Legislative Update - April 2019
ACEC Legislative Update

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New York State

Budget. New York State’s budget was passed, on-time, on April 1. The final included a number of fiscal and policy initiatives.

  • Congestion Pricing: The final adopted budget established congestion pricing as an MTA funding mechanism. The plan calls for the installation of electronic tolling on the area south of 60th Street in Manhattan. The budget protects this funding stream through a lockbox mechanism to ensure that 100% of the revenue goes to the MTA. This funding stream is  ACEC New York applauds the passage of a congestion pricing measure, an initiative supported by the Association through its various incarnations. The full budget and a press release summarizing highlights are available online.

  • MTA Reforms: Among the reforms included in the budget are the requirement for the MTA to adopt a reorganization plan by June, including a forensic audit and efficiency review. In addition, design-build project delivery is now mandated for any capital project over $25 million. A number of proposals that were included in earlier drafts of the budget, such as expansion of alternative project delivery and MWBE program adjustments were not in the final adopted budget, and may be handled as stand-alone legislation later this Session.
  • Cost-Benefit: Language that mirrored language vetoed by Governor Cuomo last Session had been included in the Budget proposal. This proposal was opposed by ACEC New York and was removed from the final plan.

State Policy Initiatives.

  • ESOP Expansion: With last month’s Senate passage of S.2709, the Association has been focusing its efforts on securing Assembly passage. The bill seeks to allow a qualifying (design professional controlled) Employee Stock Ownership Plan to own a greater portion of a Design Professional Corporation while still ensuring that licensed professionals control the firm.
  • Indemnification: ACEC New York continues to meet with State Agencies to advance the Association’s efforts to develop commercially reasonable contract language that protects both State agencies and their consulting engineering partners.
  • Grandfather firm Geology: In response to unintended interpretations of the Professional Geologist licensure that took effect in 2016, ACEC New York has taken the lead in developing corrective language to effectuate the intent of the original legislation. This proposal will help State Agencies and procuring bodies continue to do business with their traditional professional design partners and eliminate confusion.

Federal

2019 Federal PAC. ACEC New York has raised $17,760 of our $90,000 goal. Thank you to our donors to date. Look for information on upcoming PAC fundraising events and visit the ACEC PAC webpage for more ways to give. For more information on donations, or to make a donation to the PAC, contact Campbell Wallace at campbell@acecny.org.


New York City

City Council to pass landmark Building Retrofit legislation this week. On Thursday April 18, the City Council plans to pass landmark legislation, Intro 1253-C, which will require existing buildings Citywide that are 25,000 square feet or larger to significantly reduce their energy consumption. To comply, building retrofits will have to occur on a scale unprecedented in New York City or anywhere else. Mayor de Blasio is expected to sign the bill shortly after passage. Over the past year, our Metro Energy Code Committee engaged the City extensively to provide testimony, comments and to recommend bill amendments ensuring the engineering industry’s voice was heard throughout the legislative process. In the end, the final bill addresses most of ACEC New York’s recommendations. Our thanks to the committee and its chair and vice-chair, Scott Frank (JB&B) and Josephine Zurica (Dagher Engineering), for extraordinary leadership and efforts on this bill.

April 13, 2019: Council Member Costa Constantinides, the bill author, attended our EEA Gala and is pictured here with Scott Frank (chair, Metro Energy Code Committee), Dean Angelakos (chair, Metro Public Policy Committee) and Bill Murray (NYC Director of Government Relations).

NYC DCP modifies proposed “Mechanical Voids” rule in light of engineering concerns – measure now moves to City Council for consideration. On April 10, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) passed a modified Zoning Text Amendment relating to the height of “Mechanical Voids” in residential towers. DCP modified their original proposal in light of concerns raised by ACEC New York in testimony. Subsequently, on April 16, the City Council held a separate hearing on the modified proposal and ACEC New York again testified. The Council will either approve the measure as-is or make further amendments. Our thanks to Ed Bosco (ME Engineers), chair of the Mechanical Code Committee, for representing the association at the hearing and for leadership on this issue. A video of the CBS News interview featuring Ed Bosco can be viewed online.

April 16, 2019: Ed Bosco, chair of the Mechanical Code Committee, is interviewed by CBS Channel 2 News outside of the Council Chambers, City Hall.

ACEC New York weighs-in on Lighting/Elevator bill. On April 11, the association provided testimony to the City Council regarding Intro 341, which would retroactively apply certain Building Code requirements to existing buildings. In effect, the bill requires installation of standby power systems for certain elevators in existing buildings and installation of an emergency lighting systems for certain egress pathways and areas in existing buildings.  We will continue to monitor the status of this bill at the Council.

Congestion Pricing. For information on congestion pricing, see NYS report above.


American Council of Engineering Companies of New York, 6 Airline Dr, Albany , NY 12205