Figure This

Headlines rocked last March when we inched closer to that now-snagged federal loan. “Another important step forward for the New NY Bridge project, one that will help keep tolls affordable for motorists,” Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said.

An earlier post about job fairs talked about a portal at Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC)’s website; support positions are posted on the NYS Department of Labor website. Jobseekers, take heart: the DOL will begin hiring this summer.

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Two months from its June 2014 deadline, the design team completed 80 percent; see the February 2014 New NY Bridge newsletter. Increased construction leads to more hiring, though not necessarily locally. Can you say TIFIA loan?

“The replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge is a federally-aided project and therefore must comply with our Federal requirement,” Christine Thorkildsen, Civil Rights Program Manager, Federal Highway Administration, New York Division said during a monthly business meeting on March 12.

TZC has a 10 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal that “can be fulfilled with DBEs that are certified under any Unified Certification Program in any state,” Thorkildsen said.

Businesses must comply with strict requirements to be included in TZC’s DBE database; email alerts about upcoming contracts are sent within a seven-state range from Massachusetts to Maryland. TZC searches the list for companies whose qualifications meet a specific job need, and invites them to submit proposals.

Firms in Australia are bidding, too. Imagine that.

Fifty-five of the 130 companies working on the project are DBEs, with awards totaling $44.7 million. Six thousand of the 10,000 vendors in the project’s database are DBEs, yet only 16 percent of those are in the metropolitan area.

“Federal requirements do not allow for a local preference for subcontractors,” Thorkildsen said. “Cost is always an issue, and local firms should be able to submit competitive bids due to their proximity to the project which reduces mobilization/travel costs.”

Service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses will be treated with the same status as DBEs, reflecting a change in prior position. During his State of the State address in January, the governor outlined steps to establish a 5 percent goal in the awarding of state contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

He told us back in November the project created nearly 600 jobs . . . and since then?

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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