to the city’s capital processes are critical to the success of future construction projects,” said Shari C. Hyman, vice president for public affairs, Turner Construction Company. “This Task Force reflects the Adams administration’s commitment to leveraging the experiences of the private sector to help shape the agenda, and Turner Construction greatly appreciates the opportunity to participate in this important effort.”
“Mayor Adams and his administration are laser focused on bringing New York City back from the pandemic and the convening of the Capital Process Reform Task Force is an important step in that process,” said Gary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “Working together we can offer the city expert recommendations on how to build smarter and faster, while also creating opportunities for family-sustaining careers with benefits for New Yorkers.”
“The evolving post-pandemic economy and its impact on New York businesses and city deliverables remains unknown,” said Sam Padilla, president, Padilla Construction Services, Inc. “The mayor’s capital process reform is a proactive measure that will address some of the uncertainty by involving New York business owners, professionals, labor leaders, and city agencies. All of which have ‘hands on’ knowledge of the existing capital process, its impact on our businesses and the city’s budget and what can be done to improve it. This reform will be to the overall benefit of all New Yorkers.”
“NAMC’s initiatives shine a light on barriers to inclusive procurement,” said Nayan Parikh, president, New York Tri-State Chapter of National Association of Minority Contractors. “We celebrate the Task Force’s goal of enhanced participation and inclusion in the city’s capital process and offer our members’ knowledge and experience in support of helping the Task Force meet its goals, therefore ensuring the success of the M/WBE community.”
“It is an honor to serve on this rigorous task force focused on establishing better processes to attract a broader pool of talent to design and deliver New York City’s much-needed public buildings and infrastructure,” said Benjamin Prosky, executive director, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and The Center for Architecture. “Throughout this process, there has been an extraordinary confluence of leadership, from agency staff and commissioners to private-sector volunteers, who have questioned outdated procedures and envisioned new policy directions that will ultimately lead to more cost-effective, better designed, and more inclusive projects for all New Yorkers.”
“Thank you to the Adams Administration for undertaking the Capital Process Reform Task Force, an initiative which will benefit all New Yorkers,” said Arthur Rubinstein, president, Skyline Steel Corp., and chair, Subcontractors Trade Association Legislative Committee.
“Con Edison is proud to be a part of the Capital Reform process discussion and we look forward to contributing towards its success,” said Gus Sanoulis, vice president of construction, Con Edison. “We thank Mayor Adams for the opportunity to participate in this important Task Force.”
“Our Task Force team of public servants and private sector leaders have worked diligently and cohesively to ensure that our city will continue to be competitive and a world leader,” said Dan Sawh, owner and president, Haydan Consultants Inc. “The outcomes of this Task Force will be positively felt by New York City residents for years to come as we build for the present and future in a timely, cost effective, accountable, and equitable way.”
“The Capital Reform Task Force is another indication that the Adams administration takes the tactical operations of government seriously and values the collaboration and partnership of a diverse set of stakeholders,” said Dan Symon, associate partner, Gartner; and former director, MOCS. “Deputy Mayor Grillo, Deputy Mayor Joshi, their teams, and our city agency leadership all deserve praise for their practical efforts to take these longstanding, functional issues with the capital process head on.”
“The formation of this task force is a much-welcomed strategic action by the mayor that will permit a comprehensive review of how capital projects are reviewed, processed, and left to ensure New York is able to meet the needs of a 21st-century city,” said Robert G. Wessels, executive director, The General Contractors Association of New York. “It comes at a time when every tax dollar needs to go farther, and every public contract has the means to strengthen our city’s economy.”
“As the chairman of the State Senate’s Cities1 Committee I applaud the Adams administration’s efforts to cut red tape and save taxpayer dollars in the city’s capital process and the funding of its myriad of construction projects,” said New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda, chair, Committee on Cities 1. “By convening the Capital Projects Reform Task Force Mayor Adams has taken a positive proactive posture to safeguard taxpayer dollars, reduce project completion time and enhance participation and inclusion in the city’s capacity to meet its emerging capital needs. I look forward to reviewing the Task Force’s preliminary recommendations this week and its final report in December.”
“I applaud Mayor Adams for taking concrete action to reform the antiquated and overly bureaucratic processes that dictate how New York City spends its capital resources,” said New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “These reforms are crucial to making New York City more efficient and more nimble as we confront the urgent need to invest in our city’s climate-conscious infrastructure for the 21st century.”
“New Yorkers depend on our city’s infrastructure for our children’s education, our drinking water, our public safety, and myriad other essentials,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “We need all infrastructure built and maintained on time, and Blueprint 2022 will provide the guidelines to ensure exactly that. By breaking down the silos in city agencies and bringing them all together, Mayor Adams has developed a handbook of best practices for delivering capital projects that are timely and cost-effective. With this plan, New Yorkers can rest assured that their tax dollars are being spent responsibly.”
“We applaud Mayor Adams for this initiative. Capital project delays have plagued many administrations for decades,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella. “This past Spring, we pointed out that the cost to build a city comfort station was comparable to building a $4 million home on Staten Island. This comparison was never unique to one agency and highlighted how capital projects would often cost taxpayers three times as much as private sector work. Even creating a simple left-turn lane in an intersection can take New York City eight years to complete! It’s time to cut through the red tape and avoid future delays of projects that could benefit thousands of New Yorkers whether it’s a children’s playground, road safety improvements, a cultural institution’s exhibit, or life-saving modernization for a hospital. We gladly would assist the mayor in any way on this. We concur with his ‘get it done’ imperative for the sake of Staten Islanders and all New Yorkers.”
“How we build our city has long been in need of an overhaul, and I’m excited to see this effort to streamline our city’s delivery of infrastructure improvements and public facilities,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “To emerge from this transformation on track for a more equitable city, we need to be sure we are putting community-involvement and M/WBEs at the center. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Mayor Adams, DDC, and other city agencies as we forge ahead with a reimagined road toward New York’s future.”
“For many years, the price tags and timelines of city capital projects have been nothing short of scandalous,” said New York City Councilmember Erik Bottcher. “I think it’s fantastic that Mayor Adams is making this issue a priority during his first year, and I fully support this effort to bring common sense to city capital projects.”
“When fighting for community enhancements and seeing tax dollars in real time, we know as a city that part of the battle has been our capital process,” said New York City Councilmember Amanda Farías. “I am excited to see that the Capital Process Reform Task Force has agreed to more than a dozen initial recommendations that center the needs of local communities by making the complete times more efficient, costs more effective, and prioritizing minority and women-owned enterprises to get the job done — for all of us. These three aspects will continue to improve the efficiency and proactivity of our local government and undoubtedly help us all get stuff done. Thank you to Mayor Eric Adams, the Capital Process Reform Taskforce, the Department of Design and Construction, and all the agencies involved for your initiative to ensure greater success for all our communities.”
“The Citizens Budget Commission applauds the Adams Administration taking on the challenge of improving the city’s capital contracting and delivery process,” said Citizens Budget Commission President Andrew S. Rein. “The Task Force’s initial recommendations include some positive proposals, such as early completion incentives and a public database of contracts, that should help speed up the process and increase transparency. The Task Force also rightly calls for the state’s partnership to increase procurement vehicle flexibility. We look forward to the ongoing work and additional recommendations to improve public accountability and performance management, a process critical to executing well.”
“This comprehensive effort to reform the city’s broken capital construction process is incredibly promising and sorely needed,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director, Center for an Urban Future. “It will help New York reduce the delays and cost overruns that have plagued the city’s capital process for far too long. Kudos to Mayor Adams and his administration for tackling an issue that is as unglamorous as they come but so vital to the city’s ability to invest in its future.”
“Mayor Adams’ release of initial recommendations to reform the city’s arcane capital process is an important first step to showing this administration’s commitment to a more effective system for getting infrastructure built across the five boroughs,” said Adam Ganser, executive director, New Yorkers for Parks. “These suggestions will have a measurable impact and save the city money. The Build Back Faster campaign NY4P launched in partnership with Center for an Urban Future earlier this year is calling on the city to reduce the average timeline on projects by 25 percent or 2.5 years per project. We believe this goal is urgent and achievable. We look forward to working with Mayor Adams and the City Council to implement these and many more much-needed policy changes.”
“New York City’s capital construction process is long overdue for reform, and we applaud Mayor Adams and his administration for recognizing the importance of streamlining the burdensome approvals and review process,” said Carlo A. Scissura, president and CEO, New York Building Congress. “Creating a more resilient, prosperous, and equitable city starts with committing resources and investing in infrastructure that changes New Yorkers’ lives for the better. We will work closely with the Adams administration to ensure the capital process is no longer in the way.”
“RPA applauds Mayor Eric Adams, and Capital Process Reform Task Force, and the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s release of the task force recommendations to help streamline the city’s permitting and approval process,” said Tom Wright, president and CEO, Regional Plan Association. “The report has strong recommendations to reform and streamline these processes, such as expanding the use of Expanded Work Allowance and state legislation to grant permanent authority to use Design-Build and other alternative project delivery methods. We look forward to working with the Mayor, DDC and other stakeholders to implement these time- and money-saving reforms and examining other ways to deliver important public investments.”