Until very recently, small businesses had little to no chance of winning any of the lucrative MTA contracts that come down the pipeline. The agency looked to level the playing field recently by starting a new small business program aimed at helping such businesses compete.
Late Friday afternoon, the agency announced the awarding of the first contract under the new program. The contract which is for the replacement the stairway canopy at the Junius Street station on the was awarded to Arch Builders & Developers, Inc of Brooklyn. Here are the complete details courtesy of a press release I received:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that a Brooklyn construction firm has been awarded the first contract under a new program created to help small businesses win MTA construction contracts. Under the MTA’s new Small Business Mentoring Program, Arch Builders & Developers, Inc., of Brooklyn, will replace the badly deteriorated stairway canopy at MTA New York City Transit’s Junius Street 3 station in Brooklyn.
The program was created in June under New York State authorizing legislation sponsored by Senator John Sampson and Assemblyman Keith Wright. The program matches emerging small businesses with a larger construction management firm, TDX Construction Corp., to facilitate a transfer of knowledge that will enable the participants to become regular MTA contractors and larger subcontractors.
It also includes classroom construction training and field work by MTA staff members, access to working capital loans provided by Carver Federal Savings Bank, and bonding support, which had proven a stumbling block for smaller contractors seeking to do business with the MTA.
“I am delighted that this program is now enabling the MTA to expand the pool of qualified contractors who can complete MTA projects successfully, on time and within budget,” said MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder. “The more construction firms we have bidding on our projects, the easier it will be for us to reduce our construction expenses as we fundamentally overhaul the MTA’s cost structure. This program has been especially helpful in allowing us to engage more small businesses, including minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged businesses.”
Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampsonsaid: “The Small Business Mentoring Program leverages the billions of dollars in the MTA capital budget to boost our most vital economic sector – small businesses. We know that minority-owned small businesses locate in minority communities and employ minority workers in greater numbers than other businesses.
Promoting entrepreneurship among women- and minority-owned businesses is critical to promoting economic diversity and getting our economy back to work for all New Yorkers. The MTA benefits with cost savings, and our state benefits from more economic opportunity. This is a win-win for everyone.”
Assemblyman Keith Wright of Harlem said: “For too long small business, particularly minority-owned small businesses, have been unable to compete for lucrative MTA contracts. With this program we hope to change that history and give small construction firms the same ability to compete as their larger and well-connected counterparts.
By linking small businesses with big businesses, we close a gaping hole in our public works contracting processes and bring State and City dollars closer to the businesses which need them most, especially in this time of fiscal unease. If successful, I hope to see this program replicated within many authorities and government run corporations throughout New York State.”
The Junius Street project is being undertaken through New York City Transit’s new component-focused approach to maintaining stations, in which individual components of stations are repaired or replaced as needed instead of being kept in place until a station undergoes a thorough overhaul.
“The Small Business Mentoring Program benefits from, and reinforces, our component replacement program,” said Thomas F. Prendergast, President of MTA New York City Transit. “The smaller size of these new projects lends itself to being attractive to smaller sized firms.”
To date, 102 construction firms have formally approached the MTA about participating in the program, 58 have completed applications, and 31, including Arch, have been approved. Each firm will move through the program in a four-year sequence.
The MTA is currently soliciting bids on three additional contracts under the Small Business Mentoring Program: A station improvements project at the Metro-North Railroad station in Port Jervis, brick and stone repointing at the RFK Bridge, and a stairway canopy replacement at New York City Transit’s Van Siclen Avenue 3 station.
For information on applying, go to MTA.info and click on “Doing Business With Us,” then “Small Business Mentoring Program.”
This is good news for small businesses as for years it seemed cronyism & nepotism ruled the day when it came to the awarding of these contracts. Hopefully this program not only leads to fairer opportunities for small businesses but will also help cutback on overpriced deals meant to line the pockets of a select few. Only time will tell on those two fronts.
xoxo Transit Blogger