Secondary Navigation

De Blasio Administration Releases Underground Infrastructure Report

June 18, 2014

Recommendations include designating Fire Department to respond to gas calls, quickening pace and prioritization of underground infrastructure investments 

NEW YORK—The de Blasio administration today released a report from the New York City Underground Infrastructure Working Group containing policy recommendations to improve the City’s emergency response to under-street conditions, as well as guidelines for the prioritization and pace of underground infrastructure improvements.

Specifically, the Underground Infrastructure Working Group recommendations include:

  • Improving Emergency Response to under-street conditions by incorporating private utility notification into street defect response procedures, designating the Fire Department to respond to gas calls, and sending a clear and coordinated message that people who smell gas should call 911.
  • Improving the way street work is conducted by piloting coordinated investment in critical infrastructure by the City and private utilities this summer, with the eventual goal of institutionalizing a process to expedite the upgrade of aging critical infrastructure
  • Improving the pace of investment in critical public and private underground infrastructure

“This administration’s number one priority is protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This means taking the measures needed to improve our emergency response, targeting our city’s infrastructure investments based on priority, and coordinating with private entities working under the streets to continue to improve the quality of our infrastructure.”

“The FDNY is working closely with Con Edison and National Grid to make certain we act promptly and effectively to handle reported gas leaks whenever and wherever they occur,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “FDNY units so far this year have already handled more than 10,000 such incidents – a 55 percent increase over last year – and we stand ready to respond whenever New Yorkers smell gas or suspect a gas emergency.”

“These recommendations represent a big step forward and will help strengthen New York City’s underground infrastructure. Coordinating repair work among the Department of Transportation and relevant public and private utilities will increase the pace and reduce the cost of rehabilitating the city’s underground infrastructure. Improving the contracting and permitting process is similarly beneficial. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for convening this work group and pursuing these timely and much-needed initiatives,” said Center for an Urban Future Executive Director Jonathan Bowles.

The report was produced by the New York City Underground Infrastructure Working Group, a group of City agencies convened by Mayor de Blasio and responsible for underground infrastructure and emergency response. The group will continue to meet internally, and with private stakeholders that perform underground work, to move forward on the recommendations included in the report and develop new recommendations to continue infrastructure improvements under the city’s streets. The Working Group includes the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Design and Construction, Department of Buildings, Fire Department, the Economic Development Corporation, and the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

Download the full report here:

Media Contact
(212) 788-2958