News

CIC’S Louis G. Nappi Construction Labor-Management Scholarship Fund Awards $80,000 to 16 College Students in Hudson Valley Region in 2022

TARRYTOWN, NY—Fifteen college and one graduate student will start the fall semester each with a $5,000 grant from the Louis G. Nappi Construction Labor-Management Scholarship Fund for studies in Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Applied Sciences for the 2022-2023 academic year. The announcement of the $80,000 in scholarships awards was made by Ross J. Pepe, President of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. (CIC).

As a major construction industry financial-aid program, the Louis G. Nappi Fund was established in 2009 by Mr Nappi (1920-2014), a former CIC Chairman (now Emeritus). It was Mr. Nappi’s vision that the hard sciences of Mathematics and Engineering were essential pathways for the U.S. to re-establish American companies as world leaders in transportation and infrastructure construction.

Pictured above are the scholarship recipients and committee members present at the luncheon. First row; Justin Ely, Jenna Weber, Kirsten Stepien, Jamie Fortunato, Lauren Liberto, Genevive Zorilo, Ava Zorilo & Massimo Fante. Second row; Mark Griffin, Jeff Loughlin, Operating Engineers Local 137, Thomas Welby, Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, William Massetta, Transit Construction Corp., Ross Pepe, BCA, Matthew Pepe, BCA, Dean DiNatale, Pinnacle Industries II, LLC. & Robert Stepien.

The scholarship fund is a living testimony to Louis Nappi who served as CIC Chairman from 1986 to 1991, Mr. Pepe explained. “Lou’s commitment to Engineering and Science lives on today in these scholarships and through these students as many of them have graduated and have entered the workplace. Lou believed that giving students the financial means to pursue higher education and advanced degrees would help our nation’s construction and building industries regain global competitiveness and preeminence.”

Scholarship Committee Chairman William Mascetta, President of Transit Construction Corp. of Yonkers, NY, congratulated the winners and their parents at the July awards luncheon. During his address, he emphasized the importance of balancing the forces and demands of rapidly expanding technology these students will face in the future along with the importance to continue to grow and develop as individuals. “This is how we forge meaningful, lasting relationships with people in business and in life,” he said.

“Human understanding and interaction skills do not happen by accident,” he explained. He pointed to the increasingly digital world of Zoom, office cubicles, remote work and emails that can stifle interaction with co-workers, associates and others. “We run the risk of losing mutual respect for one another by operating only in this tech world, which is essentially black and white, in an industry that is more a grey-zone environment. Human interaction is critical to develop mutually respectful, working relationships. This is a key to success,” he concluded.

 

Mr. Mascetta thanked the members of the Scholarship Committee representing labor and management, and he applauded the students’ parents for their support for education and hard work during the challenges endured over the past two years of the pandemic. He also acknowledged a member of the Nappi family present, Dean DiNatale, who is the grandson of Mr. Nappi and a member of the scholarship committee.

Marking its 13th anniversary, the Louis G. Nappi Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $850,000 in 203 grants to some 92 students attending more than 70 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Scholarship recipients reside mainly in the Lower and Mid-Hudson Valley, and are related to employees of CIC-member companies or affiliated unions. The participating labor unions are Laborers International Union of N.A. Local 60, 

William Mascetta, Louis G. Nappi Scholarship Committee Chairman
Ross J. Pepe, Construction Industry Council President

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 137, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 456. For information on the program and application, visit the association’s website, www.cicnys.org.

Scholarship Winners

Taylor Bruck, 20, of New Paltz, NY, is a junior studying Computer Science at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. She is the daughter of Thomas Bruck, a member of Operating Engineers L.U. 137. Taylor also received Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grants in 2020 and 2021.

Robert Caulfield, 20, of Blauvelt, NY, is a junior studying Civil Engineering at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY. He is the son of Timothy Caulfield of Yonkers Contracting Co., Inc., a CIC-member company. Robert also received a Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant in 2020 and 2021.

Charlotte Caulfield, 18, of Blauvelt, NY, is a freshman studying Health Science at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. She is the daughter of Timothy Caulfield of Yonkers Contracting Co., Inc., a CIC-member company.

Justin Ely, 18, of Chester, NY, is a freshman studying Civil Engineering at Union College in Schenectady, NY. He is the son of Jordan Ely of Argenio Bros., a CIC-member company.

Massimo Fante, 20, of Sleepy Hollow, NY, is a Junior studying Biological Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is the son of Mark Fante of Darante Construction Ltd., a BCA- and CIC-member company. Massimo also won Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grants in 2020 and 2021.

Jamie Lynn Fortunato, 20, of Fairfield, CT, is a senior studying Biology/Pre-med at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is the granddaughter of Anthony Guido, a member of Operating Engineers L.U. 137. Jamie Lynn also won Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grants in 2020 and 2021.

Mark Griffin, 20, of Yonkers, NY, is a junior majoring in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Buffalo. He is the son of Lisa Griffin and nephew of Vincent Romagnoli of Yonkers Contracting Company, Inc., a CIC-member company. Mark also won a Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant in 2021.

Liberty Hunsberger, 18, of Edwardsburgh, MI, is a freshman studying Engineering and Business Administration Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. She is the daughter of Scott Hunsberger CIC-member company Michels Pipeline, Inc.

Kellen Keefe, 18, of Westport, CT, is a freshman at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. He is the son of Matthew Keefe of Halmar International, and CIC-member company.

Lauren Liberto, 17, of New Rochelle, NY, is a freshman studying Finance and Accounting at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. She is the sister of Thomas Norberto of Laborers Local 60 of Hawthorne, NY.

Daniella Mulvey, 22, of Valhalla, NY, is a graduate student pursing a Masters in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She is the daughter of Dennis Mulvey, an employee of Stratis Contracting Corp., a CIC-member company. Daniella is also a recipient of Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grants in 2020 and 2021.

Robert Stepien, 20, of Wayne, NJ, is a junior studying Civil Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. He is the son of Robert Stepien, Sr., an employee of Halmar International, a CIC-member company.

Kirsten Stepien, 18, of Wayne, NJ, is sophomore studying Engineering Management at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. She is the daughter of Robert Stepien, Sr., an employee of Halmar International, a CIC-member company.

Jenna Weber, 20, of Southbury, CT, is junior studying Biology at Penn State University in State College, PA. She is the daughter of James Weber, a member of Operating Engineers Local 137 of Briarcliff, NY.

Ava Zorilo, 20, of Wappingers Falls, NY, is a junior studying Health Science Program at Pace University in New York. Ava is the daughter of a member of Operating Engineers L.U. 137 of Briarcliff, NY. Ava was also a recipient of Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grants in 2021.

Genevieve Zorilo, 18, of Wappingers Falls, NY, is a freshman studying Basic Medical Sciences at Pace University in New York. Ava is the daughter of a member of Operating Engineers L.U. 137 of Briarcliff, NY.

$115 Million Capital Program in 2022

Westchester Plans Aggressive Schedule
For Road, Bridge, Wastewater Projects

By JOHN JORDAN – August 22, 2022

WHITE PLAINS – Westchester County plans to conduct bids on nearly 20 projects in the third and fourth quarters of this year that are estimated to be valued at more than $115 million, CONSTRUCTION NEWS has learned.

In an exclusive interview with CONSTRUCTION NEWS, the Commissioner of Public Works and Transportation for Westchester County, Hugh J. Greechan, Jr., P.E., said the project work involves roads, bridges and wastewater projects as well as work at Westchester County Airport and Rye Playland.

Mr. Greechan said that by July 20, the projects on the drawing board for the remainder of 2022 have an estimated value of more than $115 million. He added that the value of the contracts will likely increase, and he expects that additional projects will be added to the 2022 bid schedule. He added that the

Allocations in Q3 and Q4 include Westchester County DPW road and bridge spending of $32 million with another $32 million for County Parks facilities. More bridgework for the Bronx River Parkway is planned in Greenburgh and White Plains. Above, completed BRP bridge replacement project in Scarsdale.

amount of work being let to bid this fall and winter is the largest the county has undertaken in the past five years.

Among the projects are:

  • Emergency contract work is now underway at Wilson Pool in Mount Vernon, NY regarding repairs to the bottom of the pool. Further remediation work will likely go out to bid possibly in the fourth quarter. He added that estimates on the pool work to be undertaken have not yet been made though he noted an early estimate could be around $5 million.
  • Approximately $33 million of projects to be let in Q3 and Q4 are under the aegis of Westchester Environmental Facilities. The projects involve improvements, modernizations and repairs at the seven county sewage treatment plants or related pump stations.
  • County Parks Department: another $32 million in work to be let at county park facilities, including Rye Playland.
  • The County DPW roads and bridges work for the remainder of this year was estimated at $32 million.
  • The DPW’s transportation division project work for the third and fourth quarter is estimated at $16 million.
  • One of the larger contracts in the third quarter scheduled for public bid was set to be let on Wed., Aug. 17. The contract, “HVAC Equipment Upgrades and Odor Control Improvements – Phase IV” at the Yonkers Joint Wastewater Treatment Plant, was moved up and is projected to cost between $18 million to $22 million.

This Phase IV work will include, but not be limited to replacement of the HVAC and Odor Control Systems; repairs and upgrades to the Sludge Loading Bay, including the concrete slab and ventilation duct registers; replacement of the scrubbers for the Primary Settling Tanks, and replacement of the Grit Tank wash-down system; and flood mitigation work resulting from the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

The largest dollar-volume bridge project scheduled in the fourth quarter is the replacement of a bridge on the Bronx River

Parkway Bridge north of the County Center and three other spans over the Bronx River in the Town of Greenburgh and City of White Plains. The county has estimated that work is valued at more than $8 million.

A few other significant projects to be let in the third and fourth quarters highlighted by Commissioner Greechan included a Domestic Water System Improvements project at Westchester County Airport that has a construction budget of $12.9 million. The scope of the project that is scheduled to go out to bid in the fourth quarter of this year features the installation of a new 12-inch diameter water line on the north end of county airport and along New King Street in the Town of North Castle and two new associated Backflow Preventer Buildings.

Another significant project scheduled to be bid out in the fourth quarter is the Infrastructure Rehabilitation Phase 3 – Playland Park, which the county has budgeted at a little more than $23 million. Work under this project will include the restoration of the Historic Dragon Coaster Station, Rye Playland’s two historic arcade buildings along with several Cross Axis Games and food structures. The operator of Rye Playland—Standard Amusements—is also planning significant improvement work at the park in 2023, he added.

He noted that all the projects scheduled to be bid for the remainder of 2022 have been bonded and are expected to begin in earnest in the spring of 2023.

All of those aforementioned projects would be performed under a project labor agreement (PLA) with the Building & Construction Trades Council of Westchester & Putnam Counties. He said a substantial number of all the contracts will be performed under a PLA and all contracts are subject to PLA conformity review.

As it has in the past, Westchester County is expected to pool together multiple projects to increase efficiency and secure savings in the final bid price from contractors, their subs and vendors.

AT-A-GLANCE - Work to be Let

Q3 2022

  • HVAC Equipment Upgrades and Odor Control Improvements – Phase IV, Yonkers Joint Wastewater Treatment Plant, Yonkers, Construction Budget: $22 million
  • New Water Service, Kingsland Point Park, 299 Palmer Avenue, Sleepy Hollow, Construction Budget: $910,000
  • New Nature Center, Cranberry Lake Preserve, North Castle, Construction Budget: $4.65 million
  • Water Storage Tower Rehabilitation, County Water District No. 3, Town of Mount Pleasant, Construction Budget: $9.28 million
  • Rehabilitation of Commerce Street, C.R. No. 29 From Stevens Avenue to Liberty Street, a Distance of 1.23 Miles, Mount Pleasant, Construction Budget: $4 million
  • Roadway Resurfacing and Related Improvements, Woods Road (C.R. #300) and Hammond House Road/Sunshine Cottage Road (C.R. #301), a Total Distance of 2.25 Miles, Town of Mount Pleasant, Construction Budget: $1.7 million
  • Resurfacing and Related Improvements to East Main Street, C.R. #25 From North Division Street to Broad Street, a distance of 0.24 miles in the City of Peekskill, Construction Budget: $730,000

Q4 2022

  • New Maintenance Facility, Dunwoodie Golf Course, Yonkers, Construction Budget: $3.3 million
  • Replacement of the Bronx River Parkway Bridge (NB: North of the County Center BIN 3348670) and Three Over the Bronx River, Town of Greenburgh and City of White Plains, Construction Budget: $8.065 million
  • Rehabilitation of Midland Avenue, C.R. #72, From Playland Parkway to the Port Chester/Rye Border Line, A Total Distance of Approximately 1.76 Miles, City of Rye, Construction Budget: $3.65 million
  • Rehabilitation of Parking Lots, Driveways, and Sidewalks, 85 Court Street, 112 East Post Road, 143 Grand Street, and the Michaelian Office Building, White Plains, Construction Budget: $7.65 million
  • Rehabilitation of Parking Lots, Driveways, and Sidewalks, 100 East First Street, Mount Vernon, New York and 450 Saw Mill River Road, Ardsley, Construction Budget: $2 million
  • Parking Facility Rehabilitation, Grasslands Campus – Armory/Public Safety Training Facility Central Heating Plant, New York Medical College, Operations Building, and Public Labs Building, Valhalla, Construction Budget: $2.425 million
  • Replacement of Underground Diesel Fuel Storage Tanks, Alphonse J. Cerrato Bus Maintenance Facility, 5 Walker Road, Grasslands Campus, Valhalla, $930,000
  • Rehabilitation of Lincoln Avenue, C.R. No. 84 From the New Rochelle/ Pelham border to First Avenue, a total distance of approximately 0.46 miles in the Village of Pelham, Construction Budget: $1.93 million
  • Domestic Water System Improvements, Westchester County Airport, towns of Harrison and North Castle and Village of Rye Brook, Construction Budget: $12.9 million
  • Infrastructure Rehabilitation – Phase 3, Playland Park, Rye, Construction Budget: $23.15 million
  • Replacement of HVAC Systems and Associated Work, Bee-Line Central Maintenance Facility (CMF), Yonkers, Construction Budget: $1.975 million.

New York State Earns ‘C’ for Infrastructure; Roads, Wastewater Pumps/Plants/Pipes a ‘D+’

By JOHN JORDAN – August 22, 2022

NEW YORK—The American Society of Civil Engineers issued an extensive and detailed report, which is both troubling and sobering of the current condition and future funding needs of New York State’s infrastructure. The ASCE handed New York State a grade of “C” for its overall infrastructure, a slight improvement from the “C-” grade it gave the state back in 2015.

Released in July, the report barely gave passing grades for the state’s road and wastewater infrastructure, which were both graded at “D+” while Bridges came in slightly higher with a “C-” grade. Civil engineers handed out the following grades for the state’s major infrastructure categories: aviation (C+), dams (C), drinking water (C-), ports (C+), public parks (B-), rail (C), solid waste (B-), transit (D+).

The grades and their meaning are: A (Exceptional) – Fit for the Future; B (Good) – Adequate for Now; C (Mediocre) – Requires Attention; D (Poor at Risk); F (Failing/Critical) – Unfit for Purpose

ASCE volunteers conducted the study over 18 months, and the report’s findings were released on July 19 at a number of events held in Albany, Buffalo, New York City and Syracuse.

The report spelled out New York State’s current infrastructure needs and the issues going forward. “New York’s transportation network, especially in the New York City metropolitan area, is under immense strain in the context of an environment where needs outweigh available funding. Broadly, state and

While New York has abundant freshwater resources, water and wastewater systems are among the oldest in the country, and many of New York’s dams were built before modern design standards.

local agencies have utilized coordinated funding solutions to make improvements in recent years, however there is serious concern for the adequacy of future funding. Half of the state’s roads are in fair or poor condition, 10% of its bridges are in poor condition. Reduced ridership during the pandemic has exacerbated revenue shortfalls for aviation and transit operations, leaving significant budget shortfalls looming in the coming years,” the report stated.

The ASCE report also noted that recent supply chain issues and congestion have demonstrated the essential role America’s multimodal freight network serves in the national and global economy and that New York supports one of the busiest port systems in the U.S., along with 3,279 miles of rail lines.

“Ports and the smaller freight railroads face substantial funding backlogs to maintain and prepare structures for future needs. While the majority of freight rail is privately supported, the Port Authority of New York New Jersey has identified a capital need of $20 billion to replace mission-critical wharf structures, greatly exceeding financial resources. Passenger rail also faces severe maintenance shortfalls as Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor faces a $38-billion backlog,” the report noted.

Water and waste management are also expected to cost the state billions in the years to come. “While the state has abundant freshwater resources, water and wastewater systems are among the oldest in the country, and many of New York’s dams were built before modern design standards. The 20-year need for drinking water is estimated at $44.2 billion, and wastewater systems will require $38 billion through the same period,” the report stated. “Discovery and regulation of new environmental contaminants will be a point of greater emphasis for water and wastewater systems in the future. Solid waste was found adequate, with approximately 16-25 years of available landfill capacity, but recycling lags behind the national average.”

ASCE’s Comments And Recommendations For New York State:

  • ASCE applauded recent increases in infrastructure funding, but noted that the additional funding is short-lived. It noted today’s safety needs and tomorrow’s climate risk demand substantial, predictable and equitable funding sources. The gas tax, congestion pricing, and other fees deliver consistent support to transportation systems New Yorkers depend on, especially public transportation. More equitable infrastructure requires permanently strengthened funding methods. Transportation equity requires choice among universally affordable, accessible and high-performing travel options.
  • Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a variety of variables that impact daily lives that will continue to evolve and change. New York needs to reassess its infrastructure goals in light of new lifestyles, commuting patterns, and a changing climate.
  • Progress has been made to increase the lifespan of infrastructure systems, and engineers are now designing assets to last between 75 and 100 years. However, more can be done. Policy changes are needed that allow for the testing of new materials, utilization of new construction techniques, and broader adoption of alternative project delivery methods, including design-build.
  • There is an acute shortage of agency staff with the skills and expertise to operate and maintain our infrastructure facilities, as well as manage and administer new projects. Workforce challenges present a major issue to many agencies and departments at the state and local levels, with retirements resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge and the effects of an evolving job market leave some agencies shorthanded. Expanded technical training and apprenticeship programs are needed to address the operational worker shortfalls and general STEM programming can help interest young New Yorkers in engineering and science fields from an early age.

Specific to the state’s D+ grade, the ASCE report noted that the state has more than 17,500 road and highway bridges, carrying 176 million vehicles/day. Almost 10% of the state’s bridges are in poor condition, which is above the national average; and 637 bridges are posted for less than legal loads. “The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, coupled with the subsequent 2022 New York State Budget will go a long way to addressing the state’s bridge needs, but we still fall short of the total need,” the report concluded.

The ASCE’s recommendations for the state to raise its bridges grade include:

  • All bridge owners should embrace Life Cycle Costs (LCC) in making their bridge decisions. Encourage local agencies to bundle bridge projects together to gain efficiencies in cost and schedule
  • Continue advancing alternative delivery methods in an economically efficient manner. Optimize design, construction and materials practices that embrace the LCC approach.
  • Encourage coordination among bridge owners to identify and implement proactive best management practices for preventative maintenance.
  • Bridge funding needs to find creative financing sources to overcome the chronic underfunding.
  • It is imperative, regardless of the funding sources, that viable multi-year “living” maintenance and capital programs are a management priority.
  • Educate all stakeholders on the state and local level of the critical value that proactive and routine maintenance provides in economically extending the life of our bridge investments. Maintenance should no longer be the first thing cut when dollars become tight—the opposite should be true.
  • Address the “orphan bridge” issue. For example, numerous historic steel truss bridges, of significant civil engineering historical value and on the state historic register, are in danger of being lost forever due to prolonged ownership and maintenance squabbles between railroad agencies, state agencies and local governments. A similar situation has evolved in the Ausable Chasm area where two large historic bridges are closed, impacting the local economy and quality of life for residents, and imposing potential safety risks as conditions worsen.
  • Initiate a statewide study in 2022 that assesses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as working and shopping from home, will affect travel patterns and the number of trucks on state and local roads in the years ahead.
  • Transparency in the reporting of transportation agency data in a timely fashion to all stakeholders is imperative.
  • State transportation agencies should start rebuilding their in-house staff. The loss of institutional knowledge, and the lack of qualified personnel to perform essential duties that only agency personnel can perform, is negatively impacting the advancement of the bridge programs. Expand the BRIDGE NY program by allowing counties to utilize public-private partnership (P3) contracts with contractor/designer teams to enable their bridges to be replaced now, and pay back over a period of time.

For the state to raise its C- drinking water grade, the ASCE recommends:

  • Federal/State funding for all Regulatory-Driven Changes: Water Utilities are issued additional financial burden in order to comply with new and evolving regulations. Any regulatory change (especially pending lead service line (LSL) replacement requirements) should be accompanied by funding packages to offset the new financial obligations.
  • Regulatory Requirements for Asset Management Implementation and Development of “Best Practices Guide” for Utilities: The Guide should encompass technical, managerial, and financial components. This would particularly help smaller utilities that do not have the experience or resources for asset management implementation utilizing in-house services.
  • Provide technical support for municipalities who don’t have the resources to evaluate and plan for the needs of their systems.
  • Raise Awareness for the True Cost of Water: Educating the public and policymakers about the value and true cost of water. Access to reliable and safe water requires effort, expense, and infrastructure. Current New York State water rates do not reflect the true cost of reliably conveying and treating water. Replacing antiquated pipes and treatment equipment will require significant local investment, and users should be aware of what their water rates will fund. Rates have often been kept artificially low at the expense of taxpayers and at the detriment of the systems.
  • Increase Funding Opportunities for Water Main Replacements and Tax Exemption for Large Projects: Projects that are centered around replacing deficient or functionally obsolete water mains do not typically score well with funding agencies. There should be a metric or a separate funding arm of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (NYSEFC DWSRF) that goes directly for replacement of water mains of all sizes. Promote tax cap exemption for water infrastructure programs so communities can fund projects at the necessary levels.
  • Implement an Engineering Planning Grant (EPG) Program Through NYSEFC DWSRF Program: This “EPG” Program has proved successful for the NYSEFC Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Program in that it awards grants to fund engineering reports for a given utility. These engineering reports are the baseline for applying for larger grants and low-interest funding programs. These reports often help offset the technical and managerial capacity limitations of smaller utilities.
  • Provide Additional Incentive Programs for Small Utility Systems to Consolidate Into Existing or Proposed Utility Authorities: Increased regulations, asset management/infrastructure planning, etc., puts an increasing burden on small systems with limited resources. Pooling resources and expanding the rate base make funding more achievable and improves technical and managerial capacity.

Plan Would Generate $15 Billion for Capital Projects

MTA Congestion Pricing Plan
Sets Peak Tolls from $9 to $23

By JOHN JORDAN – August 22, 2022

NEW YORK — The details of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s long-delayed and controversial congestion pricing plan were unveiled on Aug. 10. The plan, which will now be the subject of public hearings later this month, calls for the implementation of peak tolls to enter Manhattan’s Central Business District ranging from $9 to as high as $23.

The plan, if approved, would help the MTA raise revenue of approximately $15 billion to help fund its $54.8-billion 2020-2024 Capital Program and future capital programs.

The Federal Highway Administration, New York State Department of Transportation, MTA Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority and New York City Department of Transportation released the Environmental Assessment of the proposed Central Business District Tolling Program in Manhattan. The report studied a total of seven different tolling scenarios. Tolls would be charged to most vehicles once a day. Overnight tolls range from $5 to as high as $12, while off-peak tolls could run from $7 to $17.

The plan, if approved, would help the MTA raise revenue of approximately $15 billion to help fund its $54.8-billion 2020-2024 Capital Program and future capital programs.

There would be some discounts and extensions granted. For example, the report noted that there would be exemptions for qualifying vehicles transporting a person with disabilities and qualifying authorized emergency vehicles. In addition, residents whose primary residence is inside the Manhattan CBD and whose New York State adjusted gross income is less than $60,000 would be eligible for a New York State tax credit equal to the amount of Manhattan CBD tolls paid during the taxable year.

The CBD subject to the congestion pricing plan consists of the geographic area of Manhattan south of and inclusive of 60th Street, not including the Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Drive and the West Side Highway/Route 9A, the Battery Park Underpass and any surface roadway portion of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel that connects to West Street (the West Side Highway/Route 9A).

The Environmental Assessment found the program would result in either beneficial effects or no adverse effects for the majority of topics studied, including regional air quality, regional transportation, and parking. Where potential adverse effects were identified, mitigation was provided.

The assessment found that 85% of existing work trips to the CBD are made by transit, 5% by car from New York City, 3% by car from New York suburban counties, 3% by car from New Jersey, 0.2% by car from Connecticut, and 4% by other modes, including taxis, for-hire vehicles, bicycling and walking.

“The tremendous detail included in this assessment makes clear the widespread benefits that would result from central business district tolling,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Bottom line: congestion pricing is good for the environment, good for public transit and good for New York and the region. We look forward to receiving public feedback in the weeks ahead.”

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The release of this Environmental Assessment is an important step forward in this transformative initiative to help us reduce congestion in Manhattan’s central business district. I encourage everyone to attend the public hearings and provide feedback and comments, so that we can make improvements and deliver a comprehensive plan.

” New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez added, “We must get congestion pricing done so we can invest in public transit, curb emissions, and reduce traffic, which has roared back to pre-COVID levels. This draft Environmental Assessment is the product of three years of detailed study and is a major milestone towards delivering congestion pricing for New Yorkers. We’re looking forward to hearing from the public during this important review process and we thank the MTA, state, and federal partners for their collaboration.”

Among the key findings ofthe assessment were:

  • Implementation of tolls would achieve the purpose and need of the project—to reduce traffic congestion in the Manhattan CBD in a manner that will generate revenue for future transportation improvements.
  • With initiation of the program, the number of vehicles entering the CBD would decline by 15.4% to 19.9%, depending on the tolling scenario. Traffic elsewhere in the region would change between—1.5% to 0.2%, depending on the location and the tolling scenario.
  • Air quality would improve overall, with greater beneficial effects within and closer to the CBD.
  • Reduction in traffic would result in increased reliability of bus service and
  • Increase in transit ridership of 1% to 2%.

The project partners received more than 7,300 comments in early enhanced outreach as the Environmental Assessment was being prepared, according to the MTA.

A series of virtual public hearings have been scheduled that will take place from Aug. 25 through Aug. 31, as well as a meeting of the Environmental Justice Stakeholder Working Group, on Aug. 19, and a meeting of the Environmental Justice Technical Advisory Group, for Aug. 22. The project partners are accepting comments online, via email, mail, voicemail and fax.

Following the public review period, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will determine whether establishment of the program would result in significant effects in addition to the widespread benefits detailed in the assessment. The FHWA will issue one of two documents responding to the environmental assessment: either a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), establishing that any adverse effects are not significant or can be mitigated below significant level, or, if determined that there are significant effects that cannot be mitigated, a request for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) requiring further study of the proposed program.

If the FHWA approves the project, contractors would have 310 days to design, develop and implement the tolling infrastructure and tolling system technology that would process the tolls, the MTA stated.

Comments are being accepted online, by email, mail, phone and fax, and at a series of six public hearings beginning on Thursday, Aug. 25, and concluding on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Members of the public who wish to speak at the hearings can sign up online at mta.info/ CBDTP. The hearings will be accessible online at mta.info/ CBDTP at these dates and times:

Thursday, Aug. 25, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 28, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 29, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition, the Environmental Justice Stakeholder Working Group has scheduled to hold its third meeting, on Friday, Aug. 19, at 1 p.m., and the Environmental Justice Technical Advisory Group will hold its fourth meeting, on Monday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m.

In addition to the hearings, there are many ways the public can make their voices heard. Beginning on Aug. 10, the agencies will collect public feedback on the Environmental Assessment online as well as via email, mail, telephone voicemail and fax.

Online: mta.info/CBDTP; email: CBDTP@mtabt.org; mail: CBD Tolling Program, 2 Broadway, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10004; phone: 646-252-7440; fax: Send to (212) 504-3148 with Attention to CBDTP Team.

Comments may also be provided to FHWA. Email: CBDTP@dot.gov and mail: FHWA – NY Division, RE: CBDTP, Leo W. O’Brien Federal Building, 11A Clinton Ave, Suite 719, Albany, NY 12207.

Attorney's Column

Court Reinstates Mechanic’s Lien to Permit Exaggeration Counterclaim to Proceed

By THOMAS H. WELBY, P.E., ESQ. and GREGORY J. SPAUN, ESQ.

This column space has warned many times that it is always a bad idea to exaggerate the amount of a mechanic’s lien. While the exaggerating lienor may succeed in getting the owner’s or upstream contractor’s attention, the negative boomerang effects—such as having the lien declared void, being prohibited any recovery on the contract, being forced to pay the costs and attorney’s fees associated with the discharge of the exaggerated lien and, most importantly, being subject to an award of damages against the lienor in the amount of the exaggeration—greatly outweigh the shock value of a big number on the lien.

There are instances where lienors try to have their proverbial cake and eat it too by 

asserting an exaggerated lien, and then withdrawing the foreclosure claim in the face of the exaggeration counterclaim. In Adria Infrastructure, LLC v Henick-Lane, Inc., an appellate court recently demonstrated the lengths that courts will go to prevent such chicanery, going so far as to not only deny a motion to amend a complaint to remove a lien foreclosure cause of action, but actually ordering the reinstatement of the lien—at a value of $0—so that it existed at the time of trial, as was required in order to pursue the exaggeration counterclaim.

Background

Prior to 2010, Henick-Lane entered into a contract with Dormitory Authority of the State of New York to serve as the general contractor on a public works project for the refurbishing of the courthouse on Staten Island. In January of 2010, Henick-Lane contracted with Adria Infrastructure to provide needed plumbing, steamfitting, and like work for the project. In 2013, Adria filed a mechanic’s lien against the project in the amount of $742,651, and in 2015 it commenced a lawsuit to foreclose that lien. Shortly thereafter, Adria filed a second mechanic’s lien against the project in the amount of $4,180,706, and it amended its complaint in the existing lawsuit to foreclose that lien.

In 2016, Adria successfully moved to reduce its lien to $2,949,538, based on a prior partial settlement. After discovery (when it became readily apparent that the liens were willfully exaggerated), Adria released its liens and moved for leave to file an amended complaint to remove its cause of action to foreclose those liens. In response, Henick-Lane moved to void the release of lien, and reduce the amount of Adria’s lien to $0.

Decision

The court denied Adria’s motion to remove its foreclosure claims, and granted Henick-Lane’s motion to effectively reinstate Adria’s lien at $0 value. In doing so, the court cited well-settled law that although amendments to claims should ordinarily be freely granted, the purpose of the proposed amendment here was to evade the willful exaggeration claim—a result which the court would not countenance. Further, because the predicate of a successful willful exaggeration claim is the existence of a valid mechanic’s lien, the court voided the release of lien and valued the lien at $0 so that the willful exaggeration claim could proceed.

On Adria’s appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed, finding, like the motion court, that the drastic remedies set forth in the Lien Law for a willfully exaggerated lien were “available only where the lien was valid in all other respects and was declared void by reason of willful exaggeration after a trial of the foreclosure action,” and that by releasing the lien, Adria attempted to deprive Henick-Lane of the ability to seek redress for the willful exaggeration.

Comment

Mechanic’s liens are a powerful tool because they not only involve the upstream contractor who is not paying, but they also attach to either the title of the property itself, or the public funds held by the municipal owner. Accordingly, in order to prevent abuse of this powerful tool, the State Legislature put in a safeguard in the form of an award against an exaggerating lienor of not only the attorney’s fees incurred in discharging the exaggerated lien, together with the interest on monies deposited to discharge the exaggerated lien (or the premium for any lien discharge bond), but an amount of money equal to the amount of the exaggeration itself. While many exaggerating lienors try to avail themselves of the shock value of an exaggerated lien while later avoiding the ramifications, the Adria Infrastructure case is a reminder of the lengths to which courts will go to prevent such chicanery—even going so far as to reinstate a mechanic’s lien for $0 in order that a lien will be in effect at time of trial, as is necessary to allow the exaggeration claim to proceed.

Contractors should be forewarned of the bitter penalties that can be imposed if they exaggerate a lien. Those on the receiving end of an exaggerated lien should also fight back. Accordingly, one should consult with construction counsel to determine what legitimate methods are available to get an upstream contractor’s or owner’s attention, such as by also asserting a bond claim, by having a copy of the lien directed at the property’s lender, or the like; or, alternatively, learn how to counter-attack the exaggerating lienor. Regardless, contractors must keep in mind that exaggerating a mechanic’s lien is always a bad idea.

About the authors: Thomas H. Welby, an attorney and licensed professional engineer, is General Counsel to the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and the Hudson Valley, and is the Founder of, and Senior Counsel to the law firm of Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, with offices located throughout the Tri-State/Greater Metropolitan Region. Gregory J. Spaun, General Counsel to the Queens and Bronx Building Association, and an attorney and a partner with the firm, co-authors this series with Mr. Welby. 

Albany Update

State Approves Transmission Line Projects

ALBANY —The New York State Public Service Commission approved on Aug. 11 rebuilding a critically important 100-mile transmission line in the North Country that is needed to meet the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The project, known as Smart Path Connect, represents an upgrade to the transmission backbone system of New York that will improve reliability throughout the state. It will complement the previously approved Smart Path and AC Transmission projects and it will reduce congestion and curtailments currently impacting renewable generation and reduce the costs of delivered power for customers. The Smart Path Connect project will eliminate existing curtailments and provide congestion cost savings of more than $447 million.

The North Country transmission line is owned and operated by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and National Grid. The project consists of rebuilding approximately 100 miles of existing 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines to either 230 kV or 345 kV along with associated substation construction and upgrades along the existing right-of-way in Clinton, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis and Oneida counties.

The project includes rebuilding all or parts of: NYPA’s Moses-Willis 1 & 2 lines, NYPA’s Willis-Patnode and Willis-Ryan lines; and National Grid’s Adirondack to Porter line, the extension of the existing 230 kV Rector Road to Chases Lake Line 10, as well as connecting to NYPA’s Smart Path (also known as Moses-Adirondack 1 & 2 or MA 1 & 2) right-of-way. The project is needed to realize the potential for renewable energy development in Northern New York.

In addition to approving the Smart Path Connect project, the PSC in separate but related actions decided the following projects with impacts in the Hudson Valley region:

Central Hudson: Approved construction of Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation’s transmission line known as the H&SB project, which calls for rebuilding 23.6-miles of transmission lines in the City of Kingston, and Towns of Ulster and Saugerties in Ulster County, and the Town of Catskill and Village of Catskill, Greene County. The rebuild will help meet the energy needs of local communities, address aging infrastructure and to enhance electric service reliability.

Sound Cable: Approved NYPA’s request to amend its plans for its Sound Cable transmission line, an existing 26-mile submarine transmission cable connecting the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. 345 kV Sprain Brook substation, located in Westchester County, to the Long Island Power Authority East Garden City substation, located in Nassau County.  This approval would enhance the reliability of the Sound Cable Project. Additionally, NYPA will install eight new underground utility vaults in Nassau County and replace fiber optic communication cables on the upland portions of the Sound Cable Project in Nassau and Westchester counties.

State Funding Will Allow Sewer Work
in Mount Vernon to Proceed

MOUNT VERNON, NY—The Mount Vernon City Council recently approved $6 million in state-funded contracts that will allow for critical work to move forward in addressing the city’s decaying water and wastewater infrastructure.

The contracts are the first approved under the state’s historic $150-million investment to address the city’s longstanding water and wastewater infrastructure issues and related public health challenges. This key milestone enables the start of priority sewer repairs and long-term planning for future wastewater projects, and connects city officials to technical, managerial and financial consultants to help guide this work.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Westchester County and City of Mount Vernon officials hailed the first contract awards of a $150-million initiative to fix the city’s long-troubled water and wastewater infrastructure.

New York State and City officials described the action as “tangible results for the city and taking a big step toward ensuring that Mount Vernon residents, businesses and visitors have access to the reliable water and sewer infrastructure systems that they deserve.

Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said, “For decades, inferior infrastructure and housing have negatively influenced learning outcomes and lifetime earning potential in communities of color and Mount Vernon is no different. This landmark investment from the state will allow the city to secure the expertise necessary to jumpstart capital projects alongside our Public Works staff to improve the long-term wealth and welfare of all Mount Vernon residents.”

The contracts are funded by state grants through the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation in partnership with the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health. The contracts provide for the following activities:

  •  $5 million to plan, design, and construct priority wastewater projects identified in the city’s Illicit Discharge Action Plan, dated June 2022. The plan identifies all the discharges to the storm sewer system that are not specifically stormwater, such as leaking sanitary sewers.
  •  $500,000 for sewer cleaning services and closed-circuit TV inspection of sewer lines to support capital improvement project planning. Televising the lines will bring visibility to what’s happening underground by identifying blockages and leaks or potential failures in the system.
  •  $500,000 for professional consultant services to provide training, technical, managerial, and financial assessments, funding application assistance, and on-site technical assistance.

 Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, “Grants from EFC will directly support Mount Vernon’s dedicated and hardworking Public Works staff for priority projects that address sewer overflows, and immediately make a difference for residents’ public health and quality of life.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Patterson-Howard and Westchester County Executive George Latimer in April announced the $150 million in water and sewer infrastructure investment in Mount Vernon. An additional $3 million in federal funding was allocated to assist Mount Vernon residents impacted by the sewer and water infrastructure crisis in the city through the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery’s Healthy Homes pilot program announced in July. The initiative, administered by GOSR and targeted to the most frequently impacted and high-risk properties, will mitigate environmental hazards and make resiliency upgrades to private property. Participating homes may be eligible for repair to wastewater damage, installation of sewage backflow prevention measures, mitigation of lead infiltration to water within homes, and other needed environmental remediation.

Report Promotes P3 to Fix LI’s ‘Blood Alley’

MELVILLE, NY—The Long Island Contractors’ Association (LICA) and New York State Rep. Michaelle Solages (D–Valley Stream) released a report in August on the use of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) in U.S. highway and bridge construction, with a possible application for the Southern State Parkway on Long Island.

The parkway, specifically the 10-mile stretch between Exit 17 in Malverne and Exit 32 in Farmingdale, nicknamed “Blood Alley” due to its hazardous conditions, which include sharp curves, short acceleration and deceleration ramps, the profusion of smaller exits, and the proximity of three major intersecting north-south highways, has long been cited as in dire need for safety improvements.

The study suggests considering a High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane throughout the 25-mile corridor and rebuilding the roadway to today’s engineering safety specifications to remedy the needs.

Despite some improvements, the design of the Southern State Parkway is largely unchanged since the first section opened in 1927, when it was built to improve beach access for automobiles traveling 35 miles per hour.

“I am proud to support the release of this study, especially because I believe the data presented will save lives. The traffic crush that occurs on the Southern State Parkway simply cannot be left as is. We must act for families across Long Island. This report provides a future roadmap to successful change,” said Assemblywoman Solages.

“As the study shows, New York, as well as many other states, have had successful P3’s that deal with major transportation needs. The Southern State Parkway should be next. Not only would potential improvements to the SSP save lives, but the work to improve conditions would create good jobs and improve traffic across Long Island. This is the sound kind of infrastructure investment we need,” said LICA Executive Marc Herbst.

Despite some improvements, the design of the parkway is largely unchanged since the first section opened in 1927, when it was built to improve beach access for automobiles traveling 35 miles per hour. The evolution of Long Island has increased this number to 200,000 daily commuters which puts their safety at risk as well as resulting in staggering wear and tear that make the parkways nearly impossible to maintain, compounding safety risks. LICA commissioned the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), a Washington, DC-based advocate for infrastructure and policy, to conduct the study. The report provides a market overview of U.S. highway and bridge public-private partnerships. It concludes with a suggested application that would help address the safety and congestion issues Long Islanders face while traveling the Southern State Parkway.

“ARTBA was proud to once again partner with LICA to produce this economic study. The data we found speaks to the drastic need for a creative solution to solve the Southern State Parkway’s many issues. A P3 relationship, like those that have existed across the country, would provide the opportunity to reduce traffic and safety issues, while increasing efficiency in travel, in a sustainable economic way,” said Alison Black, ARTBA’s senior vice president & chief economist.

There have been 15,768 accidents on the Southern State Parkway resulting in property damage, 8,443 resulting in injury, and 78 resulting in death occurred between 2012 and 2019, according to data obtained from the NYSDOT. The parkway handles nearly 200,000 vehicles daily in Nassau County.

The report details case studies of other private investment on similar projects across the country. The use of a P3 could help fund the parkway’s reconstruction with a funding stream supported through a HOT lane. Similar to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, such as the one along the Long Island Expressway, the HOT lane would include tolling that may adjust pricing based on congestion levels, with the existing six-lanes remaining toll-free.

Among nine similar P3 projects profiled in the report, the average cost was $1.62 billion (ranging from $554 million to $2.88 billion) and the average length of construction was 4.4 years (ranging from 2.3 to seven years). Every $1 billion of highway and transit investment supports 13,000 jobs for one year, according to FHWA’s most recent estimate. More than half of the employment impact often occurs outside of the construction industry due to indirect and induced effects.

 

Mid-Hudson Politicos Slam MTA’s
Congestion Pricing Plan

By JOHN JORDAN – August 22, 2022

NANUET—A group of Rockland County politicians, including County Executive Ed Day, spoke out against the controversial Congestion Pricing Plan released by the MTA and other transit agencies.

At a press conference staged at the Nanuet train station on Aug. 10, Mr. Day, State Assemblyman Michael Lawler, MTA Board Member Frank Borelli and 38th State Senate District Candidate Bill Weber, criticized the MTA and New York State over the Congestion Pricing Plan. They cited the MTA for poor service in Rockland County and charged that Rockland commuters could be paying an additional $9 to $23 to drive into the Central Business District of Manhattan.

“Connecticut residents get better service than New York State’s Rockland and Orange residents,” said Rockland County Executive Day. “Despite everything we contribute, we are never on the receiving end of these capital program investments and that needs to change now.”

They charged that many Rockland County residents are forced to drive into 

New York State Assemblyman Mike Lawler, at the podium, was joined by, from left, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, to criticize the MTA Congesting Pricing Plan at a press conference held at the Nanuet train station. Also pictured are MTA Board Member Frank Borelli and State Senate Candidate Bill Weber, far right.

Manhattan due to the scarcity of transit options and noted that the MTA offers Rockland County commuters sub-par, and often unreliable, rail service operated by NJ Transit via contract with Metro-North.

They also charged that Rockland County is the only county in the MTA region that has a value gap and a recent study placed that gap at about $40 million each year and growing. The last service increase made on the Pascack Valley Line was in 2007 and since then Rockland has only seen service cuts and higher fares, they complained.

“Two years ago, I introduced legislation in the State Legislature, Bill A.7750, to repeal congestion pricing because it is a direct tax on suburban communities and because Rockland County and West of Hudson rail service has rapidly declined in recent years,” said Rep. Lawler, who is also running for Congress this fall. “I’m proud to work with Ed, Frank, and all those who are opposed to this absurd congestion pricing plan which will add yet another cost on our already-overburdened taxpayers here in Rockland.”

Mr. Day also complained that the MTA established its Traffic Mobility Review Board without any representation of MTA’s West of Hudson service region.

“Even more abhorrent, the public hearings on the matter are being held during the last week of August, making it clear the MTA is trying to push this plan through at a time when most people may not be paying attention or able to attend,” Mr. Day added. “Hear this—Rockland is paying attention.”

Mr. Borelli of the MTA Board also complained about the lack of Rockland County representation on the Traffic Mobility Board. “I vehemently opposed it and will continue to do so unless Rockland County residents receive some benefit, including a one-seat ride into New York City, from this congestion pricing scheme. The fact is that Rockland County has been shortchanged hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the past decade, and this only accelerates that gap between taxes collected and services received.”

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus also criticized the MTA Congestion Plan. In a prepared statement to CONSTRUCTION NEWS, Mr. Neuhaus stated, “Congestion pricing is discriminatory to residents of West of Hudson counties in New York who do not have one-seat access to Manhattan. The MTA needs to make it more affordable and reliable for Orange County residents to take a train, which is their actual business, into New York City, not tax our cars.”

 

CAI Awards $65,000 in College Scholarship Grants

13 Scholars from the Hudson Valley Region Enrolled in STEM Subjects

TARRYTOWN, NY—As part of its mission to enhance the professionalism of the building and construction industries in the Lower Hudson Valley, the Construction Advancement Institute (CAI) this month awarded $65,000 in grants to 11 regional undergraduate students and two graduate students who are enrolled in Engineering, Architecture, Construction Technology, Construction Management or other related hard-science (STEM) programs this fall. CAI is the educational and advocacy organization aligned with the Building Contractors Association of Westchester & The Mid-Hudson Region, Inc.

The CAI Scholarship Committee reviewed more than two dozen scholarship applications, school transcripts and essays in August, explained CAI Chairman Mark Fante of Darante Construction Ltd. of Elmsford, NY. The awards to the 13 recipients are $5,000 grants for use during the current 2022-23 academic year.

“The money our industry raises and disburses for 

CAI scholarship recipients and committee members at an awards luncheon in early August. Seated from left, Wyatt Yates, Nicola Altomare, Andrew Fortunato, Guiliana Piazza, Massimo Fante, Cooper Mistishin and Valeriy Borkun. Standing, Ross Pepe of the BCA, grant recipient Joseph Piazza, BCA General Counsel Thomas Welby, Esq., BCA Chairman Fred Sciliano of LeChase Construction Services, CAI Chairman Mark Fante of Darante Construction, Ltd., Dominick Calgi of Calgi Construction Company, Jay Martino of Martino Contractors Inc., Jonathon Wohl of Wohl Diversified Services, grant recipient Mark Griffin and Matt Pepe of the BCA. (Not pictured, grant recipients Taylor Bruck, Daniella Mulvey, Nicholas Mulvey and Anthony Sanseverino.

college scholarships is one of several annual charity efforts performed by members of the construction contracting community and aligned labor unions to benefit families and schools both in the Hudson Valley region and nationwide,” Mr. Fante said. “Our goal is to strengthen the ranks of engineers and technologists employed at the companies that are members of our association. It’s one more way the BCA works to keep our member companies competitive and keep our local economies growing.”

At an awards luncheon held Aug. 4 in Elmsford, NY, Mr. Fante presented a profile of the program since its inception in 2009. Among the findings, 54% of CAI grant recipients have or are now attending state institutions vs. 46% going to private colleges and universities. Some 57% attend in-state programs vs. 43% out of state. The top major fields of study, in order, are: Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Construction Management, Mechanical Engineering, Architecture and Mathematics.

BCA Executive Director Matt Pepe also noted that students in Junior and Senior years (46%) received nearly equal scholarship support with students who are Freshman and Sophomores (47%), with the 7% going to graduate students.

Since its inception, the CAI Scholarship Program has awarded 106 grants to 62 students at more than 40 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. This year’s grant award of $65,000 also lifts the total scholarship awarded by CAI to $464,000 since its inception 14 academic years ago, when six grants were bestowed.

The following scholars were chosen from more than two-dozen applicants who applied for and were carefully considered by the CAI Scholarship Committee. They are:

Nicola Altomare, 22, of Yonkers, NY, is attending the Graduate School at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. Nicola is pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. He is the grandson of a member of the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 1NY.

Valeriy Borkun, 20, of White Plains, NY, is a sophomore, who will be attending CUNY Queens College. Valeriy is pursuing a degree in Economics and Construction Management. He is the son of an employee of BCA member company LeChase Construction.

Taylor Bruck, 20, of New Paltz, NY is a junior attending SUNY @ Binghamton, NY. Taylor is pursuing a degree in Computer Science. She is the daughter of a member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 137.

Massimo Fante, 20, of Sleepy Hollow, NY, is a junior attending Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Massimo is pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences. He is the son of BCA member company Darante Construction, Ltd.

Andrew Fortunato, 18, of Fairfield, CT, is a freshman who will be attending Bates College in Lewiston, ME. He is pursuing a degree in mathematics/economics. He is the grandson of a member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 137.

Mark J. Griffin, 20, of Yonkers, NY, is a junior who attends the New York State University of Buffalo. Mark is pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering Mechanical Drawing. He is the son of an associate of the BCA-member company Yonkers Contracting Co.

Cooper Mistishin, 20, of Lake Arielp, PA, is junior who attends Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. Cooper is pursuing a degree in Software Engineering. He is the son of a BCA-member company Peckham Industries.

Daniella Mulvey, 22, of Valhalla, NY, is attending graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design in Philadelphia. Daniella is pursuing a Masters degree in Architecture. She is the daughter of a BCA-member company Stratis Contracting Corp.

Nicholas Mulvey, 19, of Valhalla, NY, will be attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. Nicholas is pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. He is the son of a BCA-member company Stratis Contracting Corp.

Giuliana Piazza, 20, of Valhalla, NY, is a junior who attends Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Giuliana is pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. She is the daughter of an executive of a BCA-member company Piazza, Inc.

Joseph Piazza, 19, of Valhalla, NY, is freshman who will be attending the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. Joseph is pursuing a degree in Engineering. He is the son of an executive of a BCA-member company Piazza, Inc.

Anthony Sanseverino, 21, of Poughkeepsie, NY, is a senior who will be attending the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. Anthony is pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. He is the son of a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 137.

Wyatt Yates, 20, of Chappaqua, NY, is a junior who is attending Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Wyatt is pursuing a degree in Industrial Design. He is the grandson of a member of Carpenters Local 279.

For additional information and to request an application for next year’s grants opportunities, please contact Laurel Brunelle at 914-631-1033 or laurel@bcanys.org.

Safety Watch

Beware When Outsourcing Inspections
For Equipment Maintenance to Third Parties

By COSTAS CYPRUS, ESQ.

The matter of Secretary of Labor v. Henkels & McCoy, Inc. demonstrates how companies must heed their equipment’s manuals and be aware of the scope and extent of services provided to them from third parties to ensure proper equipment maintenance. This matter arose from a workplace tragedy involving a crew leader who was operating an improperly maintained digger derrick. The crew leader was an employee of Henkels & McCoy, Inc. (H&M), which performs general utility maintenance. The underlying incident occurred on May 2, 2018, in Jacksonville, FL where the crew leader and an apprentice were assigned to remove a utility pole when he was fatally injured.

H&M utilizes digger derricks for utility pole installation and removal. The digger derrick has a flatbed equipped with a boom and operator’s chair that sits atop a pedestal, which is attached to the truck’s frame and chassis. The digger derrick has 18 rotation 

bearing mounting bolts that connect the gear ring, on which the operator’s chair and boom sit, to the flange atop the pedestal. The digger derrick’s manufacturer in its manual instructs owners to conduct annual torque testing with a calibrated torque wrench. A warning decal is also prominently placed on the pedestal repeating this instruction and warning that failure to inspect and properly torque the rotation bearing mounting bolts can cause structural failure and lead to death or serious injury.

H&M mechanics used to perform inspections of the company’s digger derricks that also included torque testing. However, in 2007, H&M entered into an agreement with third-party contractor, Diversified Inspections/ITL Inc. to provide semi-annual inspection services on the digger derricks. From 2011 to 2016, the companies further engaged in agreements setting forth the scope of Diversified’s inspections. Upon inspection, Diversified would complete a report noting any issues with the equipment and forward to H&M. In February 2018, Diversified’s inspection reports began including a disclaimer that it was not performing torque testing.

On the incident day, the crew leader was operating one of H&M’s digger derricks from the operator’s chair, while the apprentice was working on the ground when they both heard a “creak.” The crew leader stopped operating the digger derrick. Upon investigation, the apprentice found that one of the bolts had “sheared off” and was on the bed of the truck. The apprentice proceeded to check the other bolts and then informed the crew leader that they were tight. Upon resumption of work, the apprentice heard sounds and jumped off the truck and thereafter saw the boom falling and the crew leader being ejected from the operator’s chair to the pavement below. He would tragically succumb to his injuries.

OSHA investigated the incident and issued a citation alleging a serious violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause for exposing an employee to struck-by and crushing hazards by failing to properly maintain the digger derrick’s bolts. Although, an Administrative Law Judge vacated the citation, the Administrative Law Commission reversed the decision, affirmed the citation and assessed a penalty of $12,934.

To prove a violation of the general duty clause, the Secretary (of Labor) must establish the following four elements: (1) a condition or activity in the workplace presented a hazard; (2) the employer or its industry recognized the hazard; (3) the hazard was causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm; and (4) a feasible and effective means existed to eliminate or materially reduce the hazard.

As a preliminary matter, the commission found that the manufacturer’s recall notice as to the digger derrick’s bolts had no bearing on the Secretary’s allegation in the citation as to H&M’s lack of maintenance of the digger derrick’s bolts to ensure that they are properly torqued. Therefore, it proceeded to analyze each element of the alleged violation with respect to the conditions as set forth in the citation, not in terms of the incident or design defect.

The commission found that a hazard existed as indicated by the existence of the manufacturer’s decal and as per the testimony of the Secretary’s expert who opined that failing to torque test the bolts could result in fatigue failure, which could cause the bolts to “back out and fall out” from the connection and eventually cause the digger derrick to collapse. The existence of the manufacturer’s decal prominently displayed on the equipment and its inclusion in the manual was sufficient to establish industry recognition of the hazard. The Secretary further alleged that there existed a feasible method for abatement of the hazard by torque testing the bolts, which as per their expert would uncover “worn out or deformed bolts” for replacement in a safe and controlled environment given that the manual called for replacement of all bolts if one breaks during testing.

The commission also found that H&M had constructive knowledge of the hazard since H&M could have known about the condition through reasonable diligence. The Secretary argued that H&M failed to exercise reasonable diligence as they never required Diversified to torque test the bolts during inspection nor did they negotiate a price for that service. Further, the 2016 agreement between the companies did not include the service and in the months leading to this incident, Diversified’s reports specifically stated they were not performing such testing.

Although H&M argued that the torque testing disclaimer was self-contradictory because these reports stated that the inspections were performed in accordance with ANSI and OSHA standards, which would have included torque testing, the commission found that although “the evidence relating to Diversified’s relationship with H&M and torque testing is not a model of clarity” it could have known that Diversified was not performing torque testing with the exercise of reasonable diligence. H&M had an obligation to determine how the torque testing was to be done for the safety of its employees and in fact had expertise in this area since it torque-tested the digger derrick bolts prior to retaining Diversified while H&M’s mechanic continued to exercise day-to-day control over the machines.

About the author: Costas Cyprus is an associate attorney practicing construction law and commercial litigation with Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, in White Plains, NY. He can be reached at 914-428-2100 and at ccyprus@wbgllp.com. The articles in this series do not constitute legal advice and are intended for general guidance only.

Economic Outlook

NYC’s Office Market Has Not Yet Stabilized

By MICHAEL PATON

In the broad sense, the combined economic pressures from high inflation and rising interest rates, when coupled with the experimentation of hybrid work, continues to cause a wave of uncertainty surrounding long-term office space requirements, according to a recent JLL office-real estate report.

The report by the brokerage firm expects that this trend will drive the need for greater flexibility in lease structures to ease concerns of committing to either a shortage or surplus of office space. Select high-growth companies that rapidly expanded throughout the pandemic may scale back on growth plans in the latter half of the year as they brace for potential headwinds. The flight-to-quality, mainly within a five-minute walking distance to major transit hubs, will continue to be a key driver of demand.

In New York City, the largest office market in the nation, office occupancy rates have ticked up modestly since the first quarter of 2022, according to brokerage firm Cushman and Wakefield, as companies have grappled with return-to-office plans while also focusing on talent attraction and retention. Transaction volume has remained steady since the first quarter as 5.4 million square feet was leased in the second quarter of 2022, totaling 11.5 million square feet year-to-date. Market activity stood 30% below pre-pandemic levels, but has gained momentum compared to the first half of 2021, increasing by 58%.

As companies have made lease commitments, an increasing number of tenants relocated to better quality offices or expanded their footprints within their existing buildings. Relocations and expansions accounted for 55% of total leasing activity in the second quarter, compared to 40% pre-COVID. The largest leases signed during the quarter reflected this shift, including Meta’s (a.k.a. Facebook) expansion of 300,000 sq.ft. at 770 Broadway, as well as HSBC’s leasing of 265,000 sq.ft. at 66 Hudson Blvd. and Macquarie’s leasing of 221,000 sq.ft. as the anchor tenant at 660 Fifth Ave.—both of which were U.S. headquarters relocations. Manhattan office vacancy reached its highest level recorded in more than two decades at 15.8%, primarily driven by large occupier withdrawals within the tech and creative industries.

On a more positive note, Cushman & Wakefield also found New York City is a rapidly growing recipient of life sciences investment capital, with venture capital funding in 2021 climbing to $6.2 billion—the highest level on record and a 52.6% increase over 2020. Growth in the life sciences sector has directly translated into increased demand for lab space across major markets including NYC. The life sciences industry has steadily expanded its footprint in NYC over the past several years with state and city incentives continuing to encourage developers to build labs for medical research. In 2021, the city government announced a doubling of its investment into the sector—$1 billion—to accelerate its growth: $430 million for new laboratory and incubator construction; $450 million for non-profit facilities; and $20 million for internship programs and start-up ventures. Within the next five years, Cushman & Wakefield expects 2.6 million square feet of life sciences space to be delivered, including Alexandria Center’s North Tower, Botanic Properties’ 270,000-sq.ft. redevelopment of 24-02 Queens Plaza South, and Taconic Partners’ 399,000-sq.ft. redevelopment of 125 West End Ave.

Nationally, life sciences employment has continued to fare better than the U.S. job market with year-over-year growth up 7.9% and 11.4% in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Since 2011, total U.S. employment growth has averaged 1.0% per year, while life sciences employment has increased by 6.6% per year on average. The top 10 life sciences metro areas account for 45% of the U.S. life sciences talent pool led by Boston, NYC-NJ, San Francisco, Philadelphia and San Diego.

Investors and developers worldwide continue to grow their presence in NYC as it has one of the most educated and diverse talent pools in the nation along with first class academic and medical institutions and premier venture capital ecosystems. Since 2001, New York has experienced a 144% increase in life sciences employment, with the employment and talent pool reaching 58,200 current and potential employees.

Looking at New York City’s overall economy, total employment has reached about 4.5 million jobs, the highest level recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. But the big news is in New York City’s multifamily markets: the flip side is that inflation has put upward pressure on residential rents. According to Douglas Elliman, rents in Manhattan are reaching new highs due to high demand and the steep rise in inflation with a median rental price of $3,700 and $80.66 per square foot, a 24 % increase in rent across New York City. Consequently, economists expect predominantly free-market and luxury residential rental buildings in New York City to remain attractive throughout the year as rents and rates balance each other.

About the author: Michael J. Paton is a portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management L.P. He joined Tocqueville in 2004. He manages balanced portfolios and is a member of the fixed-income team. He can be reached at (212) 698-0800 or by email at MPaton@tocqueville.com.

White Plains Unveils 6.8 MW Community Solar Portfolio

WHITE PLAINS—The City of White Plains and DSD Renewables (DSD) have completed the construction of a nine-site, 6.8-megawatt (MW) community solar portfolio, the largest municipal solar energy deployment in Westchester.

The portfolio is expected to generate 8,100 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy annually, tripling the amount of solar energy produced in Westchester County and enough to power more than 700 homes each year. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) was the city’s energy advisor for the project.

The portfolio consists of canopy, rooftop, and ground-mount installations at four parking garages, Gillie Park, the Ebersole Ice Rink, Gedney Way Recycling Facility, Water Storage Site and the Sanitation Complex. Energy 

The solar installation at the City of White Plains’ Ebersole Ice Rink.

storage systems totaling 1.76 MW / 8 MWh were also installed at the city’s Recycling Facility and the Shapham Place parking garage.

White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach said, “The city partnered with New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Distributed Solar Development (DSD) to create a successful 6.8 MW community solar portfolio that will not only benefit residents today, but future generations. Public-private partnerships will drive the proliferation of clean-energy projects through New York State creating a robust renewable energy market. I am grateful to NYPA and DSD for their counsel and collaboration during this project.”

He added, “We are in a climate crisis and are obligated to recognize the urgency and take deliberate action to build a sustainable, resilient planet. The City of White Plains will continue to serve as a sustainability leader by investing in and implementing renewable energy initiatives that will meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The city, as well as residents and local businesses subscribed to the community solar project, will receive a 10% discount for credits applied to their energy bill. Between energy cost savings and lease payments for hosting the systems, the installations are expected to deliver approximately $1 million in value annually to the City of White Plains.

NYPA is the acting energy advisor and is providing oversight on the project. NYPA also helped the city with the competitive bid process to select a qualified vendor for the comprehensive city-wide project.

“The New York Power Authority is pleased to have played a key role in helping the City of White Plains create an expansive, unique portfolio of solar and storage systems that offer renewable energy to reduce the region’s carbon footprint,” said Justin E. Driscoll, Interim President and CEO of NYPA. “As the commercial hub of Westchester County, White Plains is setting an example for other communities looking to develop alternative clean energy options. Hopefully other municipalities will follow suit and help our state further advance its bold climate action goals.”

The projects incorporated several infrastructure improvements, such as a new roof for the Ebersole Ice Rink and an innovative enclosed solar canopy storage area for the water department, which avoided significant capital spending by the city. The canopies across many sites feature a proprietary integrated water management system that manages water from rain and snow melt.

At the Gedney Way Recycling Facility, DSD’s canopy team designed the first floating foundation canopy mounted on a landfill cap. Additionally, two canopy systems at the site incorporate sidewalls to store and protect city equipment.

Boston-based Perch Energy will manage the community solar subscriptions.

Financial Management

Codeword Green: Real Estate Sector and Partners Commits to ESG or Face Carbon Emissions Fines

By PHILLIP ROSS, CPA, CGMA, PARTNER

The time has come, the real estate industry has prioritized ESG reporting and sustainability efforts. ESG—the acronym for environmental, sustainability and governance—is an overarching framework that aids stakeholders in understanding how an organization manages risks and opportunities around sustainability issues.

Though ESG metrics have not traditionally been included in financial reporting, companies have begun to make disclosures in their annual reports. As a matter of importunity, it’s widely known among industry leaders in commercial real estate and development 

throughout the world’s largest cities, that properties will likely not hold their value over the next 10 years unless they go green and adhere to ESG standards and compliance. It’s also the case that sustainability is being factored into lending and financing for properties. It’s only fitting then that construction, engineering, and architecture firms will follow suit and be held to the same standards and goals in prioritizing sustainability efforts.

Greater Energy Efficiency And Green Standards Initiated by Nation’s Largest Office Market

New York, as the world’s largest real estate market and the nation’s largest office market, became the first city to take actionable steps in sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. In 2009, Law 84 was enacted and required buildings to measure and report their energy use. The law represented a sweeping effort towards becoming a more energy efficient city. Architects and engineers led the way as professionals in these industries were originally consulted to develop benchmarks and criteria for LEED certification standards, or Leadership in Energy and Building Design. Today, according to data from the U.S. Green Building Council Data, approximately 40% of Manhattan’s total office space has achieved some level of LEED certification—more than 170 million square feet, according to the US Green Building Council (https://www.usgbc.org/articles/study-finds-accelerated-growth-leed-manhattan-office-market).

Improving Energy Efficiency is the First Step In ESG Implementation

Real estate and commercial buildings contribute approximately 40% of the world’s total carbon emissions, according to the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.

At this pace, how will goals of reducing carbon emissions and increasing sustainability be achieved? Improving energy efficiency is the foundation and first step in the process. If you first improve the efficiency of a building or process, you automatically improve the value of the asset by lowering costs and decreasing the overall carbon footprint.

To begin facilitating that process, locally in NYC, properties that are at least 25,000 square feet will be required to cut their own carbon footprints by 2024 or else be fined $268 for every metric ton above the limit. The requirement comes under the legislation of NYC’s Local Law 97, which currently impacts approximately 50,000 commercial and residential buildings in New York City. The law will place additional restrictions on other types of buildings by 2030, with the eventual goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050.

AEC Will Play a Major Role In Achieving Goals In ESG

Successful AEC firms recognize that building with greater efficiency in mind and using technologies developed to achieve these goals will be at a distinct advantage over the competition. Those who act now will play a major role in shaping the industry and future efforts towards lowering carbon emissions and achieving net-zero, since steps towards implementation will come directly from those involved in construction and building design. This includes plans to retrofit older buildings as well as future construction for new, Class A building projects.

Contractors and A&E firms will become increasingly more instrumental in estimating costs and working through construction plans with owners and occupiers of buildings being newly built or upgraded. AEC industry participants will need to analyze and design architectural plans that will be used to determine the most efficient energy models. Utilities, electrical plans and mechanical engineering drawings will all contribute to planning stages in developing models that can best manage energy usage.

AEC Firms are the Bedrock Of Urban Sustainability And Social Impact In the ESG Equation

Today, AEC firms can align with urban sustainability plans for the environmental and social impact within the community. AEC firms can lead beyond site design and endeavor to create a positive social impact through architectural design and building projects that include master-designed objectives for promoting the health and well-being of the surrounding community. Examples include plans that ensure access to clean water or a design that includes future development for health care, community space, waste disposal and other amenities that create a more harmonious environment. Forward-thinking developers together with AEC professionals can continuously adapt to more inclusive and sustainable development projects. AEC professionals are especially adept at taking plans from concept to completion, and will play a key role in future sustainability projects.

Many AEC firms have adopted more inclusive hiring practices and have developed DE&I plans that have been instituted firm-wide so that every business unit can participate. The new form of governance has great potential for attracting and retaining talent which is a win-win.  This strategy ultimately benefits firms and their long-term planning as well as overcoming more recent challenges such as labor shortages and other issues that have been an impediment to AEC as a whole.

AEC Organizations And Financial Advisors Can Develop Standardized Reporting Practices

As ESG is based on new forms of stakeholder capitalism, AEC firms will be involved in developing the context and framework for integrating relevant data. Additionally, governance and the complexity of bidding and around contracts only act to amplify the need for more established accounting and data aggregation methodologies. ESG programs will only be effective inasmuch as the impacts and data can be accurately communicated to stakeholders and regulatory bodies. As such, a successful data integration will require a business strategy that begins with ESG at the core. CPAs, as trusted financial advisors, will be a key partner in working together with these AEC firms to develop and refine financial reporting protocols that are best aligned with firms and their ESG goals.

Construction managers and others will rely on these very protocols to guide financing options, avoid fines, and to analyze scenarios around short and longer-term cost savings. The benefit will be delivered to owners, occupiers, developers and portfolio managers.

AEC firms will be instrumental in terms of strategizing entire building portfolio planning around reducing carbon emissions. Those firms that recognize this now will be in the middle of creating and building carbon free and energy efficient smart cities and their buildings as well as being a participant in economic and social value creation.

About the author: Phillip Ross, CPA, CGMA is an Accounting and Audit Partner and Chair of the Construction Industry Group at Anchin, Block & Anchin, LLP. For more construction industry thought leadership and content, log on to www.anchin.com.

Medline Opens in Orange County
Largest Distribution Center Yet

MONTGOMERY, NY—Medline opened its nearly 1.4 million-sq.ft. distribution center on Aug. 1, which is touted as the largest building of its kind in Orange County, according to Orange County Partnership President and CEO Maureen Halahan. It cost more than $120 million to build.

The new Medline property now handles the distribution of thousands of individual products and devices shipped to healthcare providers such as hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory surgery centers, hospices and physicians’ offices. The Montgomery facility is expected to handle more than $1 billion in annual orders. Medline is also in the process of completing a 7.4 megawatt (MW) solar panel installation at its Montgomery property.

In exchange for Medline’s commitment to retain 344 jobs and create 266 new jobs, Empire State Development has awarded the company up to $10 million in Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits. Medline relocated its operations from a 500,000-square-foot facility in Wawayanda which it had outgrown.

“Medline is a long-standing corporate citizen of the Hudson Valley, and we are honored to have the opportunity to celebrate the opening of our Montgomery facility with our 700-plus employees and community members that have supported us throughout the years. Thank 

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus praised Medline’s commitment to Orange County.

you for joining us on this special day,” said Tom Fallon, director of operations for Medline’s Montgomery distribution center.

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said at the ribbon-cutting event, “This project will create hundreds of jobs for Orange County residents, and I know that Medline’s distribution center will thrive in Montgomery. Medline’s expansion will also increase the company’s distribution capacity. As we re-establish a post-COVID economy, we need to take steps to manufacture in America and have solid distribution networks. Medline is helping to fulfill an important part of that critical effort.”

“The Medline project has checked all the boxes when it comes to being environmentally sustainable, creating sound jobs with benefits, beautifying Montgomery’s industrial corridor, and keeping our hospitals and healthcare facilities fully stocked and functioning even during the most critical of times,” added Ms. Halahan. “They are a company with dignity and integrity and this expansion not only saved hundreds of jobs it created hundreds more.”

Brian Maher, Montgomery Town Supervisor, singled out Medline’s assistance, both large and small, to the town during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Medline has gone above and beyond to support the greater Town of Montgomery community in a very short period of time. When the pandemic hit, more than $80,000 was diverted to assist small businesses with grants, hundreds of thousands of dollars was donated to support several community projects—and just last week Medline offset travel expenses so the Montgomery Little League Softball Section Champions could compete in the State Finals.”

He added, “On top of becoming one of the top economic engines and employers in the town and county, Medline continues to find new and creative ways to support our community. We are proud that Medline has made a home in Montgomery and we look forward to growing our relationship for many years to come.”

The Montgomery distribution center is a part of Medline’s $2-billion Healthcare Resilience Initiative, a national capital expenditure campaign that included new distribution centers, manufacturing capabilities and information technology (IT) upgrades to further their commitment to delivering superior customer service. Medline supports small businesses and plans to spend approximately $1 million annually with local vendors for maintenance, upkeep and operations support of the Montgomery distribution center.

Medline, which is headquartered in Northfield, IL, serves the nation’s top healthcare systems, operating more than 50 distribution centers and over 20 manufacturing facilities across North America. Medline distributes 300,000 unique medical products, including more than 65,000 manufactured by Medline.

The project was not without controversy, however. During the approval process, Medline opted out of securing benefits from the Montgomery Industrial Development Agency after receiving criticism from some opponents, including State Sen. James Skoufis. There was some union participation in the project, though the company did reduce earlier local worker participation in the development that were tied to financial incentives.

LOW BIDS

ECCO III, ELQ, Lancaster, Mohegan, Transit Construction Win NYSDOT Jobs

ALBANY—The New York State Department of Transportation recently announced the selection of five apparent low bidders for work in the Hudson Valley/New York City areas.

ELQ Industries Inc. of New Rochelle, NY was the lowest of five bidders at $4,395,502.32 for extending acceleration lane including bridge widening over the Hutchinson River Parkway in Westchester.

Lancaster Development & Tully/dba L&T of Richmondville, NY was the lowest of five bidders at $6,240,541.20 for Route 9W parapet wall repair, Town of Highlands in Orange.

Mohegan Associates Inc. of Carmel, NY was the lowest of three bidders at $15,192,865.44 for rustic guide rail replacement at various federal aid eligible locations in Orange and Ulster.

Transit Construction Corp. of Yonkers, NY was the lowest of five bidders at $2,790,000 for repair/replace catch basins in towns of Mount Pleasant, New Castle, Yorktown and North Castle and the Village of Briarcliff Manor in Westchester.

ECCO III Enterprises Inc. of Yonkers, NY was the lowest of three bidders at $4,404,501 for structures, where & when, at various locations in Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Ulster and Westchester.

Nuco Painting, Gianfia Secure DPW Projects

WHITE PLAINS—The Westchester County Department of Public Works recently announced the selection of two apparent low bidders for work on its facilities in the county. Nuco Painting Corp. of Islandia, NY was the lower of two bids at $6,286,000 for water storage tank rehabilitation, County Water District No. 3 in the Town of Mount Pleasant, NY. Gianfia Corp. of Hawthorne, NY was the lowest of eight bidders at $3,989,602.50 for rehabilitation of Commerce Street, C.R. No. 29 from Stevens Avenue to Liberty Street, a distance of 1.23 Miles, Mount Pleasant, NY.

State Funding for Clean Water Abounds

$4.2B Environmental Bond Act, Other Programs on Tap

By GEORGE DRAPEAU III and JOHN JORDAN – July 25, 2022

TARRYTOWN  — As the old expression goes, after the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. But there’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge before then, including Election Day on Tues., Nov. 8, when the state can move forward with the unprecedented $4.2 billion “Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act.”

While statewide environmental bonds have a perfect record of passage in New York since the start of the 20th century, this year’s proposal to voters is not a given, said New York State Assemblyman Christopher Burdick who sits on the state Assembly Environmental Committee. Discussing the voter referendum at a recent meeting of the Construction Industry Council in Westchester, Rep. Burdick expressed concerns that voters will not support the measure due to the hundreds of billions of dollars of debt recently accumulated by pandemic relief and the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill.

The state’s efforts to upgrade its sewer and wastewater infrastructure will get a major boost if voters approve this November the $4.2-billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act.

“We need to organize a ‘Vote Yes’ campaign for the bond act, and we need to begin it immediately,” he told CONSTRUCTION NEWS. While attending an annual summer gathering in mid July hosted by the CIC in Scarborough, NY, he cautioned, “This is not a campaign we can take for granted. Voters must become better informed about the great improvements to water quality, flood control and environmental protection this bond act will make possible. This is an historic step forward toward building a climate-resilient New York.”

As a member of the state Assembly, he also pointed to the significant funding now available through the current state budget, which includes a record $400 million Environmental Protection Fund to support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, improve agricultural resources to promote sustainable agriculture, protect New York’s water sources, advance conservation efforts, and provide recreational opportunities for residents.

The state budget also included another $500 million in clean water infrastructure funding, bringing the state’s total clean water investment to $4.5 billion since 2017.

On July 7, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the availability of $255 million in state grants for critical water infrastructure projects that will protect public health and the environment through the state’s Water Infrastructure Improvement, Intermunicipal Grant, and State Septic System Replacement programs. The announcement was made in Suffolk County where $20 million from the state’s Septic Replacement Program will help address more than 2,000 substandard or failing septic systems and cesspools that cause significant water quality impairments.

“Every New Yorker deserves access to safe, clean water,” Gov. Hochul said. “New York will continue to prioritize resources for projects that provide reliable, clean water for communities across the state while creating good-paying jobs and spurring economic development.”

To date, more than $400 million in state water grants has been awarded to projects that address emerging contaminants. The state’s goal is to provide grants to all communities that need help in their efforts to tackle emerging contaminants in their drinking water.

As part of the ongoing statewide effort to confront PFAS pollution and help communities that are on the frontlines of PFAS contamination, this round of funding continues to prioritize grant awards for drinking water projects that address emerging contaminants. Critical wastewater projects are also eligible for grants.

The Environmental Facilities Corporation administers the WIIA and IMG programs working closely with the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation. The state has awarded more than $1.76 billion in water infrastructure grants through EFC since 2015, including $638 million announced in April. To date, EFC has awarded 834 WIIA and IMG grants to 488 communities.

Local units of government are eligible to apply for funding for:

  •  WIIA grant awards that will fund up to 25% of an eligible wastewater project’s total cost, up to $25 million;
  •  WIIA grant awards that will fund 60% of net eligible project costs for projects that address emerging contaminants above the state determined Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), with no cap on the total award;
  •  WIIA grant awards for all other drinking water projects will be awarded up to 60% of net project costs up to a maximum of $5 million;
  •  IMG awards that will fund up to 40% of an eligible wastewater or drinking water project for communities that share services, up to $30 million.

An additional $30 million is now available through the state Septic System Replacement Program to support home and small business owners in the targeted replacement of aging and sub-standard septic systems and removal of cesspools in communities statewide.

The Septic Replacement Program improves water quality by encouraging and incentivizing homeowners’ replacement of cesspools and failing or inadequate septic systems around a waterbody known to be impaired by septic system discharges. DEC and DOH identified priority geographic areas where property owners are eligible to participate based on the presence of a sole-source aquifer used for drinking water, known water quality impairment linked to failing septic systems, and/or the ability for septic system upgrades to mitigate water quality impairments. EFC will be providing detailed information about how to access the funding to counties with identified priority geographic areas. DEC and DOH will re-evaluate priority geographic areas in future rounds of funding.

New York State will provide funds to counties to reimburse eligible property owners for a portion of the cost of replacing cesspools and septic systems and installing more environmentally effective systems. Eligible property owners can be reimbursed 50% of eligible costs up to $10,000.

Counties may also set graduated incentive reimbursement rates for septic system projects to maximize program participation and pollution reduction goals. A list of eligible counties and priority geographic areas within those counties is available on EFC’s website at https://efc.ny.gov/septic-replacement.

EFC President & CEO Maureen A. Coleman said the state is supporting local governments with grants as municipal utilities tackle compounding infrastructure issues. These include modernizing aging systems, addressing emerging contaminants, removing lead pipes and instituting resiliency measures that mitigate climate change impacts.

“The WIIA and IMG grant programs have saved recipients over $2 billion in potential financing costs associated with drinking water and wastewater projects since the program’s inception,” Ms. Coleman added.

In late June, the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation approved nearly $70 million to assist 11 municipalities advance critical infrastructure projects that protect or improve water quality. The short-term financings and previously announced grants approved by the EFC Board of Directors will provide capital to local governments to help get shovels in the ground for critical projects. The board also approved various long-term financing conversions that provide interest relief for completed projects and help reduce debt for municipalities.

Of the project funding announced on June 23, nearly $40 million in financial assistance will support a $352-million project for Oneida County in the Mohawk Valley to upgrade a water pollution control plant and pump stations, as well as three Hudson Valley projects.

The board’s approvals include financings through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and already announced Water Infrastructure Improvement Grants (WIIA). To learn more about water infrastructure funding opportunities, visit www.efc.ny.gov.

In addition to the Oneida County project, the Clean Water Project funding included approximately $10.2 million in long-term, interest-free financing for the Town of Catskill in Greene County to plan, design and construct a wastewater collection and conveyance system to serve the newly formed Leeds and Jefferson Heights Sewer District, and to install mechanical screening at the village-owned wastewater treatment plant. A $3.15-million WIIA grant was previously authorized for this project.

The EFC also approved $264,990 in short-term, interest-free financing and $41,260 WIIA grant for a chlorine disinfection system at the Roscoe Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Town of Rockland in Sullivan County.

The City of Middletown in Orange County also secured $2,258,863 in long-term, interest-free financing and a $359,284 CWSRF grant for pump replacement.

ECCO III Enterprises Lauded for $19.8M Project

State, Local Officials Celebrate Completion Of Ravensdale Road Bridge Project over SMRP

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, NY  — On Friday, July 8, New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez was joined by state and local officials to mark the completion of the Ravensdale Road bridge over the Saw Mill River Parkway in the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County.

The press conference, staged on the adjoining bike and pedestrian exercise path on the east side of the parkway, attracted a host of state and local officials, community leaders, and industry representatives, including officials from ECCO III Enterprises, Inc., of Yonkers, NY, who was the contractor on the $19.8-million project.

The new bridge improves travel and enhances safety and resiliency along a vital link between the village and the Westchester communities to the east of the Saw Mill River Parkway. The project also provides new and improved pedestrian and bicycle access to the popular South County Trailway, which also runs underneath the span.

The Ravensdale Road Bridge is the only crossing over the Saw Mill River Parkway within the village. The project, which began in the spring of 2020, replaced the original two-span structure that was built in 1945 with a new, single span bridge featuring six-foot shoulders and five-foot sidewalks on each side to better accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. The new bridge also features a concrete barrier, decorative railings and ornamental bridge lighting that was suggested by the community.

From left, Hastings Village Trustee Morgan Fleisig, New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Westchester Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, New York State DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez, Town of Greenburgh Councilwoman Ellen P. Hendrickx, Town of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul J. Feiner, New York State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, and DOT Region 8 Director Lance MacMillian.
Photo credit/GEORGE DRAPEAU III

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The completion of this project is a huge step forward for the Village of Hastings-on-Hudson and exemplifies the New York State Department of Transportation’s commitment to work together with local communities to not just build back our aging infrastructure but to build it back better and create modern transportation systems that are more resilient and benefit all modes of travel. This new bridge along Ravensdale Road will ensure that a key access road to the village remains open for many years to come while also providing improved access to a popular local trail system that will expand opportunities for pedestrians, hikers and bikers.”

As part of the project, the State Department of Transportation also rehabilitated an abandoned bridge located just to the north of the Ravensdale Road Bridge and used it to create a first-ever, direct link between the village and the South County Trailway. The rehabilitated bridge is now part of a new, 900-foot-long access path that connects to the trailway from the Ravensdale Road/Jackson Avenue and State Route 9A (Saw Mill River Road) intersection.

The South County Trailway runs through Westchester County between Yonkers and Greenburgh, connecting Van Cortlandt Park and Tarrytown Lakes Park. It’s part of a four-trail system that includes Old Putnam Trail to the south and the North County Trailway and Putnam Trailway to the north. They combine for 45 miles of mostly off-road travel along an old railroad corridor.

A new drainage system was also constructed to help safeguard the environment and prevent flooding along Ravensdale Road. A stormwater pond was also created to reduce flooding, erosion and pollution from rain events. New landscaping—including approximately 100 deciduous trees, shrubs, and plants – was added and a landscaped berm was also constructed to help protect area residents from roadway noise.

In order to reduce the project’s environmental impacts, multiple recycling techniques were employed during construction, including the reuse of granular materials for walls and various other needs in the project scope. Concrete from the old bridge was also used in the construction of a ramp for another project in Westchester County.

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “The completion of this new bridge at the start of the summer season will allow families a safe space for pedestrian and bicycle access, while connecting communities and supporting businesses in the surrounding areas. I am proud of the work that was done to secure this critical investment for Hastings-on-Hudson and Westchester County and was glad to help secure funding for this project. It is an investment that our community will enjoy for decades to come. I will continue fighting for local infrastructure projects that continue to enrich our district.”

Assemblymember Thomas Abinati added, “I am proud to be part of the New York team led by Governor Kathy Hochul that is rebuilding our roads and bridges. The new Ravensdale Road Bridge is a model for connecting communities. It is a modern appropriately styled structure that enhances safety and eases pedestrian and bicycle access to the South County Trailway. It represents $19.45 million well spent.”

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Breaks Ground On $1.8-Billion Expansion in Westchester

JOHN JORDAN – July 25, 2022

TARRYTOWN  — The specter of the largest business expansion project in the history of Westchester County became official on June 22 when scores of public and private industry leaders gathered here to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of Regeneron Pharmaceutical Inc.’s $1.8-billion expansion project at its Tarrytown/Greenburgh corporate headquarters campus.

The biotechnology company has committed to create at least 1,000 new full-time, high-skill jobs in the Mid-Hudson region over the next five years.

Tarrytown serves as Regeneron’s corporate and research and development headquarters, and the expansion plan now underway includes the addition of new laboratories, preclinical manufacturing and process development suites and office space. The project will encompass the design, construction and fit out of up to eight buildings, three parking garages and a central utility plant totaling approximately 900,000 square feet.

New York State’s Empire State Development is supporting the project with up to $100 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits, consistent with the company’s hiring goals. Regeneron considered several potential sites in the tri-state area before 

Regeneron President and Chief Executive Officer Leonard S. Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D. at the official groundbreaking of the pharmaceutical firm’s massive expansion project at its corporate headquarters complex in Westchester County.

deciding to expand in the Mid-Hudson region. The company has stated that it is also receiving incentives from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency and other sources totaling approximately $172.9 million.

Regeneron Pharmaceutical’s expansion plans in Westchester were detailed in paperwork filed with the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency earlier this year in connection with incentives it was seeking for its investment at the Tarrytown/Greenburgh complex.

The company has already begun construction on its Parcel D expansion project at its headquarters campus property in Greenburgh that is valued at $480 million. The Parcel D project involves the construction of a new two-story, 207,000-square-foot building, along with a parking structure and other infrastructure.

The firm now will also move forward with its $1.394-billion “Loop Road” project in the Town of Greenburgh involving the construction of eight new buildings, three parking garages and a central utility plant totaling approximately 724,000 square feet at 777 Old Saw Mill River Road. The development will be located on a portion of the 100 acres the company acquired for $72 million in 2015.

The Parcel D and Loop Road projects total approximately 921,000 square feet of space and a total investment of $1.87 billion.

The proposed Loop Road capital investment would serve to locate and staff multiple new R&D laboratories, administrative buildings, and amenities. Regeneron, which currently employs more than 3,300 full time employees at its corporate headquarters facilities in Tarrytown, stated that the project would retain 250 jobs at its campus property in Greenburgh, Mount Pleasant and Tarrytown and add another 700 new jobs at the property.

The construction of the project will result in approximately 2,500 construction jobs. In connection with the project, a study commissioned by the Westchester County IDA estimates that the construction project would generate $208.8 million in direct spending in Westchester County.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Westchester County is proud to be home to New York’s largest biotech company—Regeneron. Regeneron is growing and shaping the future of the biopharmaceutical industry and in doing so is adding full-time and high-skill jobs. I thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her leadership and foresight in supporting the expansion with up to $100 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. We all look forward to seeing what Regeneron will do next.”

Town of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said, “The expansion of Regeneron’s campus is the most significant economic development project in the Town of Greenburgh’s history. Additionally, Regeneron is making significant breakthroughs and advancements in the field of life science and improving the lives of New Yorkers in the process.”

Town of Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi said, “The Town of Mount Pleasant is proud to have Regeneron as a major manufacturer and biotech facility in our town that has constantly and successfully expanded over the years offering many job opportunities and broadened our tax base. We look forward to their future growth and look forward to partnering with them for an even brighter future ahead.”

The project is expected to take place in two phases over six years, with construction expected to be completed in 2027. The direct and indirect fiscal benefit to state and local government is estimated to be more than $283.3 million, with a nearly $2-billion estimated economic benefit to New York State.

Regeneron was founded in 1988 in New York City; the following year, New York State invested $250,000 in the company. Today, Regeneron is the largest biotech company in New York State and one of the largest and most productive in the world.

Regeneron President and Chief Executive Officer Leonard S. Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., said, “We have been a proud New York company since our beginning over three decades ago, during which time we have invented industry-leading drug discovery technology and developed 10 FDA-approved or authorized medicines entirely in our own laboratories. New York State has played an important role in our success by consistently recognizing the value of innovation, fostering an inclusive and dynamic biomedical industry, and helping to attract top talent to the region.”

COMMENTARY

Gov. Hochul Must Reject Workers’ Comp Changes; Measure Will Disincentivize Workers, Drive Up Costs

By KEN FUIRST and JASON SCHICIANO

Workers’ Compensation Bill A1118/S768, which passed both houses in Albany last month, is a one-two punch in the face of insurance reform in New York State. It would drive up the costs of insurance and it fails to address some of the key shortcomings the New York insurance market still faces.

We urge Gov. Kathy Hochul not to sign the measure as is, and to call for changes that address the matter of temporary total disability that this legislation was intended to do in a more practical and cost-effective way.

One of the key goals of the Workers’ Compensation system is to help an injured worker return to work. For example, if a warehouse worker has injured a shoulder, and can no

longer lift heavy objects, then a different suitable job should be found for them like lifting smaller boxes or operating the forklift or an office job. If a secretary develops Carpal Tunnel and can no longer type, maybe they can answer phone calls. Or what if a salesperson gets hurt and can no longer drive to appointments, can they get an inside sales job?

Under the current Workers’ Compensation system, an injured employee who can’t return to his/her pre-injury employment must seek new work within his/her medical restrictions. That worker will be paid wage replacement benefits so that if the new role has a lower salary, the WC insurance company makes up some of the difference.

The new bill on the governor’s desk eliminates that requirement to seek work. WC Bill S768 will now place an injured worker on Total Disability if they cannot perform the exact responsibilities they were doing prior to the injury. So in the examples we just listed, those employees will now collect full WC benefits, possibly for the rest of their lives, just because they cannot do exactly what they used to do. Put another way, someone with a 5% degree of disability will now be allowed to collect 100% of the benefits.

PROBLEM 1

Total Disability pays the Employee more than Partial Disability, so this law will drive up insurance premiums.

Examples

Temporary Injury: An injured worker breaks an arm and is assessed a 20% Scheduled Loss of Use of that arm. Assume it met the maximum $1,125 a week cap (66% of current earnings). Assume also that this type of injury under current Workers’ Comp benefits provides 52 weeks of disability with the first half defined as Temporary Total Disability while at home healing, and then the second half is Temporary Partial Disability when returning for light work. Based on the current rules, they would be eligible for 62.4 weeks and collect $70,228. But if this claim instead was classified as Total Disability, they would be eligible for an additional 20 weeks of compensation, or an extra $22,509—a 32% increase.

Permanent Injury: A 54-year-old claimant with a life expectancy of 28.4 years gets classified with a 50% Scheduled Loss of Use for a Permanent Partial Disability. This person would be entitled to 50% of their Temporary Total Disability rate for 300 weeks, totaling $168,819. But now that this will not be a Partial Disability, this will be a Total Disability, which could qualify for lifetime benefit that would be $1,662,079—10 times the cost.

PROBLEM 2

Total Disability Payments are paid 100% by the insurance company thereby driving up rates!

 Example

In the current system, if the employee is classified Partially Disabled at 96% or higher and comes back to work and only lifts light boxes, he is kept whole for 10 years. His employer pays his salary and the insurance company makes up two-thirds of the difference for the lower wage. But if the employee presents medical evidence that he can’t lift heavy boxes he qualifies for Total Disability. The employee will no longer be working, but he still is paid through WC, even though he are at home watching TV. And now his total compensation is paid for by the insurance company.

PROBLEM 3

Lawyers will now be involved to prove that the injured worker is not able to do exactly what they were doing beforehand, driving up rates!

 Background: Workers’ Compensation insurance was created in the early 1900s to help injured employees get the medical care they needed and collect some portion of lost wages while they recover. Prior to the creation of WC, the employee would have to sue their employer for creating an unsafe environment. The employer would counter sue the employee for being careless and causing their own injury. The only one that would benefit would be the attorneys. WC was an efficient means to help the employee while keeping costs down, without the need for assigning blame.

In 2007, then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer passed significant WC Reform Legislature. Prior to 1997, the Workers’ Comp benefit available to the injured employee was two-thirds of their average weekly wage up to a maximum of $400 per week. Obviously, that was not enough money for someone in NY to live on. So it was changed to 66% of their weekly earnings, and the maximum was tied to the NY average weekly wage. In 2022, an injured employee can collect 66% of his prior weekly wages to a max of $1,125 a week.

This was very helpful to the employee and labor was strongly in favor of this. But to keep WC costs from escalating, the bill put a cap on the most expensive aspect of WC benefits. It capped the benefits for someone that was Permanently Partially disabled to 10 years. Labor believed this was a fair compromise.

Costs will increase with this new law because of litigation in most cases. Currently there are set medical guidelines determining payouts. Now the person’s specific job duties within his particular company will be used to determine whether it is Total or Partial disabled.

Example

The warehouse worker has an injured shoulder and can no longer reach the top shelf to place boxes. Current WC laws have set benefits based on the exact medical situation. A dislocated shoulder pays one amount while a sprained shoulder pays another. It is clearly defined, but now the injured worker will hire a lawyer to state he cannot do exactly what he used to do. The Workers’ Compensation Board will now have to evaluate every employment situation. Was he in a warehouse that stored heavy objects or pillows? How many shelves can he not reach? This will add significant costs to the system.

The 2007 Workers’ Comp reform has done a great job in balancing out giving injured workers higher compensation while controlling the employer’s insurance costs. If injured employees are no longer incentivized to accept a different role and can collect more benefits as a result, the whole cost structure of the Workers’ Comp system will be upended.

About the authors: Ken Fuirst and Jason Schiciano are CoPresidents of Levitt-Fuirst Insurance, headquartered in Tarrytown, NY. To contact, call 914-457-4200 or visit www.levittfuirst.com.

Attorney's Column

Court Permits Petition To Extend Lien on Last Day

By THOMAS H. WELBY, P.E., ESQ. and GREGORY J. SPAUN, ESQ.

It is generally known throughout the construction industry that a mechanic’s lien, once filed, is good for one year from the date of its filing. Under many circumstances, a lien extension cannot be obtained by a simple filing, and must be obtained by court order (which requires the commencement of a special proceeding). Because of the wording of the statute, most contractors (and construction lawyers) often bring the proceeding well before the one-year anniversary so as to be sure that the order is entered before the lien expires.

Because of the vagaries of court calendars, some extensions are granted well before the expiration of the lien, effectively reducing the overall time available for the lien to be active. 

In the recent case of ABS Construction v Pardus, a trial court granted the extension where the special proceeding was only commenced the day before the lien expired, and the order was not entered until well after that expiration.

Background

In July of 2020, ABS Construction, Inc. performed some bathroom and kitchen renovation work in the home of Drew and Frances Pardus in Manhattan. ABS alleged that it was not fully paid, and was still owed $18,502 for its work; on Feb. 5, 2021, ABS filed a mechanic’s lien against the Pardus’ home in that amount.

Because the lien was filed against a single-family home, it could not be extended through the filing of a simple extension. Rather, the Lien Law requires that the lienor obtain a court order continuing such lien. On Feb. 4, 2022, the day before the lien expired, ABS commenced a special proceeding to extend the lien for a period of one year. Because the court order would not be obtained the next day, ABS also requested that the court extend the lien retroactively, so as to cover any period between the natural expiration of the lien and the entry of the court’s order.

In its petition in support of the extension, ABS alleged that it had not extended or foreclosed its lien because it was attempting to resolve the matter without incurring the costs associated with either a foreclosure or a special proceeding to extend the lien.

The Parduses opposed the application to extend the lien, arguing that ABS was required to show good cause for failing to obtain the order of extension within one year of the filing of the original lien, and that it failed to do so.

Decision

The court granted ABS’s application and extended the lien. In doing so, the court held that “There is no dispute that this proceeding was commenced before the subject lien expired. It is of no moment that this application was not made returnable before that date. Therefore, the court has the power to extend petitioner’s lien nunc pro tunc. Contrary to respondents’ contention, petitioner does not need to demonstrate good cause when the proceeding was otherwise timely brought.”

Comment

As mentioned above, general conservative practice has been that where a court order extending a lien is necessary, counsel would bring the proceeding well in advance of the expiration of the lien so as to ensure that the order extending the lien was obtained within the one year. The net effect of this practice has permitted courts with less-crowded dockets to effectively reduce the overall period available to lienors. For instance, if counsel brought the proceeding eight months after the filing of the lien, and the court entered the order two months thereafter, the new expiration date of the lien is two months before its anniversary date. This reduction gets magnified in following years since following extensions of lien also need to be obtained by court order (which would likely be accomplished on a similar schedule).

The pragmatic effect of ABS Construction is that lienors and their attorneys will have more flexibility in timing their applications to extend their liens so that they get the full period of time envisioned in the Lien Law—without having to make any sacrifice to the uncertainties of a court’s docket. While it would enhance the certainty of this proposition of law if this ruling were from an appellate court and not a trial-level court, the relatively low value of the lien in ABS may deprive us of that appellate decision here. However, it will likely not be very long before we do have that appellate-level holding on the issue.

In the meantime, lienors would be cautioned to consult with experienced construction counsel about how to renew their liens to be sure that they are effectively extended, and not relying on another trial-level judge determining that a demonstration of good cause is actually necessary. Or, stated more simply, don’t press your luck with statutory deadlines.

About the authors: Thomas H. Welby, an attorney and licensed professional engineer, is General Counsel to the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and the Hudson Valley, and is the Founder of, and Senior Counsel to the law firm of Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, with offices located throughout the Tri-State/Greater Metropolitan Region. Gregory J. Spaun, General Counsel to the Queens and Bronx Building Association, and an attorney and a partner with the firm, co-authors this series with Mr. Welby. 

Pattern Study Tracks NYC Exodus to Hudson Valley

JOHN JORDAN – July 25, 2022

NEWBURGH, NY—A recently released study by regional research group Pattern for Progress found that media reports of a significant exodus of New York City residents to the Hudson Valley were indeed accurate.

The Pattern for Progress study released on July 8 found that during 2021—the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic—the Hudson Valley enjoyed a net gain of 33,394 residents from the five boroughs of New York City. Westchester County netted a net gain of New York City residents of more than 15,000 last year.

“Our analysis of migration during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic puts real data behind the fact that more people moved into the Hudson Valley in 2020,” Pattern CEO Adam Bosch said. “The county-by-county data outlined in our report are only part of the story, but they mark an important reversal in a trend that saw our region losing several thousand residents to migration every year for more than a decade.”

He continued, “Government, business, academic and nonprofit leaders across the region should try to understand the factors that will convince our new neighbors to stay in the Hudson Valley, and develop strategies that will help the region attract and retain more families in the years ahead.”

The report, “Moving In, Moving Out,” examined a new set of migration data released late this spring by the Internal Revenue Service. The data utilized information from tax returns to track domestic and international migration into the United States. Pattern officials stated that the IRS migration data are considered among the most accurate information for tracking the movement of people throughout the United States. The latest set of data tracks migration by analyzing address changes between tax returns in 2019 and 2020. It includes some returns that were processed through mid-July 2021 because of delays caused by the pandemic.

Pattern examined data from the nine-county region that includes Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.

The following are key takeaways from the analysis:

The nine-county region gained 105,716 people and lost 105,087 because of migration in 2019-2020, for a net gain of 629 people. That is not many, but the small increase is a noteworthy reversal of huge population losses across the Hudson Valley in preceding years. From 2016-2019, the region lost about 5,000 residents during each reporting period. It lost a whopping 7,255 people during the 2015-2016 period alone.

The data confirms that thousands of people moved out of New York City and into the Hudson Valley during the first months of the pandemic. A total of 48,642 people from the five boroughs of New York City moved into the Hudson Valley, and 15,248 moved out of the region and into the city, for a net gain of 33,394 people in the Hudson Valley.

The data show a north-south divide across the region. Counties in the lower Hudson Valley (Westchester, Rockland, Orange) lost population due to migration, while counties to the north showed net gains in population.

Conclusions are hard to draw because these data include migration before and during the pandemic, but the divide could indicate a movement away from densely populated areas into smaller cities, villages, and rural towns, the report stated. This trend was well documented in real estate data that showed people leaving high-population areas because they feared that density put them at a greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

“The movement of people to and from the Hudson Valley is important to the future of our workforce, schools, housing and community vitality,” said Anthony Campagiorni, Chairperson of the Pattern Board of Directors. “Pattern has long provided analyses of demographic data so that our region can act on the basis of sound information. This report should help leaders across the region learn about those who moved into the region and inform our collective efforts to attract more residents here in the future.”

The report said that the coronavirus may prompt more New York City residents to consider the Hudson Valley. “The Hudson Valley has not seen a net-increase in migration since the few years that followed the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That inflow was driven by people who moved into the region from New York City, but generally continued their commute to jobs in the city. That trend lasted for two to four years, after which migration shifted back to New York City.”

The Pattern report noted that this time migration trends could be different. “Work-from-home software is better and more common than it was in 2001. And discussions with regional leaders suggest that this new wave of residents are more attracted to the Hudson Valley’s small cities and villages than the wave that came 20 years ago. The region should be engaged in a discussion with our new neighbors to understand what they enjoy about the Hudson Valley, the servicesthat are lacking, and what we might do to keep them here,” the report stated.

The top three counties for net migration population growth from New York City were Westchester County at 15,405, Dutchess County at 4,955, followed by Orange County at 4,064. The remainder of the Hudson Valley all posted positive net migration from New York City: Rockland County at 3,439, Ulster County at 1,953, Sullivan County at 1,204, Putnam at 978, Columbia at 957 and Greene at 439.

A full analysis of the regional, county-by-county, and New York City trends can be found by accessing the report on Pattern’s website at https://www.pattern-for-progress.org. The report was made possible by local governments, businesses, utilities, nonprofits and academic institutions that support Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress.

Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress is a policy, planning, advocacy and research organization founded in 1965. It serves a nine-county region that includes Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.

Obituary

Edward Sheldon Plotkin

Noted Contractor, P.E., Commissioner

The New York City/Hudson Valley construction industry recently lost an icon—Edward Sheldon “Ed” Plotkin—who worked since the late 1950s as a contractor, professional engineer and government official, including as Commissioner of Public Works for Westchester County.

Mr. Plotkin died on April 21, 2022 in Silver Spring, MD. He was 89.

Born in the Bronx on Oct. 11, 1932 to his parents Samuel and Anna, he lived most of his adult life in Dobbs Ferry, NY. He was married to Frances Plotkin for the last 30 years, after his first wife and mother of his children, Pearlene Plotkin, died.

Mr. Plotkin worked in many facets of heavy construction and tunneling. He was vice president of the tunneling firm Maclean Grove, where he was project manager for the 63rd Street Cross-town Subway section near Central Park in New York City; two cavern stations on the Washington, D.C. Metro; a station cavern on the Boston subway; and completion of a section of the 13 miles of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection City Water Tunnel No. 3 between the Yonkers reservoir and the Queens connecting shaft passing under three New York City boroughs and two rivers.

He received many honors. Among them, the Construction Engineer of the Year in 1986; the Engineer of the Year Award in 1991 by the NSPE Westchester Section; and the Engineer of the Year Award by the Municipal Engineers of the City of New York in 1998. The Underground Construction Association of the Society of Mining Engineers awarded him the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. CCNY awarded Mr. Plotkin the Alumni Association Service Award.

“It was my pleasure to serve under Commissioner Plotkin from 1990 to 1994,” said Hugh J. Greechan, Jr., P.E., Commissioner of Public Works and Transportation for Westchester County. “He was always a consummate gentleman, very knowledgeable, and well known throughout the construction industry. I still rely on what he shared with me to this day.”

As a designer, he was Assistant Director with engineering consultant firm DeLeuw Cather (now Parsons Transportation) for the 1970s plans for the Second Avenue Subway, and was later a consultant with the design team for the present Second Avenue Subway project. He served as Co-Chair, NYSSPE Task Force, Tappan Zee Bridge replacement study, from 2002 to 2012.

Mr. Plotkin obtained his Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1953 from CCNY. After serving in the US Army from 1954 to 1956 he earned his Master of Civil Engineering in 1958 from CCNY, an M.B.A. in Engineering Management from the CUNY Baruch School of Business in 1966. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science in 2019 from CCNY for his engineering contributions to the City of New York.

He was devoted to public service throughout his life. He served as Westchester County’s Commissioner of Public Works for four years in the 1990s and was the chair of the Planning Board in Dobbs Ferry for 50 years, actively reviewing, planning, and approving land development and conservation projects. Even in retirement, Mr. Plotkin was active, consulting on constructability issues, peer review, mediation and dispute board reviews.

He was a registered P.E. in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts. He was a member of many professional organizations, including: the Municipal Engineers of the City of New York and the New York State Society of Professional Engineers (Westchester-Putnam Chapter), both of which he served as president; the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), of which he was a Fellow (he served as a Director of the Metropolitan Section and Chair of the Geotechnical Group); Director in the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation as well as a member and past Trustee of The Moles, a heavy construction organization.

In academia, Mr. Plotkin, was an adjunct professor of physics at Manhattan College, environmental science at Mercy College, and he lectured on public works and urban construction at Pace University, NYU Real Estate School and University of Detroit. He is a past president of the CCNY Engineering School Alumni Board.

He took great pride and pleasure teaching environmental science college courses to incarcerated men and women at the NYS Sing Sing and Bedford (NY) correctional facilities in Westchester for 12 years. He would describe his service teaching in prisons with a joy, noting that he was given free reign to teach everything except tunneling. “Teaching Tunneling was verboten at Sing Sing,” he once told this newspaper.

In addition to his wife, Frances, he is survived by his brother Herman, his children Robert (Lisa Olsson), David, step-children Terri Rosenblatt and Bernie Rosenblatt (Jean), two grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. Mr. Plotkin was also predeceased by his eldest brother, Maurice.

To donate in his memory to the Frances M. & Edward S. Plotkin, PE Scholarship Fund held at the Alumni Association of The City College of New York, visit: www.ccnyalumni.org/donate and elect from the drop-down menu: “Memorial & Tribute Gifts.” When filling out the online form be sure to note in the MEMO field: “Donation to the Frances M. and Edward S. Plotkin Scholarship Fund.”

Check can also be made and sent to The Alumni Association of CCNY, PO Box 177, New York, NY 10027. Memo: Frances M. & Edward S. Plotkin, PE Scholarship Fund.

 

Construction NEWS

PHOTO GALLERY

CIC Golf Classic Returns to Sleepy Hollow

Monday, July 11 – Scarborough, NY

More than 400 leaders of the contracting community, industry suppliers, service professionals and organized labor attended the CIC Golf Classic at Sleepy Hollow Country Club.

SCARBOROUGH, NY—More than 200 golfers tested their game skills on the legendary Sleepy Hollow Country Club, the longtime home of CIC’s Annual Golf Classic on Mon., July 11 here in Westchester.

The 43rd anniversary gathering, staged in morning and afternoon shotgun formats, is always the highlight of the construction industry’s summer season in the lower Hudson Valley. This year’s event was again a celebration
of camaraderie – with more than 400 leaders from the contracting, community, material and equipment suppliers, organized labor were joined by government and public works officials for the evening’s reception and dinner festivities.

While light on speeches, the golf dinner was long on raffle prizes and awards that recognized golf talent in an individual (play-your-own-ball) format.

Low Gross winners in the Men’s morning shotgun was Tyler Crill who fired a 77. Morning Low Net winners were Andy Lipman with a score of 71 followed by Dean DiNatale at 72. Afternoon Low Gross co-winners were Brendan McLaughlin and Thomas Nillson with scores of 76. Afternoon Low Gross Net winners were Brian Tarkin with a 69 followed by Kevin McGovern at 70.

Individual prizes for the men’s afternoon Longest Drive was John Hunter, with Danielle Montesano besting the Ladies. Afternoon men’s Closest to the Pin went to Tom Quinn.

In the final competition of the day, the combined Putting Competition of the two shotgun flights was won by Jason Schiciano. Jason earned his way to the finals with a qualifying 12-foot putt in the morning, followed by two 25-foot putts in a row later in the day. His putter was smokin’! Special Thanks for supervising and managing the Putting Competition are extended to volunteers Gil Torres of CapitalPlus funding solutions and Bob Dolan of Tanna, a construction technology platform.

For information on upcoming CIC events, visit www.cicbca.org.

Pictured above moving left to right:

Fairway Testing foursome, from left, Tyler Crill, Kevin Crill, Tim Crill, and Matt Herman.

Sleepy Hollow Country Club

Heavy Construction Laborers Local 60 foursome from left, Carlos Ascencao, Artie Gaddist, Anthony Foto and Carlos Burges.

From left, CIC board members Bill Mascetta of Transit Construction Corp. and Dominick Montesano of Montesano Brothers, Inc.

CIC Chairman George Pacchiana with state Assemblymembers Sandy Galef and Tom Abinanti.

From left, Westchester County Deputy Executive Ken Jenkins and CIC’s John Cooney, Jr.

From left, Nick Rienzi with Frank Sherding, Dick Davidson and Al Alvarez of PCI Industries.

From left, Nick Rienzi of Westchester County with aviation execs April Gasparri and Peter Sherrer of AVPORTS.

Laborers Local 60 Business Manager Anthony Ascencao and NYS Assemblyman Chris Burdick.

From Left, Ed Cicalese, Nelson Tavares, and Liese  Hohmann of Tilcon New York.

Photo 11 – From left, A, NYS Senator Shelley Mayer, C, D, and NYS Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick.

Photo Credits/ED CODY

Safety Watch

Adequate Training, Experience and Equipment Necessary When Working Near Energized Lines

By COSTAS CYPRUS, ESQ.

Secretary of Labor v. The L.E. Myers Co. shows the importance of adequate training, experience and equipment when working near energized lines. This matter arises from a fateful workplace accident involving a journeyman lineman for an electrical utility sub-contractor, L.E. Myers Co. (LEM) in Florida.

On Nov. 15, 2019, LEM assigned a four-man crew to transfer electrical distribution lines from an existing utility pole to a new utility pole. Due to the live electrical current, OSHA requires employers to determine the minimum approach distance (MAD) before its

employees work near energized lines at a worksite. The MAD is the closest distance an employee may approach an energized or grounded object without taking specific safety precautions. At this site, the MAD was determined to be two feet, two inches.

The four-man crew arrived at the worksite on the incident date and began to discuss their respective assignments. The crew consisted of the Foreman, two journeyman linemen (inclusive of the Decedent), and an apprentice. The Foreman conducted a pre-job briefing and had everyone sign a Daily Pre-Job Brief document. This document listed the steps for this assignment and included a checklist of the tools required. The document stated the assignment as: “Move wires to new pole and hang arms and mac” and had a checklist for “PPE/Tools Required.” The Foreman checked all tools on the required list including rubber insulating gloves and rubber insulating sleeves. The crew had two bucket trucks and one smaller “backyard machine.” The apprentice and Decedent were in these buckets, the JL in the backyard machine and the Foreman on the ground to observe.

The incident occurred when the Foreman called to the Decedent to lower his bucket to hand him a mac (a flexible wire with clamps at either end, used to bypass an area of an energized line so work can be done in the bypassed area). When the Foreman handed the mac to the Decedent, he did not notice whether or not the Decedent was wearing rubber insulating sleeves. The interaction was a couple of seconds and Decedent immediately raised his bucket back up to the height needed to determine if the mac length was acceptable. The Foreman, as the only eyewitness testifying, stated after he gave the Decedent the mac, the Decedent elevated his bucket and screamed down something along the lines of “that’ll work.” As the Foreman started to walk away to collect other macs just in case, the Foreman heard sizzling, popping and the jerking of the bucket. He looked up to realize Decedent was slumped over in his bucket. After cutting the mac, it was safe for Decedent to be lowered and receive medical attention. However, the electrocution resulted in Decedent’s death. The Decedent was found to be only wearing his rubber gloves, but not his rubber insulating sleeves. Two of OSHA’s compliance officers investigated the scene that same day, taking photos and interviewing individuals, but they did not conduct any measurements or simulations. LEM’s Foreman was discharged in December 2019. OSHA eventually cited LEM for three serious violations arising from the incident.

The ALJ found the Foreman’s testimony regarding the rubber insulating sleeve was sufficient as the Foreman was close enough to detect, with reasonable diligence, whether the Decedent was wearing the sleeve or not. In terms of assignment, the Foreman testified that he only wanted the Decedent to get close enough to measure the mac, which did not require the Decedent to breach the MAD. The Foreman explained that the task could have been done by not elevating the bucket to the height, however it probably would have been more difficult. He did not ask for the Decedent to install the mac, as installation would require all three crewmembers in position.

Item 1 of the Citation pertained to the Decedent not being trained or competent in the MAD skills and techniques in order to maintain a safe distance. Although recordkeeping of employment records is one way to keep track of an employee’s demonstrated proficiency, the ALJ here found that in fact the Decedent did have adequate training and proficiency by the evidence submitted and vacated this portion of the citation. Although, the Decedent had only worked with LEM for about two months, he had more than 15 years of prior experience (via the apprenticeship and journeyman system) in his previous jobs, which required MAD training.

Upon hiring, LEM provided the Decedent a New Hire Orientation Outline, which included the MADs and Decedent had received a copy of the Safety Manual which also addressed MADs. Furthermore, LEM’s Safety Engineer testified how they provide orientation and safety training for newly hired employees, periodic safety training, crew visits and onsite audits. Here, the Safety Engineer had interviewed the Decedent during his orientation to determine his knowledge and understanding of safety-related work practices, including MADs. Moreover, LEM’s supervisors including the Foreman were trained to closely observe new hires to ensure their proficiency, including on safety.

The other items of the Citation were based upon Decedent breaching the MAD without appropriate precautions and failures by LEM to ensure that no employee approaches or takes a conductive object closer to the exposed energy parts than the established MAD. LEM even had a “cradle to cradle policy” that stated that both the rubber insulating gloves and sleeves were to be worn when working on energized equipment on an aerial platform. However, the Foreman’s instruction to the Decedent was to perform work at a height not within the MAD. Only when the Decedent elevated his bucket to the height of the distribution lines and connected one end of the mac to the line did he breach the MAD. Since this occurred within mere seconds, the ALJ found that this fleeting moment did not establish a failure on the part of the Foreman to exercise reasonable diligence and supervision. The Foreman had worked with the Decedent for two months prior to the incident and never noticed any conduct that would alert him to heightened monitoring of Decedent’s safety practices. Therefore, these items of the Citation were also vacated.

About the author: Costas Cyprus is an associate attorney practicing construction law and commercial litigation with Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, in White Plains, NY. He can be reached at 914-428-2100 and at ccyprus@wbgllp.com. The articles in this series do not constitute legal advice and are intended for general guidance only.

CIC Softball Reunion Scores Big For Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief

TARRYTOWN, NY—On a much-anticipated Friday afternoon in July, A.J. Smith from Laborers Local 60 smacked a game-ending, two-run double to deliver to Manny Foto’s Pavers a 12-11 victory over Matthew Fante’s Builders.

It was the second CIC Softball game in as many years to result in a walk-off hit. But this game was different. This gathering served as a fundraiser to help care for orphans and family members of Ukrainian soldiers in Lviv. CIC raised some $20,000 and partnered with St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Yonkers, NY to deliver life-sustaining funds to charity partners in Lviv.

It was certainly a game for the ages. Ross Pepe, the president and longtime leader of CIC, pitched the first inning and allowed only one run, striking out two. In the bottom of the opening frame, Andy Mintzer of GFI Printing & Communications retired the batters, and with his ability to toss strikes, stayed on the mound to pitch both the top and  bottom of the next six innings. Now there’s one for the record books: he completed the game being both the winning and losing pitcher!MVP for the second year in a row, Chris McCracken from Advance Testing, hit a grand slam in the first inning and tracked down rainbows of fly balls in left field. Sparkling play was also recorded at second base by Thalle’s Tom Wilson and leftfielder Henry Condron of Transit Construction.

“The game was emblematic of what CIC does best,” said CIC’s Baseball Commissioner, Peter Fiore, “That is, bring together all elements of the Hudson Valley construction industry for something bigger than ourselves—whether that be a bridge, a clean water project, or this small effort to help a very troubled part of the world.”

Players were already pining for next year’s date. It’s coming.

Pictured above starting top left moving clockwise:

Starting pitcher Ross Pepe of CIC facing Chris McCracken of Advance Testing

Jennavieve Lazzari on base for the Builders.

Henry Condron of Transit Construction Corp. and a mighty swing.

Builders team captain Matthew Fante of Darante Construction digs for home.

Teams line up before the game.

Manny Foto of ECCO III Enterprises, team captain of the Pavers.

Webinar to Discuss Clean Water Grant Information For DPWs, Planners, Engineers, Conservationists

RYE, NY—Following a live workshop scheduled in late July for local municipal officials and consulting engineers eager to learn more about state clean water grants opportunities, a special webinar on the same topic is scheduled for Tues., Aug. 16.

“This year $255 million in state grants will be available to fund needed local projects,” explained State Assemblyman Steve Otis (AD-91), who will host the live workshop in Rye on July 26. “These information sessions help bring more state dollars to our communities.”

Like the workshop, the webinar will be led by the Environmental Facilities Corp. (EFC), the state agency responsible for clean water infrastructure grants for local municipalities.

Over the past half decade, Rep. Otis has hosted these annual workshops with senior staff from the EFC since the enactment of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015, which was initiated to assist communities in securing sizeable grant and low-interest loan funding from state clean water programs.

“Our EFC Water Grant Workshop has been a valuable tool in providing Westchester local government the latest information about the current round of state clean water grants,” Rep. Otis explained.

 

State Assemblyman Steven Otis and officials with the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. are helping municipal officials learn more about state water grant opportunities now available.

Gathering broad support for the program, this year’s workshop was co-hosted by the Federated Conservationists of Westchester, Jay Heritage Center, Save the Sound, the Westchester Municipal Officials Associations, and the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. (CIC).

“EFC welcomes the chance to assist any community that may need help applying for these grants or other financial assistance available through EFC to fund their water, sewer, or stormwater infrastructure,” said EFC President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman.

CIC Executive Director John T. Cooney, Jr., added, “Now is an ideal time for local governments to apply for clean water and drinking water project grants and loans through the EFC. More than ever, municipalities right now have funding resources to advance their infrastructure capital projects. These information sessions, including the August webinar, is for both the first-time grant applicant and for those that have already won grants. These clean water program grants and loans have provided hundreds of millions of dollars to protect the environment and have served to create thousands of living-wage jobs throughout our region.” CIC is a founding member of Clean Water Jobs Coalition, which has advocated since the early 1990s for many of the clean water funding programs now in place.

To date, New York State’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA) and its Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure (IMG) have provided $1.2 billion in grants to local governments, including the $4.5 million to Westchester municipalities for important clean water projects. “These workshops have been very helpful in encouraging successful applications from across Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley, and for applicants to learn more about the process,” added Matthew Pepe, executive director of the Building Contractors Association of Westchester & The Mid-Hudson Region, Inc., another co-sponsor of the workshop. Application information specific to the current year funding round and background on other EFC programs can found on its website, www.efc.ny.gov.

August Webinar Details

With the state clean water grant application period for 2022 now open, a special webinar for public officials and consultants to learn about the grant applications and ask questions is scheduled for Tues., Aug. 16. www.efc.ny.gov. EFC is now using a new an online application for WIIA and IMG. The application instructions can help guide applicants through each section. The deadline for submitting online an application is 5:00 pm on Fri., Sept. 9, 2022.

Assemblyman Otis’s office is available to help applicants in this important funding opportunity and to support applications throughout the process. For more information, applicants can contact the district office at 914-939-7028.

WHAT'S NEW & WHO'S NEWS

Bridge Authority Names Melendez To Deputy Executive Director Post

HIGHLAND, NY—The New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA) announced June 29 that Lauren Melendez had been appointed by the NYSBA Board of Commissioners as the Authority’s new Deputy Executive Director. Starting July 11, she began serving in the second-highest role at the Hudson Valley-based transportation authority, working under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Minosca Alcantara.

NYSBA Board Chair Joan McDonald said, “The NYSBA Board of Commissioners is pleased to appoint Lauren Melendez as the Bridge Authority’s Deputy Executive Director. She has exceptional qualifications that she brings to the table that will benefit the authority and the travelers that we serve.”

NYSBA Executive Director Dr. Minosca Alcantara added, “I’m excited to add Ms. Melendez to our great team of employees at NYSBA. She not only has expertise in the field of transportation, but also a knowledge and appreciation for the communities that our bridges connect.”

Ms. Melendez has most recently served as Assistant Secretary for Transportation in the Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul. Prior to her tenure in the Executive Chamber, Ms. Melendez served as senior analyst for Transportation and Infrastructure for the New York State Senate Finance Committee, as well as a project assistant for Empire State Future, a project of the Tides Center.

She holds a B.A. and Master of Regional Planning from the University at Albany. She is a resident of Greene County.

The New York State Bridge Authority operates the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle Bridges. It also owns and maintains the structure of the Walkway Over the Hudson pedestrian bridge. The authority is funded principally from bridge tolls and receives no state or federal tax monies for bridge maintenance and operation.

Lauren Melendez
NYBA Deputy Executive Director

Financial Management

Top Industry Leaders Must Instill Diversity Equity, Inclusion Initiatives

By PHILLIP ROSS, CPA, CGMA, PARTNER

While some view instability as a reason for concern, it also holds true that instability, transition, and change can also be a powerful motivation and catalyst for the creation of new opportunities. As labor shortages have become a major hindrance today in construction, a new paradigm that includes DE&I initiatives within the construction industry may be the greatest opportunity ever for an industry where employees and their work is a builder’s greatest asset in terms of completing projects on time and with the careful detail needed to satisfy architectural and other regulatory specifications.

In a post-pandemic world, the construction industry overall is struggling with labor shortages and supply chain issues that have had and continue to have a major impact on completing projects timely, efficiently, and within budget. Headwinds in the construction industry are also a result of unexpected macro-economic forces that impede production as rising material costs and interest rates can impact investors, builders, general contractors, and sub-contractors. New legislation such as changes to the tax-abatement status for new projects as well as New York State’s new “Wage Theft and Protection Act all present new challenges for construction in a post-covid recovery.

Studies Show that Diverse Teams Are More Productive—Why DE&I?

Studies have proven that diverse teams are more creative, and, in many cases, diverse teams have proven to be more profitable and increase overall financial performance. Diverse teams have resulted in higher levels of productivity and retention, which is crucial in construction now as labor shortages abound. Practically speaking, diverse populations bring unique insights and perspectives that may not be present in more homogenous employee pools where everyone thinks the same based on a shared history or having all things in common. Those with a different way of thinking are able to add different levels of insight and various skill sets that supply a particular brand of effectiveness to the work at hand.

Sourcing for Functional Skills Ensures Diversity and Most Promising Employees

Diversity also goes beyond the most common perception as gender equality. In numerous industries today and throughout the construction industry, leaders are finding that recruiting for skills and experience versus elite backgrounds is a better way to create socio-economic opportunities while also being mindful about the fact that backgrounds don’t always provide the functional experience needed to do a job well.

Hiring for experience is not only a practical way to recruit for DE&I, but has also proven to be the best way to vet new employees who will be best suited to the specific needs of each construction project.

In addition to a job well done, workplaces that make efforts to include employees from diverse experiences and backgrounds also tend to retain those who contribute the most profitable ideas as well as being able to enjoy higher retention rates, where less time and income is spent on constantly recruiting and repeating the hiring process. Retaining an experienced construction manager, for example, with skill in planning, hiring, supervising, setting goals and staying on budget while managing risks is invaluable to the outcomes of your firm and organization. Having diversity at all levels on the team is also key in relating to a broader base of third-party individuals, construction professionals and vendors that include architects, materials suppliers, subcontractors, and others involved with various projects.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, 88.6% of construction industry workers identified as white and more than 90% were male. While many within the construction industry aspire to see DE&I working, very few owners and managers have a practical methodology in place to set changes in motion. As such, initial steps should include new initiatives such as getting leadership buy-in for inclusion, writing an actual DE&I policy and actively incorporating diverse recruiting and hiring practices. Though it may seem like a small beginning, bringing simple awareness with concrete action items that result in structural change is always the first step in any broad cultural adjustment.

Altogether, the construction industry stands to benefit immensely by hiring initiatives that include DE&I. We are two years beyond the onset of the pandemic in 2020, yet labor shortages linger as a major factor in project completions and new construction alike. The industry as a whole can begin to combat the macro environment and mitigate risks by proactively including DE&I as a policy and embracing a more inclusive culture. The outcomes will ensure that we are increasing opportunities for those in the community while securing and retaining a new labor force that will bring the industry into the future.

About the author: Phillip Ross, CPA, CGMA is an Accounting and Audit Partner and Chair of the Construction Industry Group at Anchin, Block & Anchin, LLP. For more construction industry thought leadership and content, log on to www.anchin.com.

$17.8 Million Thruway Pavement Project Begins

ALBANY—New York State has begun a $17.8-million pavement improvement project on the New York State Thruway (I-87/I-287) in Rockland County.

The work will cover a nearly eight-mile stretch from the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in South Nyack to just beyond exit 14A (Spring Valley – Nanuet – NY Route 59) in Ramapo, NY.

The project includes renewing the pavement by performing mill and inlay operations to a two-inch depth from milepost 16.4 to milepost 24 northbound and southbound, including five interchange ramps from South Nyack (exit 10) to Spring Valley (exit 14). Additional work includes adding more reflective line striping, new signs and drainage improvements. Crisdel Group, Inc. of South Plainfield, NJ is the project contractor following a competitive bidding process.

All of the work will take place overnight to limit impacts to traffic and is expected to be completed by late fall of 2022. Motorists may encounter lane closures on the Thruway along with traffic shifts and stoppages while construction is underway. All work is weather dependent and subject to change. Motorists are urged to be alert and follow the posted work zone speed limits.

LOW BIDS

Elderlee, Bothar, H&L Win NYS DOT Project Work

ALBANY—The New York State Department of Transportation recently announced the selection of three apparent low bidders for work in the Hudson Valley/New York City regions.

Elderlee Inc. of Oaks Corners, NY was the lower of two bids at $5,703,370.20 for rustic guide rail replacement, various federal aid eligible locations in Columbia, Dutchess and Putnam counties.

Bothar Construction LLC of Binghamton, NY was the sole bidder at $2,127,797.00 for crack sealing and mastic, various federal aid eligible locations in Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Westchester counties.

H&L Contracting LLC of Hauppauge, NY was the lowest of five bidders at $4,094,910.00 for maintenance cleaning, various highways in New York City counites of the Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond.

Verde Electrical Lands Thruway Bid

ALBANY—The New York State Thruway Authority reported recently that Verde Electrical Maintenance Corp. of Mount Vernon, NY was the sole bidder at $3,155,123.25 for replacement of its equipment at various locations in the New York Division in the Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, and Orange counties in accordance with the plans and specifications.

ELQ Industries Lands Bulkhead Project

WHITE PLAINS—The Westchester County Department of Public Works reported recently that ELQ Industries, Inc. of New Rochelle, NY was the lowest of seven bidders at $4,150,900. for the Kingsland Point Park bulkhead replacement in the Village of Sleepy Hollow, NY.

Statement from Construction Industry Council Executive Director John Cooney, Jr., in Response to Gov. Kathy Hochul State of the State

TARRYTOWN, NY – “New York Gov. Kathy Hochul demonstrated a keen understanding of the needs in our state today, which she outlined in her 2022 State-of-the-State presentation today,” said John Cooney, Jr., Executive Director of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. “We applaud her fervent commitment to accelerate infrastructure improvements and to expand transportation mobility to make the state more business friendly and to make the Empire State the nexus of commerce as a place where opportunities are made available to more New Yorkers.”

Among the projects identified in the plan she noted on Jan. 5 include the accelerate conversion of Route 17 into I-86 in Orange 

and Sullivan counties. She also pointed to other strategic investments New York State has made in the Mid-Hudson Valley which have resulted in the expansion of Woodbury Common and the construction of Legoland and the Resorts World Catskills Casino.

“Over the past several years, projects have been completed by NYSDOT to upgrade sections of Route 17, including reconstruction of the interchange at Exit 131, where Route 17 meets Interstate 87 and Route 32 (Woodbury Common), and reconstruction of Exits 122 and 125 (Legoland) to meet interstate standards. To facilitate future economic competitiveness and alleviate congestion within the region, the State will begin an environmental review to assess the conversion of the full Route 17 corridor in Orange and Sullivan counties to Interstate 86,” the report said.

“For generations, New York has stood as a beacon of hope and prosperity for the nation and people throughout the world. Her plan promises to reinforce and amplify that role,” Mr. Cooney added. “We applaud Gov. Hochul for her panoramic vision and confidence to lead our state past today’s pandemic challenges and to ensure the continued economic growth and infrastructure resiliency.”

Mr. Cooney concluded, “The CIC looks forward to learning more about her plans over the coming months and stand ready to support her in her  commitment to infrastructure as a powerful public resource to connect people to jobs and to connect all New Yorkers for a more prosperous and promising future.”

Julia Maria Apostolou
Samantha Argenio
Sebastian Arreola
Taylor Bruck
Robert Caulfield
Ryan Danyluk

Louis G. Nappi Construction Labor-Management Scholarship Fund Awards $85,000 to 17 College Students in Hudson Valley Region

By GEORGE DRAPEAU III

TARRYTOWN – Seventeen Hudson Valley college students began the 2021-22 academic year with a $5,000 grant from the Louis G. Nappi Construction Labor-Management Scholarship Fund for undergraduate studies in mathematics, the sciences, engineering and technology.

The scholarship, a major construction industry financial-aid program, was established in 2009 by Louis G. Nappi (1920-2014), a former Chairman (now Emeritus) of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. It was his vision that the hard sciences of mathematics and engineering were keys to re-establishing the U.S. as a world leader in transportation and infrastructure construction.

Comprising representatives from both labor and management, the Louis G. Nappi Scholarship Committee carefully selects candidates who exemplify the high scholastic and personal standards needed to advance in the construction and building industries.

“This scholarship is a living testimony to Louis Nappi,” said Ross J. Pepe, President of the Construction Industry Council, of which Nappi was chairman from 1986 to 1991. “Lou’s commitment to engineering and science lives on today in these scholarships and through these students.”

Mr. Pepe added, “Lou believed that giving students the financial means to pursue higher education and advanced degrees would help our nation’s construction and building industries regain global competitiveness and preeminence.”

Scholarship Committee Chairman William Mascetta, President of Transit Construction Corp. of Yonkers, N.Y., congratulated the winners and reminded them of the value of learning practical skills and avoiding “digital distraction.”

“In this high-tech age, with unlimited access to information, it’s tempting to rely on technology very heavily,” Mr. Mascetta said. “However, remember that we build things and our world of infrastructure is three-dimensional. When you get caught up in digital distraction, it’s like going through life with blinders on. You, as future scientists and executives, must take off the blinders and open yourselves to the full periphery and reality of what we do.”

Mr. Mascetta thanked the members of the Scholarship Committee representing labor and management, and applauded the students’ parents for their support. He acknowledged Lou Nappi’s family for its ongoing commitment, and cited appreciation to Moujalli Hourani, D.Sc., a professor of Engineering at Manhattan College in Riverdale, N.Y., for his guidance of the students and the scholarship program.

Marking its 12th anniversary, the Louis G. Nappi Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $785,000 in 187 grants to some 78 students attending nearly 50 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Candidates mostly reside in the seven-county region of the lower Hudson Valley—Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Ulster, Orange and Rockland—and are related to employees of CIC-member companies or affiliated unions. The participating labor unions are Laborers International Union of N.A. Local 60, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 137, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 456.

Scholarship Winners

Julia Maria Apostolou, 19, of Yorktown Heights, NY, is a sophomore studying civil engineering at the University of South Carolina. She is the daughter of James Apostolou who is a member of Teamsters & Chauffeurs L.U. 456 of Elmsford, NY. Julia Maria is also a recipient of a 2020 Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant.

Samantha Argenio, 21, of Carolina Beach, NC, is a senior studying business administration with a concentration in finance at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She is the granddaughter of a principal at Argenio Bros., a member company of the Contractors Association of Rockland County. Samantha is also a recipient of a 2020 Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant.

Sebastian Arreola, 20, of Danbury, CT, is a junior studying computer engineering at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT. He is the grandson of Mario Anaya of Heavy Construction Laborers L.U. 60. Sebastian is also the recipient of three Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grants from 2018 to 2020.

Taylor Bruck, 19, of New Paltz, NY, is a sophomore studying computer science at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. She is the daughter of Thomas Bruck, a member of Operating Engineers L.U. 137. Taylor is also a recipient of a 2020 Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant.

Robert Caulfield, 19, of Blauvelt, NY, is a sophomore studying civil engineering at Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY. He is the son of Timothy Caulfield of Yonkers Contracting Co., Inc., a CIC-member company. Robert is also a recipient of a 2020 Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant.

Ryan Danyluk, 21, of New Windsor, N.Y., is a senior studying civil engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. He is the son of Peter Danyluk of Walsh Construction/Grace Industries, a CIC-member company. Ryan has now been a recipient of four Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant awards (2018-2021). Nice going, Ryan!

Massimo Fante, 19, of Sleepy Hollow, NY, is a sophomore studying biological sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is the son of Mark Fante of Darante Construction Ltd., a CIC-member company. Massimo is also a recipient of a 2020 Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant.

Jamie Lynn Fortunato, 20, of Fairfield, CT, is a junior studying biology and pre-health at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is the granddaughter of Anthony Guido, a member of Operating Engineers L.U. 137. Jamie Lynn is also a recipient of a 2020 Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant.

Daisy Godoy, 22, of Lagrangeville, NY, is a senior majoring in architectural technology at New York Institute of Technology. She is the daughter of Jesus Godoy, a member of Heavy Construction Laborers L.U. 60. Daisy is also a recipient of a 2020 Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant.

Mark Griffin, 19, of Yonkers, NY, is a sophomore majoring in aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Buffalo. He is the son of Lisa Griffin and nephew of Vincent Romagnoli of Yonkers Contracting Company, Inc., a CIC-member company.

Alyssa Mangone, 21, of Hartsdale, NY, is a senior studying business management at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. She is the granddaughter of George Meinel and niece of James Meinel who are members of Operating Engineers L.U. 137 of Briarcliff, NY. Alyssa now has been the recipient of four Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grants (2018-2021).

Sophia Mangone, 18, of Hartsdale, NY, is a freshman at SUNY Oneonta. She is the granddaughter of George Meinel and niece to James Meinel who are members of Operating Engineers L.U. 137 of Briarcliff, NY.

Cooper Mistishin, 19, of Lake Areal, PA, is a sophomore studying software engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. He is the son of Michael Mistishin, an employee of Peckham Industries, a CIC-member company.

Daniella Mulvey, 21, of Valhalla, NY, is a senior studying architecture at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. She is the daughter of Dennis Mulvey, an employee of Stratis Contracting Corp., a CIC-member company. Daniella is also the recipient of a Louis G. Nappi Scholarship grant in 2020.

Nicholas Mulvey, 18, of Valhalla, NY, is a freshman studying civil engineering at Bucknell University in Bucknell, PA. He is the son of Dennis Mulvey, an employee of Stratis Contracting Corp., a CIC-member company.

William Roberts, 18, of Montrose, NY, is a freshman studying computer engineering at George Washington University. He is the son of a member of Teamsters & Chauffeurs L.U. 456 of Elmsford, NY.

Ava Zorilo, 19, of Wappingers Falls, NY, is a sophomore studying Health Science at Pace University in Westchester. Ava is the daughter of a member of Operating Engineers L.U. 137 of Briarcliff, NY.

For information on the program, contact Karen Zedda at (914) 631-6070 or Karen@cicnys.org.

Massimo Fante
Jamie Lynn Fortunate
Daisy Godoy
Mark Griffin
Alyssa Mangone
Sophia Mangone,
Cooper Mistishin
Daniella Mulvey
Nicholas Mulvey,
William Roberts,
Ava Zorilo,

The Hudson Valley Infrastructure Gap Report

REPORT

ANALYSIS

Construction News Back Issues

January 2022

February 2022

March 2022

April 2022

May 2022

June 2022

July 2022

August 2022

September 2022

October 2022

November 2022

December 2022

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

April 2021

May 2021

June 2021

July 2021

August 2021

September 2021

October 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2020

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

June 2020

July 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

November 2020

December 2020

July/August 2019

Labor Issue 2019

October/November 2019

December 2019

Scroll to Top