When public entities commission a study, it’s safe to assume that one or more, usually large, projects will follow. For some companies, following government studies is how they manage to get ahead of their competitors.

Most large government projects require a study of some sort – project feasibility, projected population growth, transportation patterns, public transit ridership, water usage, user demand projections, flooding trends, environmental assessments, etc. Companies with expertise conduct the studies, and their work is detailed and time consuming. Interestingly enough, studies don’t have a long shelf life so project decisions are usually made quickly when a study ends.

Here are a few examples of current studies that will definitely lead to contracting opportunities.

 
New York
A $16.9 million study that began in 2018 should be completed by the end of December, and opportunities will be available in early 2020. The study was designed to provide an in-depth look at the cost and best options for making the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) subway system accessible to people with disabilities. MTA has proposed $5 billion, as part of its $51.5 billion capital spending plan, to make 66 subway stations more accessible by adding elevators or ramps. The proposed 2020-2024 capital plan also will fund the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway – a cost of $3.8 billion per mile for a 1.5-mile extension. The East Side Access project connecting Grand Central to the Long Island Railroad will be extremely large. Cost projections have been stated at upwards of $11 billion. Due to the extremely high costs of these projects, the MTA is expected to request a study to examine other transit projects in cities comparable to New York.

The city of Saratoga Springs will issue a request for proposals (RFP) very soon for a comprehensive downtown parking management study. Each year, parking becomes scarcer and angry business owners are forced to move their vehicles every few hours because of parking time constraints. A new pay-to-park garage is currently under construction, but the new 3,000 public parking spaces it will provide will not remedy the parking problem. City officials plan to develop a city-wide parking plan, and after the study is concluded, new contracting opportunities will be in abundance.

 
South Carolina
With traffic congestion and safety concerns at the forefront of residents’ minds in Georgetown County, government officials will authorize a Grand Strand Area Transportation Study to address issues on the US 17 Corridor. The study will analyze traffic operations, growth patterns, history of accidents on the 19-mile stretch, and strategies to improve safety on the roadway. The study will provide options and recommendations for short-term, mid-term, and long-term projects. The study began in June and is expected to be completed early in 2020.

 
Washington
Grays Harbor County officials are considering a teaming agreement with Mason County for a regional facility to replace the small and inefficient Grays Harbor Correctional Facility. The current 33,000-square-foot building provides 176 beds for inmates and has multiple floors. A jail study is underway to provide recommendations related to another larger facility with more beds. The study will look at other correctional facilities with similar concepts, seek public input, identify the best location, and recommend funding options. A public-private partnership engagement may be the recommendation.

Tri-Cities (Pasco, Richland, and Kennewick) officials commissioned a study to analyze the potential of sports facilities. The study not only recommended that the cities move forward to construct sports facilities, but it also listed a number of initiatives to be launched. The cities of Pasco and Richland have publicly owned fields and amenities that are adequate. The study recommended that Richland spend $20 million to add four baseball/softball fields and eight turf fields at Hanford Legacy Park. It suggested that Pasco spend $9 million to upgrade its youth soccer complex for multi-sports use. However, because Kennewick lacked similar assets, the recommendation was that the city should consider a public-private partnership and construct a new indoor sports complex. The study further recommended a $40 million Kennewick facility that would include an ice rink, a number of batting cages, a pitching tunnel, some family entertainment space, and possibly more amenities.

 
New Hampshire
A study is underway in Carroll County, and the objective is to recommend options for affordable assisted living facilities in the county. Elected leaders are evaluating options and will rely on the study’s findings to identify a location for the facility, determine the best size based on regional demand, and make funding recommendations. The study should be completed early in 2020.

 
Ohio
Champaign County officials have commissioned a study related to housing. The study will identify current housing challenges in Urbana and in the villages of Mechanicsburg, North Lewisburg, and St. Paris. County leaders are aware of the need to remedy the housing shortage, but they hope to get recommendations from experts about how best to proceed. The study will be completed in January 2020.

 
Maryland
Baltimore County’s school district is the third largest in Maryland, and officials have committed to develop a 10-year plan to upgrade the schools. The study, which will be completed in 2020, will provide a multi-year improvement plan that identifies and analyzes capital improvement projects that will be required. The school system currently has a $1.3 billion “Schools for Our Future” program that lists a number of construction needs. The school’s 2020 budget includes sufficient funding to finish the “Schools for Our Future” projects, including $15 million for planning and design for renovations at Lansdowne High School and new facilities to replace Towson and Dulaney high schools. There will be many contracting opportunities in this region in 2020.

All kinds of studies are underway throughout the country. Almost all will lead to contracting opportunities in 2020. Depending on the geographic region of interest and the type of contracting opportunities a company likes to pursue, monitoring studies is an excellent way to find new business opportunities in the coming year.


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Mary Scott Nabers

As President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., Mary Scott Nabers has decades of experience working in the public-private sector. A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.