Volume 17, Issue 24 - Friday, June 21, 2019 Optional Link
Houston's Interstate 45 expansion projected to cost $7B
After retooling a plan years in the making, state transportation officials are moving forward on their expansion of Interstate 45 in Houston that could cost up to $7 billion.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) started the project in 2004 as a travel study. Years later, its North Houston Highway Improvement Project could receive federal approvals by the end of the year.

TxDOT's plan divides the project into three segments that stretch from the city's downtown up to the Sam Houston Tollway in the north. The downtown could undergo $3 billion in changes such as burying sections of interstates 45 and 69 and tearing down the Pierce Elevated section of I-45. Work is expected to begin on some sections in late 2020 or in 2021 with the entire project taking more than 10 years to complete.
Governor signs $250.7B budget
Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state's $250.7 billion 2020-2021 budget into law on June 15 highlighted by a $11.6 billion school finance bill and a 3.5 percent cap on property tax rate increases.

Adjusted revenue projections and an encouraging economic outlook allowed legislators to budget billions more in spending, 16 percent more than in the 2017 state budget.

More than $6.5 billion will go to funding for schools, and $5.1 billion is allocated to property tax relief. Health and human services will receive $84 billion, but Medicaid funding will be cut $900 million.

Lawmakers set aside $6.1 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund to fund Hurricane Harvey recovery for school districts, disaster preparedness, and other uses. The budget also directs $800.6 million of general-purpose revenue in the next budget cycle to Texas-Mexico border security. It allocates $210 million to hire staff and decrease turnover at Department of Public Safety driver's license offices to help reduce wait times. Retired teachers and other school district employees will get a cost of living adjustment of $2,000.

Abbott did not exercise his line-item veto powers.
USACE taps 2 coastal infrastructure projects for federal P3 pilot program
Beach at Sabine Pass
Two Texas coastal infrastructure projects could benefit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) identifying them as candidates for further development as part of the Civil Works Public-Private Partnership (P3) Pilot Program.

USACE announced June 19 that the $3.9 billion Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Coastal Storm Risk Management Project and the $288 million Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project were among five projects to be identified for further development and validation.

At the direction of the assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, USACE is pursuing a public private partnership (P3) pilot program to accelerate project delivery in a constrained fiscal environment.

The Sabine Pass-Galveston Bay project's goal is to lower the risk of coastal storms and floods to the area. It has full federal funding. Non-federal project sponsors are the Texas General Land Office, Velasco Drainage District, Jefferson County Drainage District 7, and Orange County. USACE Galveston District staff estimates that the full federal funding will enable project completion in seven years versus 11 years without it.

The Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project would deepen the Port of Brownsville ship channel from 42 feet to 52 feet and dredge berthing areas, construct dredged material placement area capacity, raise levees, and provide aids to navigation. The Brownsville Navigation District is serving as the financial representative for the Port of Brownsville on this project. The P3 program is expected to save the project $150 million and allow for its completion by 2024.
TxDOT to study feasibility of I-27 extension from Lubbock to Laredo
Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB1079 on June 10 to give the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) the green light to conduct a comprehensive study on extending Interstate 27 from the Texas Panhandle to Laredo.

The bill requires TxDOT to establish a Ports-to-Plains Advisory Committee to assist with the study that will gauge project feasibility, costs, and logistics associated with the improvements that would allow for a continuous flow on a four-lane divided highway. TxDOT must submit the report on the Ports-to-Plains Corridor by Jan. 1, 2021. The entire corridor starts in Laredo and travels north through Texas to Denver.

From Lubbock south, the I-27 extension would travel to Lamesa, split with one branch going to Midland and the other to Big Spring before meeting back at Sterling City and continuing through San Angelo to Del Rio. Then, it would travel along the Texas-Mexico border to Eagle Pass, head east to Carrizo Springs, and south to Laredo.

A feasibility study in the late 1990s determined that neither the cost-benefit nor the public demand for extending I-27 was sufficient at the time. Planners and Interstate 27 advocates now envision the feasibility study as part of the plan to create an interstate system linking Mexico and Canada.
MC Harris High School
Officials at Bryan ISD received a facilities needs assessment earlier this month that will form the basis for bond oversight committee activities starting this summer and leading to a May 2020 bond election.

Consultants assessed the district's 34 facilities that include four high schools, one high school annex, two middle schools, two intermediate campuses, and 12 elementary schools. They also reviewed the district's administration building, several centers, Merrill Green Stadium, grounds, and transportation.

The assessment identified several major projects that have been planned or already designated as projects at an estimated cost of $28 million to address architectural needs. Top priority items that are classified as must-do projects for legal or safety reasons or to perform critical replacements totaled $68.39 million. These recommendations include $18.63 million for mechanical items, $12.94 million in building envelope needs, $12.71 million in life safety and security features, $5.88 million for civil projects, $4.95 million for electrical work, $1.3 million for plumbing projects, and other food service, athletics, and technology items.

Administrators will use the new assessment, a demographics study, and a salary study to work with the bond oversight committee to prepare a potential bond package for May 2020. According to the district's website, bond projects will be evaluated through committee-led meetings with stakeholders.

A bond election next year would be the second of a two-phase bond program that is a part of a long-term plan. Voters passed a $12 million bond last May that district officials said would take care of immediate needs related to safety and security, transportation, career and technical education, roofing, and maintenance.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
George Purefoy, City Manager, City of Frisco

George Purefoy
Career highlights and education: 
I earned my bachelor's degree from University of Texas - Arlington (UTA) and master of of public affairs degree from from East Texas State (now A&M Commerce). 
Some of my career highlights are: 
  • Dallas North Tollway (DNT) extension - With assistance from Ross Jacobs and Dave Denison, the city acquired 300-plus acres of right-of-way for the DNT extension. All but one parcel was dedicated.
  • Stonebriar CentreThe August 2000 grand opening of Stonebriar Centre mall was the event that announced: "Frisco has arrived - we're a player."
  • Developing public-private partnerships with the families of Lamar Hunt and Jerry JonesThese partnerships resulted in the development of Toyota Stadium and the National Soccer Hall of Fame as well as the Ford Center and The Star.
  • PGA of America -  Bringing this 600-acre, public-private partnership to Frisco will have a major impact on the development of our city's northern corridor.  
  • 31 Years in FriscoI've been blessed to be able to grow with this city as its city manager for 31 years; it's a dream come true.  It's like managing different cities given the way Frisco grows - and you don't need to move.  There are many challenges because Frisco is constantly changing, keeping it vibrant. Our growth is a credit to our mayors and city councils, past and present, as well as our citizens who have been supportive of growing Frisco.   
What I like best about my public service: Working to do the very best job here so we can get the best outcome for our citizens. 

The best advice I have received for my current job: Longtime City Manager David Griffin, who served Plano during its high growth period during the '70s and '80s, was gracious to share his secrets to success.  He advised me to "stay out of zoning" and "support the school district."  Behind 'location,' he said the quality of the school district will impact your city's growth and success.  So it's important to make sure we support our school districts as much as possible. 

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: It's your job to look after the best interest of the citizens of Frisco.
If I ever had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: playing with my grandson.

People would be surprised to know that I: was a police officer.

One thing I wish more people knew about the city of FriscoOur residents are hardworking, engaged, dedicated, and diverse. While there is wealth here, people really work hard at their professions to be successful. 
CAMPO targets regional connectivity 
Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) officials are focused on several regional corridor projects that they hope will relieve congestion and improve connectivity.

CAMPO staff are working on a subregional arterials study to review preliminary multi-modal concepts and improvements for the MoKan corridor and other roadways in the northeast sub-region of the agency's service area.

Roadways within the study's scope include:
  • MoKan corridor from Georgetown to Austin - 27 miles
  • FM 973 between Taylor to the Manor area - 24 miles
  • U.S. 79 from Round Rock to the east Taylor Bypass Interchange - 18 miles
  • FM 685-Dessau Road-Cameron Road from Hutto to Austin - 17.5 miles
  • SH 95 between SH 29 and U.S. 290 - 22 miles
  • Pflugerville Parkway-FM 1100 between Pflugerville and Elgin - 22.5 miles
CAMPO officials also are developing a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan with a transportation management association. The TDM plan will address congestion at high-volume traffic times and evaluate commuter behavior, technology, and employer and government incentives. Some concepts they will incorporate are ridesharing, using real-time information updates, planning thoughtful land use policies and developments, promoting multimodal transportation options, and allowing flexible work schedules.
Fort Bend considering $237M in projects for possible 2019 bond
Fort Bend County Commissioners discussed a list of proposed bond referendum projects on June 19 for a potential November bond election.

The list of projects is still being compiled, but according to a Project Funding Analysis provided by the county's Precinct 3 office, a total of 17 line items are under consideration that total $237.3 million.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers said that commissioners' recent conversations and studies are pointing to county needs for facilities, flood mitigation, and mobility.

Among the bond items on the list are a $100 million disaster recovery match, a $30.4 million juvenile detention expansion, a $27.3 million multi-purpose facility, a $23.2 million emergency management center, and a $16 million youth sports activity center.
New Metropolitan Planning Organization forms in Valley 
Gov. Greg Abbott signed a merger agreement establishing the Rio Grande Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) on June 14.

The merger brings three MPOs - Brownsville, Harlingen-San Benito, and Hidalgo County - together into one organization. The new organization will be the fifth-largest MPO in the state. MPOs are charged with oversight of the metropolitan planning process at the local level. By law, they must serve urban areas of at least 50,000 people.

State officials said the new MPO would create new opportunities for the Rio Grande Valley, which would be better positioned to receive additional state and federal funding.
Westwood ISD committee lining up $39M bond for November election
Facilities Advisory Committee members are planning to recommend to Westwood ISD board members that the district call a $39 million bond election for November.

Security, education, and facility needs for aging buildings are reasons the committee is working on another referendum after the district's May 4 election failed by five votes. Several Westwood buildings date to the 1950s, and the last major construction project in the district was completed 40 years ago.

Some additions to the previous bond package call for construction of specific entrances for middle school and high school students and a dedicated middle school space for sixth-graders. An auditorium-performing arts center could be included in the item list.
Bergstrom Spur study to research corridor linking south Austin-ABIA
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) board voted on June 10 to begin a Bergstrom Spur Platinum Planning Study.

The study's purpose is to look at creating a corridor linking south Austin to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The land being researched is roughly a 6-mile stretch of an abandoned railroad running parallel to Highway 290. CAMPO staff already have developed a few ideas for the area that include constructing an urban trail in the beginning and eventually transitioning it into a high-capacity transit system.

CAMPO was awarded a $280,000 grant in May 2018 to conduct the study. Officials expect the plan to be complete in about nine months.
Austin's Shoal Creek erosion control project estimated at $20M
The city of Austin is facing a projected $20 million repair project for Shoal Creek after severe rains damaged both city land and private properties in May 2018.

The devastation of an approximately 300-foot portion of the bank collapsed into Shoal Creek causing a variety of issues including landslides and busted wastewater lines and leaving properties along Lamar vulnerable to a wave of problems. Originally set to be a $10 million project, the estimate has doubled due to additional erosion and unstable land.

Engineering plans are set to be finished within a couple of months, and city officials would like for work to start in September. Once the bank has been repaired and structurally made safe the city will begin to examine repairing the hike and bike trail.

Due to the geographic landscape of the terrain, the area is susceptible to erosion during heavy rainstorms and will need to be stabilized instead of patched. Suggestions made in previous years of potentially using limestone blocks to create a retaining wall are being revisited by city staff officials.
Denison ISD considering $20M bond
Mayes Elementary School
Increasing capacity at two Denison ISD elementary schools was the focus of discussion at a school board meeting June 18. Board members passed a proposal that recommended expanding Mayes Elementary School for $10.6 million and Hyde Park Elementary School for $10.25 million with a $20 million to $22 million bond.

The plan would increase capacity at both schools by 200 students each. All of the district's schools are at 70 percent capacity or above, and all of its elementary schools are at 85 percent to 95 percent capacity.
Sherman leaders weighing facility options for police department
Proposed police station rendering
City leaders are looking into options for a new space for the Sherman Police Department to keep up with its growth. As of right now, they have narrowed their choices down to either renovating their current space or building a new facility

Plans for building a new facility would include an estimated $12.11 million budget, 24,400 square-foot building, and a new location situated off FM 1417. Renovating would cost approximately $4.63 million and looks to add 3,000 square feet to their original building.

A new building would be expected to last 20 years. Renovations could serve the department for another five to 10 years. Under the new police station plan, officials would want to be able to use the old facility to support other city staffers. In addition to the funding for the police station, the city of Sherman is looking into completing $1 million renovations to the fire station.
San Benito to fund sewer projects
San Benito City Commissioners voted on June 18 to borrow $1.5 million from bond sales to pay for planning and design of a $8.2 million upgrade to the city's dilapidated sewer system.

After the city suffered several sewage spills in 2009 and 2010 due to its aging sewer system, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) reached an agreement with San Benito to join its Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative in 2012. A portion of the agreement waved state penalties and ordered the city to fix the sewer system before March 2023; otherwise, the city would be subject to severe fines.

San Benito officials said they plan to borrow the remaining $6.7 million from the sale of certificates of obligation and offset the debt by allocating $65,000 from the San Benito Economic Development Corporation and securing $17,230 in Community Development Block Grant funds.

City officials said they want to get this project moving forward to avoid incurring TCEQ fines.
P3 Airport Summit
July 22 & 23 / San Diego, California
The P3 Airport Summit returns July 22-23, 2019 in San Diego at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. With over 1,000 participating delegates, the Summit is attended by owners, operators, airlines, state and local infrastructure leaders, and public-private partnership (P3) experts.

This year's program explores many recent examples of P3 airport transactions in the United States, airport infrastructure issues faced nationwide, use of innovations in project delivery, procurement, life-cycle asset management, technology as solutions for pressing issues, and more.
The P3 Airport Summit is one of the largest gatherings of airport and industry development professionals in the country. With more than 125-plus speakers addressing the critical principles behind successful public-private partnerships, the program will serve as a guide to the current trends, challenges, and opportunities in the P3 aviation market.
Check out our social media links!

By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Parking has become a critical consideration for governmental entities throughout the country. In the next 18 months, there will be thousands of upcoming opportunities related to planning, designing, engineering, and constructing new parking facilities. Not only is parking critical to public agencies, but it also is of the highest concern to cities, counties, colleges and universities, sports complexes, cultural and tourist venues, hospitals, and health-care facilities.

Here are just a few of the many examples.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is ready to solve its parking problems, and a statewide procurement is underway for a private sector firm to provide a comprehensive parking study. The analysis will prioritize needs and make suggestions related to various types of parking structures. And the study will focus on parking as it intersects with public transit, autonomous vehicles, and transit facilities. In the not too distant future, other contracting opportunities will be released ... but now is the time for interested contractors to be visiting stakeholders and public officials. These public officials prefer to contract and do business with companies they know and trust. Relationships that are solidified before a company responds to any type of solicitation are extremely important.

State officials in California are also seeking guidance about how to address their parking needs throughout the state. A new report has been ordered that will focus particularly on facilities at Caltrans Headquarters offices in Sacramento, the Caltrans District Office in San Diego, and 12 Caltrans district offices. Numerous other locations have also been identified as high priority areas. Following a review of the study, various types of contracting opportunities can be anticipated.

Check out this article from our Pipeline newsletter!

Christian to chair railroad commission
Wayne Christian
Commissioners at the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) recently elected Wayne Christian as the agency's new chairman.

Since taking office at RRC in 2016, Christian has been appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) as the Texas representative.

In 1996, Christian was elected to the House of Representatives where he served as vice-chair of regulated industries and as a multi-term member of the Energy Resource Committee.
He replaces Christi Craddick who has served as RRC's chairman since December 2016.
Fort Worth names 2 interim assistant city managers
Dana Burghdoff and Kevin Gunn have been named as interim assistant city managers at the city of Fort Worth to replace the outgoing Susan Alanis, who is joining the Tarrant County College District as its chief operating officer in July.
Dana Burghdoff
Burghdoff, who has worked for the city for 20 years, will head the planning and development, water, transit, and public works departments. She also will lead the city's relationship with the Fort Worth Zoo, changes to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, and certain transportation efforts.

Kevin Gunn
Gunn was hired by the city in December 2014. He will be responsible for information technology services (ITS), finance, and property management departments. He previously was the ITS director and interim director of the Financial Management Services Department.

They join assistant city managers Jay Chapa, Fernando Costa, and Valerie Washington.

Bastrop EDC selects
Davis as interim executive director
Phallan Davis
Bastrop Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) board members on June 17 promoted Phallan Davis to serve as interim executive director.

Davis, who was hired in December as BEDC's marking and communications manager, succeeds Mike Kamerlander who accepted a position as the city of Lockhart's director of economic development.

She has 13 years of experience in brand management, media relations, and digital communications as a senior public information specialist for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), communications specialist for a Texas utility company, public relations specialist for a national manufacturers association, and several communications and public relations positions in Washington, D.C.
UTD names Martin as VP, Chief of Staff 
Rafael Martin
The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) appointed Rafael Martin as the university's vice president and chief of staff, effective July 1.

Martin previously served in roles at UTD as associate vice president for research, director of research administration, and manager of the Office of Technology Transfer. Before that, he was a paramedic in North Carolina and business analyst with a global consulting firm in Dallas and Toronto.

Ector County ISD hires Muri to be superintendent
Scott Muri
Ector County ISD will welcome Scott Muri as its new superintendent on July 1.

Muri will take over for interim Superintendent Jim Nelson. School board members appointed Nelson to replace Tom Crowe who retired last fall.

As Spring Branch ISD's superintendent for four years, Muri led the redesign of the district's compensation system and recruiting efforts. He also was deputy superintendent of academics in Fulton County Schools in Atlanta and held various supervisory positions at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina.
Villerot named
Del Valle acting superintendent
Annette Villerot
School board members at Del Valle ISD appointed Annette Villerot as acting superintendent June 19. She succeeds Kelly Crook who resigned earlier this month after eight years as the district's superintendent.

Villerot, who previously served as deputy superintendent for the district, is scheduled to assume the interim superintendent title July 1.

Before she joined Del Valle ISD, she was an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Pflugerville ISD, assistant superintendent of academics for Comal ISD, and an executive director of curriculum and special programs for Manor ISD. Villerot also worked as an educator at Round Rock ISD and at Delaware Valley School District.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced these appointments/reappointments from June 14-20

Jerry Romero 
- El Paso, Texas Workforce Investment Council

Jennifer Kurth Williamson - Southlake, Aerospace and Aviation Advisory Committee

Jeff Beeson - Crowley, Correctional Managed Health Care Committee

Jason Denny - Austin, Manufactured Housing Board

Eva Storey - Houston, State Independent Living Council

Jim Batchelor - Cooper, State Independent Living Council

Garry Simmons Jr. - San Antonio, State Independent Living Council
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Tax Policy News - June 2019 issue

Texas Legislative Budget Board - District Runs for HB3 Conference Committee Report

Texas Department of Family Protective Services - Quality Metrics Report - 2Q - FY 2019
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week:  
  • Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Housing Resource Center (HRC) Planner
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - CPA - Web Administrator
  • Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company - CPA - Trader - Cash Management
  • Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company - General Counsel IV
  • Texas Legislative Council - Automated Data Processing Equipment Operator II-III
  • Ector County Environmental Enforcement Department - Criminal Investigator
  • Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Subrecipient Monitor
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - CPA - Revenue Estimator - (Data Analyst V)
  • Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Customer Service Representative
  • Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Program Specialist

View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives

Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
Editor: Devin Monk 
TGI is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1995 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.   
To learn more about SPI services, click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900. 
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