This week in Albany, my Democratic colleagues and I have been working around the clock to complete the $168 billion budget before the April 1 deadline, negotiating the best possible deal for the people we represent. On your behalf, I have been fighting for real criminal justice reforms, opportunities for our minority and women owned business enterprises, fair funding for our public schools, implementing early voting in New York, stronger rent-regulation laws, a sustainable revenue stream to fix the MTA, and capital funding for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
In addition to fighting for $250 million more in aid for NYCHA, which would bring NYCHA funding in this year’s budget to a total of $550 million, I also fought to make sure that NYCHA Chair & CEO Shola Olatoye and her dedicated staff have the tools they need to use that money effectively to make repairs. One of these tools is called “Design-Build,” a project delivery system in which one entity is responsible for the planning and execution of a construction project, which saves precious time and money.
When we discovered that the Republican Majority had not included Design-Build in the transportation legislation where we expected it to be, I immediately started speaking on the floor and working behind the scenes to make sure Design-Build was not left out of the budget. I have more NYCHA developments in my district than any other senator, and I know that NYCHA residents were counting on me to make sure that the much-needed repairs would be able to be done well and done quickly.
All of our hard work paid off, and just before midnight, when we passed the last piece of the New York State Budget, it included the critical Design-Build language that will better enable NYCHA to make the repairs it needs to make. This, along with the $550 million in aid, will go a long way in helping the nearly 500,000 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home, many of whom live in my district.