CI BRIDGE CONTRVERSY CONTINUES

Issue

A form petition by local resident Carl Lundgren, who is the Green Party candidate for Bronx Borough President has been making the rounds. The letter is asking that the bridge contract be revoked.

It states that the process, or lack thereof, by which this contract was approved is problematic. The residents of City Island were not involved in the process and had no say in the design nor were community hearings held to address their concerns.

Geneith Turnbull, Deputy Comptroller for Contracts

Charles Odiase, Executive Director

We, the undersigned and residents of City Island and surrounding neighborhoods, call upon NYC Comptroller John Liu to reject the contract submitted by the firm of Tutor Perini for the construction of a new City Island bridge for the following reasons:

· The design of the bridge is not in keeping with the architecture, natural surroundings or history of City Island. It will be substantially taller than any nearby structure and does not evoke any impressions of the maritime community that it’s intended to serve. It is nothing more than a vanity project designed to add to the prestige of it’s designer and as a (questionable) legacy for the mayor. Neither of these makes it a practical project that serves the needs of the residents or as an appropriate symbolic gateway to one of the Bronx’ most scenic and historic destinations.
· The contractor, Tutor Perini, is currently under investigation in California for hiring subcontractors who steal wages from workers. The company recently won a bid to construct a portion of a high speed rail line, but as the LA Times reported on May 13, 2013, “Tutor Perini Corp. won the competition to build the first 29 miles of the high-speed rail route on a low bid of $985 million, even though its design quality, safety plan and engineering, among other factors, ranked at the bottom of five teams seeking the work.” In NYC, they’ve been criticized for outsourcing steel work on the Verrazano Bridge to Chinese firms.
· The project was pushed through without a proper Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), denying the public the right to express their concerns and to be involved in the design process. Comptroller Liu, himself, has criticized the project, accusing the administration of “dodging community opposition.” [Daily News, Aug. 9, 2012].

Any proposal for a new bridge must address the following considerations:
· An open and transparent inspection process of the current bridge to determine if it needs to be replaced, or can be rehabilitated instead.
· Preference to be given to local firms for the design and construction, if determined that a new bridge is required.
· A guarantee that Bronx residents will be hired to do the work and at prevailing wages.
· The public must be involved in the entire process, which must be open and transparent.
· A ULURP must be required.

With their history of questionable ethics relating to labor law and the bidding process, the contract with Tutor Perini must be rejected.

What are your thoughts and opinions?

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