Tappan Zee builders, state hold forums to help minorities qualify for contracts

A rendering of the new Tappan Zee Bridge A rendering of the new Tappan Zee Bridge is on display at a community meeting at Nyack High School. (Feb. 5, 2013) Photo Credit: Faye Murman

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Building a new $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge could mean $400 million in contracts for local minority and female-owned companies -- if these entrepreneurs have their paperwork in order.

And to make sure that they do, bridge project officials are launching a new series of meetings Thursday and Friday to explain the federal government's certification processes.

The first of two announced Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Forums kicks off at 8:30 a.m., Thursday at Westchester Marriott Tarrytown hotel, 670 White Plains Rd. The second one is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday at Suffern's Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3 Executive Blvd.

No additional dates are listed, but more are expected in the future, state officials said.

Along with a goal that 10 percent of the amount of the work to build a new bridge go to minority and female-owned companies, federal guidelines dictate that the overall workforce must consist of at least 22.6 percent minorities and 6.9 percent women.

The sessions, which are expected to last three or four hours, will begin with an overview presentation by the Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's special adviser, Brian Conybeare, who will speak on the new bridge proposal, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country.

He will be followed by speakers from state agencies and bridge design/builder Tappan Zee Constructors, who will walk attendees through the certification procedures. There also will be a workshop on how companies can secure the surety bonds needed to compete for larger construction projects, according to state officials.

The federal government defines "disadvantaged businesses" as those which are at least 51 percent owned and controlled by American citizens who are black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander or female. Those businesses and their owners also must meet specific financial criteria, which includes listing personal net worths of less than $1.32 million.

To reserve a seat at either event, send an email mentioning the reservation date to NewNYBridge.Community.Events@thruway.ny.gov.

Documents and general information are posted on the state website for news about the bridge project: www.NewNYBridge.com.

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