Volume 18, Issue 42 - October 16, 2020
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is looking to the future growth and modernization of its facilities and services with a focus on the planning and design for infrastructure associated with the airport’s Automated People Mover (APM).

Officials said the airport’s modernization may include new terminal development with which the APM would need to interface and it may require the construction of new stations. They desire a system that remains current with the airport’s development.

The selected contractor will focus on system design that could include new construction and expansion or remodeling of existing facilities. The vendor may be responsible for commissioning, implementation of new technologies, assessments of existing conditions, and development of maintenance plans, specifications, and renewal plans. The contractor will not provide maintenance or operations.

Focus areas are the 10,000 square feet of APM guideway, control rooms, and 10 stations. The APM system currently features 64 passenger vehicles coupled into 32 married pairs, various power distribution and equipment rooms, and a 110,000-square-foot maintenance and storage facility.

After conducting a recent procurement for engineering and design services, airport board members are scheduled to award an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract on December 3 and the airport plans to issue a notice to proceed later that month.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is seeking more than $31.68 million in state funding to update its data center services in FY 2022-2023.

TCEQ plans to modernize its legacy Occupational Licensing (OL) and Commissioner Integrated Database (CID) applications by using previous Critical Technology Upgrade (CTU) modernization projects and incorporating new, standard agency technology framework.

Limited support options for old technology and legacy applications prompted the request. The new CTU framework provides increased efficiencies and a web-based approach better adapted to remote working. New CTU applications will have strengthened information security and comply with required accessibility standards.

TCEQ is required to have an interagency agreement with the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) for data center services. TCEQ servers, databases, and websites reside in the state data centers, and the hardware and software supporting these systems, as well as services such as data backups, are funded through this budget.
The North Texas Commission (NTC) will host the 2020 virtual Legislative Summit from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. October 20-21 to prepare the region for the 87th Legislative Session.

Numerous speakers and panels will cover myriad topics ranging from Texas’ budget, the state of oil and gas, Medicaid and 1115 waivers, and redistricting.

State Comptroller Glenn Hegar is scheduled to open the discussions that will feature participation by Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian, several state senators and representatives, Metroplex mayors and city managers, school district superintendents, and Strategic Partnerships CEO Mary Scott Nabers.

Established in 1971, NTC is a unique public-private partnership that drives large impactful projects and legislative issues benefiting a 13-county region in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The commission manages the region’s unified advocacy voice at the state and federal levels, as well.

Register today to reserve your access to Texas government leaders as the region looks ahead to the upcoming legislative session.
Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) is requesting state funding in the next biennium with a focus on applied sciences and technology capital projects.

In its Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) filed on October 12 with the Legislative Budget Board, SFA is seeking funding for three exceptional items that would help the university expand its technology curriculum and adjust to new industry standards.

SFA is requesting $53 million in capital funding for an Interdisciplinary and Applied Sciences Building, which will provide contemporary laboratories and classrooms for multiple cooperating and interdependent academic programs.

The building will contain offices, classrooms, laboratories, greenhouses, and related facilities for academic departments and programs in agriculture, biology, environmental sciences, forestry, wildlife, geospatial sciences, and geology.

A $45 million Agriculture and Technology Complex would include a 30,000-square-foot teaching arena with an attached 24,000 square feet of classroom space that will contain agricultural engineering technology and industrial engineering technology programs.

These facilities will allow the university to expand programs including advanced manufacturing, industrial supervision, construction supervisors, construction managers, industrial engineers, wholesale and manufacturing representatives, and veterinary technologists.

The university plans to award architect and engineering contracts followed by Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) contracts for these two buildings.

SFA is proposing a $2 million Center for Applied Research and Rural Innovation to bring faculty and students together with business, industry, education, and community partners in interactive environments.

In addition, SFA is seeking the restoration of the 5 percent biennial reduction that amounts to $402,990 made during the FY 2022-2023 biennium.
Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L) issued a request for information (RFI) to companies who provide Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Gateway software and services in order to assist in the utility’s preparation of developing a purchase specification.

LP&L is seeking feedback to satisfy a need for an EDI service in support of the Oracle Customer Cloud Service (CCS) Market Transaction Manager (MTM) to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Pending approval, the utility will issue a request for proposals, which will contain the terms and conditions of the EDI Gateway required.

LP&L will be advertising for EDI Gateway software in 2021 to use in communication of data between LP&L, CCS, MTM, ERCOT, and, potentially, with ERCOT-approved retailers.

RFI responses are due by 2 p.m. November 3.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) expects to procure a second contractor in the next six to nine months for the Cotton Belt Veloweb Trail. 

The contractor will be responsible for building critical sections of the 26-mile regional bicycle-pedestrian trail that will run parallel to the Silver Line and connect seven cities across three North Texas counties. The contractor will build in various constrained locations before the trains are operable. 

DART’s planned Silver Line commuter rail line will start at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and continue northeast through the cities of Grapevine, Coppell, Dallas, Carrollton, Addison, and Richardson before terminating in Plano. 

The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) authorized an increase in funding from $8.2 million to $14.9 million for the engineering of the bicycle-pedestrian trail and construction of critical portions, as well as sound walls near schools. 

In September the RTC voted to pay 100 percent of the design of the Cotton Belt Trail, and $245,000 in Surface Transportation Block Grant funds for two safety walls near two schools. 
The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (AAMPO) is preparing a subregional planning study to develop near- and mid-term multi-modal projects and programs in the Interstate 35 corridor connecting northeast Bexar, Comal, and Guadalupe counties. 

AAMPO is commissioning the study to continue refinement and eventual implementation of selected strategies recommended by the Capital-Alamo Connection Study and future need identified by the Regional Thoroughfare Planning Study. 

Strategies may include identifying a network of arterials to be designated as relief routes, undertaking feasibility studies of those routes, prioritizing improvements on the existing transportation network and identifying potential new connections. 

Other objectives are developing performance measures and a protocol for information exchange, initiating arterial improvement coordination between cities and counties, recommending local corridor preservation and corridor management activities, and developing a regional strategy for smart multimodal corridors in line with the Texas Department of Transportation’s future scenarios for lane management of I-35 and Interstate 10. 

AAMPO intends for the study to address incident management and access management, and coordinate regional bicycle networks and regional transit service routes to promote regional multimodal corridors. 
The Laguna Madre Water District in Port Isabel will seek voter approval in a November 3 bond election for $27.62 million to fund three capital improvement projects.

More than $21.54 million in upgrades are planned for the district’s Water Treatment Plant No. 1 to install a new filtration system that would allow the facility to serve as a backup to Plant No. 2.

The district plans to build a $3.53 million elevated storage tank that would increase water pressure and help the system keep up with user demand.

By improving water mains on Laguna Boulevard and the Causeway area for $1.6 million the district aims to improve water pressure and provide a backup water source. Valve replacements would allow the district to minimize the impact on the public during maintenance.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program awarded grants to the ports of Brownsville and Port Arthur to support infrastructure projects at both facilities.

Brownsville will receive $14.5 million to support the development, expansion, and upgrade of the port’s 3 million-bushel grain elevator and bulk handling facility. The project consists of fixed landside, rail, and road improvements, as well as related planning and other development activities. Once completed, the project will improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of goods.

The Port of Port Arthur Navigation District will benefit from $9.72 million to support the replacement of aging critical port infrastructure while improving cargo mobility and productivity. The project will include the deconstruction and removal of a metal clad dockside transit shed, reconditioning of a concrete slab, the erection of a building providing useable storage, and a covered area for all-weather truck and rail loading.

Brownsville and Port Arthur’s projects were among 18 initiatives in 15 states and territories to receive more than $220 million in MARAD grant funding.
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is pre-qualifying contractors in advance of a request for proposals (RFP) for Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) services to replace and/or refurbish Wirtz Dam tainter gates and hoist bridges.

LCRA anticipates releasing the RFP on November 16 to address corrosion issues and structural deficiencies with respect to modern tainter gate design.

 Based on an engineering report, LCRA decided to replace all 10 tainter gates (Gates 1 through 10) and 9 hoist bridges (for Gates 2 through 10). Further investigation determined Gate 1 and the hoist bridges for Gates 2 through 10 have the potential to be upgraded/refurbished.

Wirtz Dam is located on the Colorado River in Llano and Burnet counties near Marble Falls. The dam construction was begun in 1949 and completed in 1950. The main concrete ogee spillway has nine tainter gates (gates 2-10) 50 feet wide by 31 feet high. Gate 1 is of a different construction style, but it has the same dimensions as the other gates. Stoplogs for both styles gates are present and may be installed to dewater the upstream gate face.

LCRA expects to award a contract in April 2021 and begin construction in March 2022.
The city of Palmview is clearing the way for a new Main Street project that has been in the planning stages for three years.

At a presentation last week, city leaders provided an overview of the business development project spearheaded by the Palmview Municipal Development District to revitalize the area.

Installation of sewer lines and demolition of a former ballroom at the 8-acre tract across West Expressway 83 from Palmview City Hall is designed to attract new business to the city that is losing retail revenues to other cities.

Palmview officials said they hope to attract an urgent care center in addition to new retail businesses and restaurants on the city-owned site.

The city plans to construct a new road that will connect the development to Farm-to-Market Road 495 and city hall.
Washington, D.C. – Southern and Western states claimed most of the top spots in a recent ranking of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., according to a new study by a personal finance firm. 

The company compared 515 cities of varying population sizes based on 17 measures of growth and decline over seven years. Its data set ranged from population growth to unemployment rate decrease to growth in regional gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. 

Six Texas cities made the top 20 list with Frisco leading the way in sixth place. Other Lone Star State cities in the top 20 are Round Rock at No. 8, McKinney at No. 11, Sugar Land in 16th, Midland in 17th, and College Station in 20th. 

Fort Myers, Florida, claimed the top spot overall in the rankings based on its leading jobs and economy ranking of No. 1 and its fifth-place showing in sociodemographics. Bend, Oregon, was second on the list, followed by third-placed Meridian in Indiana, fourth-placed Milpitas in California, and fifth-placed Enterprise in Nevada. 

In the large city category, Henderson, Nevada, recorded the highest growth, followed by Seattle in second, Atlanta in third, Miami in fourth, and Denver in fifth. 
Bryan Tony has a long history that encompasses advocacy, policy skills, and economic development. Bryan has years of experience at various levels of government and commerce.

He served the Dallas Regional Chamber as its manager of education and workforce, and he was the director of public policy at The Real Estate Council of Dallas. 

Additionally, Bryan is well connected and well versed in a wide range of issues related to education, housing, transportation, development, and land use.

He is uniquely skilled at engaging corporate stakeholders and community members, identifying key levers to meet diverse needs and promote positive change, and influencing political and policymaking processes.

Bryan’s past responsibilities entailed managing a political action committee, providing regular updates to industry leaders and strategic direction to advance specific policies and initiatives, and nurturing healthy relationships with Dallas-area elected officials, administrators, and stakeholders.

A lifelong North Texan, Bryan holds dual degrees in political science and economics from Texas Christian University and a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in urban nonprofit agency management from The University of Texas-Arlington. He resides in Old East Dallas.

Bryan’s skillset, abilities, and connections will serve Strategic Partnerships Inc. clients looking to develop their business in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Rebeca Huddle to the Texas Supreme Court on October 15. She will replace Justice Paul Green, who retired in August. 

Huddle previously served as a justice on the First Court of Appeals in Houston from 2011 to 2017, having won re-election in 2012 after her initial appointment. She has extensive experience in private practice as a litigation attorney. 
The city of Commerce named Howdy Lisenbee as its new city manager, effective November 2. He will take over for Interim City Manager Ned Muse who filled in after City Manager Darrek Ferrell vacated the position in December 2019. 

Lisenbee most recently served as assistant city manager for the town of Pecos City. Before that, he was assistant director of water utilities for the city of Abilene. 
The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) selected Desolyn Foy as vice president of audit services, effective November 2. 

Most recently, Foy was vice president of advanced analytics and continuous control monitoring for Harris Health System. Prior to transitioning to Harris Health, she served as internal audit manager for the Harris County Auditor’s Office. 
Denver City ISD trustees named Dr. Patrick Torres as the district’s lone finalist for superintendent on October 5. If approved, he will take over for Interim Superintendent Dag Azam. 

Torres has served as a teacher, coach, mentor, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent in districts that include school districts in Dallas, Wylie, Grapevine/Colleyville, Eagle Mountain Saginaw, and Red Oak. 
The East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) named Merlyn Holmes as chairwoman of its board of directors and executive committee. 

Holmes has served as a member of the ETCOG board and executive committee since October 2016. She is in her fourth term as a Kilgore councilmember.
The city of Bastrop promoted Curtis Hancock to public works director. He succeeds Trey Job who was promoted to assistant city manager. 

Hancock most recently served as assistant director of public works. Before that, he was water and wastewater superintendent. 
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Austin invites everyone to an October virtual breakfast webinar on Aging Infrastructure – Water from 8 to 9 a.m. October 28.

 Texas’ infrastructure issues require constant attention as the result of two basic issues: decay over time and inability to meet the demands of growth. Join ULI Austin as it takes a look at the current infrastructure of Austin’s water and how it affects new development, funding, and innovations.

Strategic Partnerships Inc. President and CEO Mary Scott Nabers will moderate a panel of experts that features:
  • Jarred Corbell - acquisitions and entitlements manager, Storybuilt;  
  • Mark Ellison - regional sales director, IDE Technologies and former manager of strategic water initiatives for the Office of Gov. Rick Perry; and,  
  • Richard Mendoza – director of public works, city of Austin. 

This webinar is open to everyone, members and non-members. Cost is $15 for ULI members, $30 for non-members, and free for students.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from October 9-15:

Task Force on Disaster Issues Affecting Persons who are Elderly and Persons with Disabilities 
Stephanie Duke - Houston
Barbara Kizer - Lufkin
Captain John Spann - Midlothian
Becky Ames - Beaumont
Neva Fairchild - Dallas
Chief Carlos Garcia - Brownsville (chair)
Patrick Sturdivant - San Antonio
Kristina Henning - Orange
Timothy McIntosh - Port Aransas
Marco Trevino - Edinburg

Texas Southern University
Board of Regents
Mary Evans Sias - Dallas
James Benham - College Station
Stephanie Nellons-Paige - Houston

Governor's University Research Initiative Advisory Board
Mica Espinoza Short - El Paso
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 Water Development Board – Recorder Program Specialist (Natural Resources Specialist II)

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – HOME Production Coordinator

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Performance Specialist

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – CARES Staff Accountant

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Area Engineer II – Junction

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Safety Officer I-VI – Bryan (2 positions)

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Transportation Engineer Supervisor II or III

  • Texas Water Development Board – Director of Procurement and Financial Services (Director III)

  • Texas Water Development Board – Credit Analyst (Financial Analyst I)

  • Texas Water Development Board – Financial Examiner II
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