Legislative Update: February 2020

ACEC Legislative Update


New York State

State Budget. The 2021 State budget was released on January 21.

Transportation: The budget includes $11.9 billion for a new, 2-Year DOT Capital Plan. Major projects funded in this plan include phases 2 and 3 of the Van Wyck Expressway, Hunts Point and Bruckner Expressway phases 2 and 3 and the replacement of I-81 in Syracuse. The transportation budget maintains CHIPS funding at last year’s level of $477.8 million, as well as $100 million each for PAVE NY and BRIDGE NY programs. The 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan supports $51.5 billion in investments, including a $3 billion commitment from New York State.

Environment: The budget contains the Restore Mother Nature program to reduce flood risk to natural habitats through a number of means including right-sizing culverts, restoring wetlands and flood plains and expanding renewable energy. This will be funded in part through a $3 billion bond act.

Legislation: In addition to the funding plans contained in the budget, the article VII budget legislation contains numerous issues of interest. Part DD proposes to make the State’s design-build authorization permanent, and expand its use to DASNY, the New York State Urban Development Corporation, New York State Office of General Services, the State University Construction Fund, the Battery Park City Authority, and the Olympic Regional Development Authority.  Part G Includes a plan to merge the New York Bridge Authority into the New York State Thruway Authority and create a single entity.

As Session progresses, Senate and Assembly conferences release their proposed amendments signaling their spending and policy preferences. As they are released, we will share them with our membership.

MTA Debarment. ACEC New York and the AFFECT coalition remain engaged in addressing MTA debarment regulations and related concerns. For more information on this issue, please contact Jay Simson or Campbell Wallace directly.

Transportation Budget Hearing.
ACEC New York Director of Government Relations Campbell H. Wallace, Esq. presented testimony at the transportation joint budget hearing on January 28. This testimony discussed the importance of the State’s consulting engineering community, analyzed specific policy items, and advocated for transportation funding priorities. The hearing, and ACEC New York’s testimony are available online.

Regional Legislative Programs.
Across the State, ACEC New York regional legislative receptions are occurring. On February 7, 2020 the Mid-Hudson region held its annual legislative breakfast, featuring participation by Assemblymembers Jonathan Jacobson (D -104),Colin Schmitt (R-99) and representatives from the offices of Senator Sue Serino and Shelly Mayer and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. Central region’s breakfast, also scheduled for the 7th was unfortunately canceled due to weather. Rochester region is holding their legislative event on February 28 with confirmed attendance by a number of Rochester area legislators. Please contact Patrick Waterman for more info.

DPC ESOP Expansion. ACEC New York government affairs staff continues its outreach efforts on this legislation and has presented proposed amendments and supporting documentation to Assembly counsel staff and the State Education Department. We continue our educational outreach and encourage interested members to read and share the attached report from then City Advocate and current Attorney General Leticia James which highlights the advantages of employee ownership through an ESOP model. The report advances many of the same arguments made in our advocacy efforts.

Grandfather Firm Geologist Legislation. ACEC New York has worked with State Education Department representatives to refine the wording of this bill and hope to see passage of this critical measure to ensure grandfather engineering firms are able to provide geology services equivalent to those provided before the 2014 licensure of Professional Geologists.

Indemnification. ACEC New York government relations staff and member firm representatives continue to refine amended language intended to protect ACEC New York member firms from unreasonable defense obligations related to their provision of professional services.


Federal

ACEC New York thanks our generous Winter Conference PAC Auction donors and winning bidders. With items ranging from original art and sporting event tickets to fine spirits and tech items, there was something for everyone. Thanks also to those who have committed to donating at a leadership club level for the upcoming year. 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

"Introducing the 2020 NYC Energy Conservation Code,” January 21. Many thanks to the NYC Department of Buildings for presenting to our members on the anticipated changes that will be made in the move from the IECC 2015 to the IECC 2018; the changes made by the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council; changes to align with NYSERDA’s NYStretch Energy Code-2020; and the local provisions adopted by the DOB. The presentation is available to Members Only our website. On February 19, the DOB issued a Buildings Bulletin clarifying when to apply the 2016 NYC Energy Conservation Code or the 2020 NYCECC to New Building and Alteration applications.

Left to right: Scott Frank, Chair, ACEC New York Metro Energy Code Committee; Emily Hoffman Director of Energy Code Compliance, NYCDOB; Gina Bocra, Chief Sustainability Officer, NYCDOB; Josephine Zurica, Vice-Chair, ACEC New York Metro Energy Code Committee

NYC Council hearing on Drone Technology, January 27. The Council held a hearing on Intro.1853, which would require the NYC Department of Buildings to study the safety and feasibility of permitting building façade inspections to be conducted by unmanned aircraft systems. Video of the hearing is available online (drones are briefly discussed at the 48:45 mark). ACEC New York will continue to monitor this legislation’s progress.

ACEC NYC PAC 2020 - Update. To date, 39 members from 18 firms have contributed $6,950 to the NYC PAC. Thank you all contributors so far! The goal is to raise $15k in 2020. Contact Bill Murray, NYC Director of Government Relations, to contribute via credit card at 212-682-6336. Or contribute by mailing a check to “ACEC New York City PAC” to our office at 8 West 38th Street, Suite 1101, New York, NY 10018.


 

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