Volume 20, Issue 33 - August 19, 2022

Government contracting is making significant moves to include intelligent technology in upcoming projects
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.

Just months ago, the U.S. Senate authorized the largest five-year research and development budget in U.S. history. The $250 billion investment marks a monumental increase in federal support for projects that deploy smart city technology. 

To no surprise, state and local public officials are enthusiastic about launching these types of projects. Technology that is especially attractive includes artificial intelligence (AI), advanced communications, energy efficiency, and data collection related to various types of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. For at least the next five years, federal funding is expected to continue to flow for technologies that increase efficiency, enhance public safety, provide resilience, and promote renewable energy and clean air. 

Earlier this month, the Federal Highway Administration distributed more than $45 million in funding for intelligent transportation system projects in ten different states. The Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grants are designed to be used for transportation infrastructure projects. The funding is available for DOTs in every state. 

Click here for more

AISD approves district's largest bond package

The Austin Independent School District (AISD) Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the largest bond package in the district’s history. Registered voters will be able cast their ballot on the $2.44 billion bond package in November.

The plan focuses on equity and critical infrastructure improvements and includes $2.18 billion for campus improvements. These campus improvements will consist of the phased modernization of five middle schools. Under this budget, Burnet Middle School will receive $157 million, and Travis High will receive $251.5 million.

Safety was also a priority in the plan, with $10 million allocated for districtwide security improvements, including upgraded locks and security fences. Other projects that will receive funding include:

  • $75.5 million for technology upgrades and equipment.
  • $25.7 million for bus upgrades, including a commitment to electric busses.
  • $13 million for the Clifton Center, a career and technical education school.
  • $25 million for turf and lighting improvements to athletic facilities.

This bond package was announced after the Texas Education Agency released its ratings for the school district and each campus. While the district overall received a B, officials hope this funding will help address issues on specific campuses.

Dallas County to study needs of building/renovating jail

Dallas County commissioners have agreed to move forward with a study on whether to renovate or build a new county jail. There also will be the formation of a building study committee to review the current state of the jail and criminal courthouse, including infrastructure, environmental concerns, safety issues, capacity for operations, current work processes and issues, and opportunities for improvement.  

Commissioners decided to hire a firm to complete a Master Facilities Plan for the Dallas County Jail within six months. The outcome of this work would be a roadmap of options for the Commissioners Court to consider for the jail facilities. The Master Facilities Plan will identify the following: 

  • Assessment of projected inmate population levels disaggregated by offender type.  
  • Analysis of factors impacting bedspace needs.  
  • Assessment of options to control detention population.  
  • Suitability for purpose evaluation to determine how existing facilities align with evolving system needs.  
  • Development of facility scenarios to confront current and future facility needs. 
  • High level evaluation of location options for detention facilities.  
  • Identify opportunities for population management by consolidating, remodeling, and where necessary replacing current facilities.  
  • Cost/benefit analysis of system plan alternatives. 

Dallas County maintains jail facilities covering over 2.5 million square feet, servicing over 6,000 persons in custody on any given day. Dallas County’s 50-year-old jail has failed inspections two years in a row. Every month, the county spends $12 million to run and operate the jail. 

FTA announces $1.66B in grants to help lower emission production

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded $1.66 billion in grants to transit agencies, territories, and states across the country to invest in 150 bus fleets and facilities. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, more than 1,100 of those vehicles will use zero-emissions technology, which reduces air pollution and helps meet the President’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. This year’s funding alone will nearly double the number of no-emission transit buses on America’s roadways.  

The city of Lubbock’s Citibus transit service was awarded $39.6 million to buy as many as 48 hybrid electric buses to replace buses that are on average 20 years old and beyond their useful life. The buses will help create a more reliable, environmentally friendly and sustainable transit service that will increase ridership. 

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) will receive $21.5 million to buy 20 battery electric buses and charging infrastructures to replace aging diesel buses that have exceeded their useful life. 

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro) is getting $20 million to build a demand-response operations and maintenance facility in Springdale. The site will accommodate the expansion of MetroAccess and pickup demand-response service and incorporate sustainable features such as renewable energy, recycled water, and electric vehicle components.  

The city of El Paso Mass Transit Department-Sun Metro is receiving $8.8 million to buy up to 50 zero-emission paratransit vehicles and 25 charging stations to replace aging vehicles that have exceeded their useful life. 

The city of Laredo and Laredo Transit Management Inc. will get $7.4 million to buy 14 compressed natural gas buses to replace diesel buses. 

Saluting Texas' Lone Stars

Richard F. Cortez

County Judge

Hidalgo County 

Public career and education highlights: I have had the honor of serving my neighbors as the Mayor of the City of McAllen and a City Commissioner before getting elected

County Judge. I am a graduate of Pan American College and one of my career highlights was becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified valuation analyst (CVA).

What I like best about my public service is: The opportunity to serve the community in multiple facets.

The best advice I’ve received is: Get well informed before every decision and trust your own best judgment.

My favorite way to de-stress is: Family and friends. 

People might be surprised to know that I: Played in a rock and roll band when I was in high school and college. 

One thing I wished more people knew about Hidalgo County is:

 We are a county of ethnic diversity and much opportunity. 

El Paso residents to vote on $272M bond

El Paso will vote on a $272.48 million bond in November that will fund improvements in streets, parks, and recreational centers. These are all issues that the public has identified as community priorities.

Proposition A will provide $135 million for the street improvements. This will include new sidewalks, streetscapes, traffic controls, and planning. Funding will go to the top 50 most traveled roadways in El Paso. Breaking down the budget further, $35 million will fund residential resurfacing, $15 million will fund intersection safety, and $52 million will fund street connectivity.

Proposition B will provide $20.8 million for parks and recreation facilities. This includes $10 million for an All-Abilities playground. New shade structures and providing funds for critical small-scale park projects are also covered in this proposition.

Proposition C will provide $5.2 million for renewable energy and resource-use efficiency improvement planning. This funding will be used to develop a comprehensive Climate Action Plan to establish goals and strategies to maximize co-benefits, and address local climate and social stressors.

TWDB approves $24.1M for water/flood projects

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has approved financial assistance totaling $24.1 million for water and flood projects. The Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District No. 7 will receive $10.8 million for a flood mitigation project. The district will reduce internal flood risk though a combination of additional stormwater pumping and detention capacity, including the construction of a new detention pond to provide an additional approximate 115 acre-feet of storage. 

The Parker County Utility District will receive $13 million to construct water distribution system improvements, including a new elevated storage tank, transmission lines, and distribution lines. 

The Moffat Water Supply Corporation will get $600,000 for water system improvements. Early in the design phase, the project team determined that additional funding would be needed to complete construction due to rising costs. With the remaining project funds and the additional financial assistance, the corporation will construct a new 200,000-gallon elevated storage tank and a new ground storage tank, as well as make pump station improvements. 

Greensville ISD calls $136.2M bond election

Residents in the Greensville Independent School District area will have the chance to vote on the school board’s proposed $136.2 million bond election in November. Two projects to be listed on the ballot would improve conditions for students and staff. 

The first project covers the replacement of the district’s LP Waters Early Childhood Center for an estimated $31.1 million. If the bond is passed, the district will build a new 500-student capacity early childhood center adjacent to the current campus. They would then demolish the existing structure for better parking and traffic circulation.

Greensville ISD’s second proposed project is the replacement of Greenville Middle School for an estimated $105.1 million. Plans state the school will house around 1,400 students and will be built on 24.5 acres of land. The district will also move sixth-graders to the new middle school campus and have Travis Elementary School/Sixth Grade Center switch back to being just an elementary school to address overcrowding.

Both campuses are 72 years old and are out of compliance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, Texas Education Agency (TEA) standards, and updated building codes.

San Antonio Airport to hire master architect for Terminal Development Program

The city of San Antonio and the San Antonio Airport System (SAAS) are seeking an experienced firm with demonstrated technical capabilities and aviation experience to provide master architect support services for the life of the Terminal Development Program (TDP). The consultant will be integrated into a city-led, Airport Terminal Development Program team that will be a blend of city and consultant staff. 

The selected master architect team will provide design and coordination for projects in the TDP. These include, but are not limited to Terminal C, including central processor and Federal Inspection Station, ground transportation center and parking garage, terminal support facilities, public safety building, Centralized Concessions Receiving and Distribution facility, terminal roadway realignment, and jet A hydrant fueling system.  

The architect also will provide support to other team members in the technical review of all construction documents produced by subsequent design-build teams. The architect will engage in punch list and walk-through activities at interim completion milestones and project completion. 

The master architect contract is anticipated to be awarded in early 2023. The request for qualifications is due by September 30 at 2 p.m. CDT.

Architectural services requested for University Medical Center El Paso

The El Paso County Hospital District is requesting architectural services for the University Medical Center of El Paso. These services also include structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, civil design construction drawings, and bid and construction administration for multiple renovation projects for the hospital.  

Work to be performed includes the following: 

  • Convert an unused X-Ray and CT Scan Room within the UMC Surgical Center West to two Procedure Rooms. 
  • Expand the UMC Surgical Center West to include an additional Operating Room. 
  • Renovate the Emergency Department at UMC to create additional Triage spaces. 
  • Develop options for converting Treatment Rooms at UMC Clinics to multi-occupancy staff work stations. 
  • Examine options for renovating the Physical Therapy Gym at the UMC Burnham Clinic. 
  • Investigate alternate locations for the UMC Secondary (i.e. “backup”) Data Center. 

University Medical Center of El Paso is the largest public hospital located directly on the U.S./Mexico border and it is the only teaching hospital in the West Texas/Southern New Mexico region, affiliated with the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. The facility has 354 beds and serves as the region’s only Level 1 trauma center.  

This request for qualifications is due by September 21, 2022, at 2 p.m. MDT. 

New site provides economic development agreements

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has created an online database for local governments to report their economic development agreements authorized by either Chapter 380 or Chapter 381 of the Local Government Code. The searchable database allows the public to search for agreements by local government, business entity, and agreement type. 

Chapter 380 of the Local Government Code authorizes municipalities to offer incentives designed to promote economic development such as commercial and retail projects. Chapter 381 empowers counties to offer the same incentives. 

The database, created for greater transparency, will be Texas’ central repository for these local agreements, and local entities will provide a direct link on their website to the location of their agreement on the Comptroller’s website. 

The Comptroller’s office is not in charge of approving the agreements.

Plano ISD places $1.5B bond on ballot

Registered voters in the Plano Independent School District will be asked to consider four bond propositions totaling more than $1.5 billion in November. These propositions will provide facility renovations across the district. 

The largest proposition, Proposition A, will provide around $1.2 billion in funding for renovations, safety and security upgrades, infrastructure, transportation, fine arts, technology infrastructure, athletics, and innovation programs. Proposition B will fund technology upgrades, equipment replacement, and data center upgrades with $173 million.

Proposal C will provide $130 million to build an event center that would serve as a multi-use and flexible event space for graduation, concerts, athletic competitions, and special events. Proposition D will cover athletic stadium renovations with $19 million in funding.

According to district officials, if the bond is approved, the next bond proposal will not be held for another six or seven years.

Vegas chosen to lead ERCOT

Pablo Vegas, a utility executive who lives in Ohio, will be the new leader of Texas’ main power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

Vegas becomes ERCOT’s first permanent chief executive in 16 months, since former CEO Bill Magness was released of duties. Brad Jones has been ERCOT’s interim CEO. Vegas will start on October 1.

He is executive vice president and group president of a utility company. The Indiana-based company delivers natural gas to approximately 3.1 million customers across six states and electricity to about 470,000 customers in Indiana. 

Treviño joins METRO Board of Directors

Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) Executive Director Roberto Treviño has joined the Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) Board of Directors. As executive director of HCTRA, Treviño is responsible for capital and other assets totaling $4.7 billion.  

Before HCTRA, Treviño had a 17-year career with METRO. As executive vice president of planning, engineering, and construction, he was responsible for overseeing and managing METRO's Service Planning, System Planning, Engineering and Construction, and Facilities Maintenance divisions. 

Treviño replaces outgoing METRO Board Member Jim Robinson.

DART selects Cato as chief of police

Charles Cato has been selected as the new chief of police at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).

A public safety executive with almost 33 years of law enforcement and leadership experience, Cato will direct and oversee the DART Police Department including sworn officers, emergency preparedness, and security services.

Cato joins DART from the city of Mesquite, where he served as the chief of police. He will assume his new role on September 6, 2022. Matt Walling has been serving as the DART interim chief of police.

Killeen hires downtown revitalization director

Killeen City Council members selected Katlin Kizito as the city’s downtown revitalization director.

Kizito was Main Street director and public relations manager for Fountain Inn, South Carolina, which has a population of about 11,000. Killeen has a population of more than 150,000.

She’s also worked as neighborhood services coordinator for Greer and assistant to the county administrator for Spartanburg County — both in South Carolina. 

Corpus Christi calls for $125M bond election

The city of Corpus Christi plans to present a $125 bond package on the November election ballot. The Bond 2022 Program will highlight four propositions - Proposition A is Streets ($92.5 million), Proposition B is Parks ($20 million), Proposition C is Public Safety ($10 million), and Proposition D is Libraries ($2.5 million).  

Parks and Recreation is asking for $10 million for construction of a new swimming pool with restrooms, lockers, and supporting infrastructure at Bill Witt City Park. At Westside Pony, three baseball fields will receive a concession stand remodel, lighting improvements, synthetic turf on the infield of three fields, demolish old restrooms and build new restrooms, bleachers, irrigation, and new fencing at a cost of more than $3.3 million.

The city is requesting $20 million for reconstruction, sidewalk repairs, curbs and ramps, and lighting on Yorktown Street from Rodd Field to Oso Bridge. Alameda Street, between Airline and Everhart, for reconstruction, ADA compliance, and improvements to curbs and sidewalks at a cost of $11 million.  

To replace Fire Station No. 8 and Fire Station No. 10, the city will need $4 million for land acquisition and design. The project for a Far South Police Substation will need $4 million for land acquisition, design, and construction.

Roanoke prepares for $39M public safety facility

The city of Roanoke has approved an architectural firm to design the city’s new police and courts facility. City officials purchased an approximately 5.5-acre project site located at the southwest corner of Fairway Drive and Park Drive. 

The city produced a needs assessment December 2020, that included the preliminary architectural site and conceptual adjacency planning layouts, space program, and preliminary construction budget. The facility will include about 36,000 square feet for the police facility, 3,200 square feet for the police support building, 8,600 square feet for courts program dedicated spaces, and 10,600 square feet for a shooting range building. 

The total construction cost to complete the project is now anticipated to be approximately $39 million. The land chosen for the project will allow future expansion space to be included as growth occurs over the next several decades. The city has chosen construction manager at risk as the delivery method for the projects. 


Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from August 12-18:

Small Business Assistance Advisory Task Force

Omar Veliz - El Paso

Texas Public Finance Authority

Lance Etcheverry - Dallas

Texas Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors

Arun Agarwal - Dallas

Chair of State Cemetery Committee

Tom Sellers - Austin

478th Judicial District Court

Wade Faulkner - Salado

Connect with Us
Check out our
social media links!
Facebook  Linkedin  
View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives
Help us share this message.
To ensure delivery and proper formatting of the newsletter, be sure to add editor@spartnerships.com to your safe senders list. Otherwise, the newsletter may be flagged as spam and automatically routed to your junk e-mail folder.
 For news or calendar items: editor@spartnerships.com 
For information about SPI's products and services: sales@spartnerships.com
© 2022 Strategic Partnerships, Inc. All rights reserved.