New Mayor Needs Construction Czar
Priority number one for our newly elected Mayor must be to get the economy moving by creating jobs for New Yorkers. If the new Mayor is serious about achieving that success, they could start by establishing a new Deputy Mayor for Rebuilding and Reconstruction.
This new Deputy Mayor would be the single point of contact to advance large projects that are too often delayed because of multi-agency approvals. Their job would be to expedite and prioritize permitting in the Buildings Department for projects 15 stories and above and 100,000 square feet or more as well as overhaul the city’s broken public procurement process. In New York City, all of these bureaucratic processes take far too long and stifle one of the most critical industries in our city.
All of this will require additional staff who are dedicated to performing these tasks. The new money allocated to pay for these positions should have strings attached to require these new staffer to remain focused on their mission.
There is good reason for the new Mayor to prioritize this industry. Real estate and construction are the driving forces for jobs and economic growth in New York City. The success of this industry is synonymous with the success of New York.
A Building Trades Employers Association shows that every $1 million spent on private and public construction creates a total of 8 jobs in New York City. The industry comprises 20% of the City’s GDP, provides 10% of its jobs and 5% of the city’s total wages.
A report by NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s report shows that NYS had the highest loss of construction jobs in the nation and the 44,400 jobs lost was the worst decline in 25 years with more than half coming from New York City. Queens lost the most construction jobs (6,900) followed by Manhattan (6,900), Brooklyn (5,600) the Bronx (1,600) and Staten Island (1,200).
Shouldn’t we be helping New Yorkers to get good paying jobs and growing their businesses so they can live a good middle-class lifestyle in our City?
We can achieve all of this. With a Mayor at the helm who is willing to lead and reform the way we build in the public and private sector in this City. Accomplish this and New York City will rebuild it’s physical and social infrastructure all at the same time for generations to come.
The writer is President and CEO of the BTEA, which represents 1,200 contractors in NYC including the largest number of Minority and Women-Owned businesses of any Association in NYC. Last year BTEA contractors put in place some $60 billion of public and private construction in NYC.