Major bond projects to launch in 2021
Citizens and taxpayers throughout the country supported extremely large bond packages for all types of projects in 2020. Most of the planning, citizen outreach, and preparation is underway, and project launches are expected to begin early in 2021. Examples follow … but, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Government contracting promises to be aggressive in 2021.
Portland Public Schools officials will begin the launch of construction projects funded by a recent $1.2 billion bond. Approximately $745 million is allocated for construction projects related to modernization and rebuilds of local school facilities. Spending at the Jefferson High School is projected to be about $311 million. The Benson Polytechnic High School has been allocated $250 million for modernizing Cleveland and Wilson High Schools. Voters approved another $13 million for additional building upgrades.
Voters in the city of Birmingham passed an $11.25 million bond last month that will provide ample funding for parks and recreation improvements. Another $4.75 million from an earlier bond package will be added to that amount. Twelve parks will benefit as well as the Birmingham Ice Arena and the Springdale Golf Course.
The state of Alabama approved another $1.25 billion bond package that allocates funding for Alabama K-12 schools and the state’s colleges and universities. State legislators, agreeing that even more funding may be required, passed the Investing in Alabama’s Future Act. The new law authorizes the Alabama Public School and College Authority to sell and issue bonds for capital improvements for the support of public education. The Walker County Board of Education will receive just over $8.9 million, while the Jasper City Board of Education will receive approximately $3.58 million. Each K-12 school system also will receive $400,000 as a result of a previous education funding formula. Approximately 1,600 K-12 schools in Alabama will benefit from the bond issue. The Alabama Community College System has slightly more than $120 million to distribute among the state’s 24 community colleges. Each education entity will use funding from the bond issue for construction or campus repairs.
The city of Plano has about $80 million remaining from previous voter-approved bond packages and the city plans to use all remaining funding before announcing another bond election early in 2021. City officials hope to raise another $409.5 million for more construction related projects. Recommendations include 27 departmental facilities projects, 19 park improvement projects, a single recreation center project and 20 street improvement projects.
Dickinson ISD voters recently approved a $94.2 million construction bond to accommodate growth, including the construction of a $73.7 million junior high school. Other big-ticket items in the bond package include $11.6 million for additions and renovations at the district’s transportation center, $3.2 million in upgrades at the agricultural center, and $1.5 million in improvements at the technology center.
The city of New Orleans plans to spend $1.1 billion over the next five years on infrastructure and other capital improvements. That funding will come from bonds and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). In 2021, additional funding of $271 million will be included from an earlier bond issue in 2019. About $138 million of that would go toward streets and drainage. Another $118 million would go toward public buildings and equipment, and the remaining would be spent on housing. One major project scheduled for 2021 is the relocation of City Hall operations to the Municipal Auditorium. The current headquarters for municipal government needs about $167.5 million in repairs and improvements and city operations will soon be moved to allow for the construction. Other near-term projects include restoration efforts at Lincoln Beach in New Orleans East and construction and upgrades to affordable housing including 839 new housing units.
Chicago city officials have announced plans to fund construction projects in 2021 and 2022 by using $1.4 billion in General Obligation (GO) bond proceeds. The multi-billion-dollar plan includes funding for deferred maintenance, and construction in the citywide Vision Zero traffic Safety program. Additionally, city leaders plan to invest in new bikeways, streetscapes, facility improvements, and public art. Near term projects include bridges, rehabilitation of underpasses, upgrades at five viaducts, pavement resurfacing, new street lighting and other sustainability projects.
The city of Albuquerque received voter approval previously on a $128 million bond package and is ready to begin a number of projects in 2021. City leaders have allocated $275,000 for a geographic information system, $500,000 for a cybersecurity program, $750,000 on technology, and $950,000 on network equipment upgrades. Additional spending will include $9 million for phase two of the Southeast Area Command substation, $7 million on the Southeast Regional Public Safety Center, $6 million on a Cibola Loop Multigenerational Center, $4 million on Fire Station 12, $3.5 million on a new Westgate Community Center, and $2 million to renovate the Loma Linda Community Center.
Contractors of all types should begin now checking out the upcoming opportunities in states of interest. Early identification, good positioning, and dedicated background research are essential components of success when it comes to capturing new government contracts.