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Volume 1, Issue 45
March 10, 2010
Information, involvement critical for contractors seeking to win winning municipal business
 
Mary Scott NabersOne has to wonder occasionally why anyone would want to be the mayor or city administrator of any large city. It must be a very stressful job in the current economy. Taxpayer expectations are high, budgets are thin and population numbers are growing.
 
Washington, D.C., has stimulus funding for cities, but the money has strings attached. Municipalities are expected to make quick decisions, provide total transparency and meet challenging reporting requirements. In spite of the requirements, however, most cities are fighting hard to obtain stimulus funding. The reason - they need the revenue, in spite of the fact that it is temporary funding relief.
 
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IN THIS ISSUE
$600 million cited for transit projects
'Race to Top' finalists named
Broadband funds distributed
Community grants go to seven states
Other news, contracting opportunities
What the states are doing
Calendar of events
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Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information.
$600 million headed nationwide for transit projects
191 projects include purchases, new construction, station improvements, more
From $83.9 million headed to California to $140,000 on its way to Arkansas, nearly 200 transit projects have been awarded a total of $600 million in recently announced Recovery Act funding grants. The 191 projects are in 42 states and Puerto Rico, bringing the total number of transit grants awarded by the Federal Transit Administration to 881, totaling $7.5 billion in funding. All of the stimulus funds for transit projects have now been obligated. Contracts can now be bid, transit-related purchases such as for buses and rail cars can be made and construction on building projects can begin.
 
The funding was awarded for a wide variety of projects. The Alabama Department of Transportation was awarded $8.1 million. The funds will be used to purchase 11 buses and four vans, to engineer and design two new facilities, for rehabilitation and renovation of a bus facility and more.
 
Some of the projects to be funded by California's $83.9 million award include: $500,000 to the Orange County Transportation Authority to purchase three alternative fuel buses for the City of Laguna Beach; $2.4 million to the City of Santa Clarita for construction of two transit parking facilities; $17 million to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit for rail car and station equipment improvements; $1.1 million to the Easter Contra Costa Transit Authority for preventive maintenance, purchase of lifts and parking lot repairs; $721, 312 to the Napa County Transportation Planning Agency for bus rehabilitation and purchase of shop equipment; and $2.7 million to the Peninsula Corridor Joint Power Board for the San Mateo bridges replacement project.
 
In Florida, $27.5 million was awarded for projects including: $4.6 million to the Sarasota County Transportation Authority to purchase two hybrid buses, ITS equipment and to fund a transfer facility; $9.3 million to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to purchase nine low-floor 40-foot buses and for transit enhancement, facility improvements and bus shelter enhancements; and $5.3 million to  the Miami-Dade Transit Agency to purchase three 30-foot shuttle buses, two 30-foot minibuses, three 30-foot minibuses for circulator bus routes and for bus shelters and operating assistance.
 
In Texas, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Austin was awarded $7.5 million to purchase seven buses and for operating assistance and pedestrian access walkways. San Antonio's VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority got $1 million for a bus and a park-and-ride lot, the City of Port Arthur was awarded $1.2 million to construct a bus support facility and the City of Tyler netted $776,031 for a bus, shelters, bus parking renovations and to improve the Tyler Transit Depot.
 
Other smaller awards included $316,820 to the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority for renovation of a Transit Maintenance and Storage Facility in Kent, Ohio, and $460,000 to the Chemung County Transit System in New York to purchase a bus and scheduling software. To view the complete list of all of the awards, click HERE and look under "Recent Reports."

For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
Finalists named for 'Race to the Top' phase one funds
Applications to be reviewed, amounts to be funded to be determined 
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia are still in the "race" - phase one of the Race to the Top competition for an additional $4.35 billion in Recovery Act funding that will be used in the nation's public schools. The grant funds will be used to extend education reforms using college and career-ready standards and assessments, build a workforce of effective educators, create data systems that support student achievement assessment and turn around low-performing schools.
 
The 15 finalists include Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee. Those states that were not among the finalists have been urged to reapply for funding during phase two of the program. There were a total of 40 entities that applied for funding in phase one. Phase two applications will be due June 1 with finalists announced in August and winners named in September.
 
The finalists will now be invited to Washington, D.C., later this month to present their proposals to a review panel and to respond to questions about their proposals. After scoring, the proposals will be presented to the Secretary of Education for final selection. The amount of the awards has not been announced, but half is expected to be awarded in phase one and half in phase two. Approximately $4 billion will go directly to states and another $350 million will go to consortia of states.
Winners of Recovery Act broadband funding announced
18 states, territories get allocations to help improve Internet services
Residents of 18 states and territories will have improved access to Internet services that will improve their local economic and educational opportunities as a result of funding of 11 rural broadband infrastructure projects. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved the Recovery Act funding of $254.6 million. It is part of the $2.5 billion set aside for broadband services to rural unserved and under-served communities. This recent announcement of funding will be matched by $13.1 million in private investment funds as well. As of today, $895.6 million has been allocated for 55 such projects.
 
Among the projects is a more than $1.9 million loan and matching amount of grant funds to Ponderosa Cablevision: Millerton Project. This project will provide Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) in a 31-square-mile area adjacent to Ponderosa's current service territory.  This will also open up the availability of telemedicine and online education applications since the closest medical and school facilities require a 45-minute drive. 
 
In Ohio, a $2.2 million loan and a $2.1 million grant will go to the Wabash Mutual Telephone Co.: Fort Recovery Area FTTH Project. This project will provide an optical fiber network that allows digital television and high-speed Internet using fiber optics deployed directly to the premises. In Indiana, Sunman Telecommunications: 700MHz WiMAX Wireless Broadband Plan Project is awarded a $5,694,611 loan and a grant of the same amount. Broadband service will be provided to houses, businesses and key community organizations currently underserved in rural communities of Indiana. (About 1 percent of this network also serves a small area in Kentucky.) For a complete list of the funding recipients and an explanation of how the funds will be used, click HERE and look under "Recent Reports."
Schools plan construction, security upgrades, improvements
Texas school district approves $13.8 million in renovations
The Longview (Texas) High School will soon undergo $13.8 million in renovations. Trustees for the district recently approved the expenditure, which will provide for reroofing the school, renovating a practice facility and installing stadium lighting.
 
Oklahoma ISD calls $7 million school bond election

Voters in Durant, Oklahoma, next month will decide the fate of the Durant ISD's $7 million school bond election. If passed, the bond would provide funding for projects such as installing roofs, replacing heating and air conditioning units and providing security upgrades.
 
Detroit Public Schools to spend $41 million on security
Detroit (Michigan) public schools will soon increase security through the spending of $41 million to ensure safety at the schools. The upgrades include $17.3 million for a high-tech alarm and surveillance camera system. That system will result in the installation of 100 digital cameras in each high school, 32 in K-8 schools and 24 in elementary schools. Another $6 million will be used to build a 20,000-square-foot public safety headquarters on a former elementary school site and $3.5 million will be used for identification badges for high school students and employees. The badges will help school officials to better track school attendance. 
 
Oklahoma school set for $30 million in improvements
Following passage of a school bond issue, schools in Cache, Oklahoma, will soon see $30 million in improvements. Much of the bond proceeds will go toward building a new fifth and sixth grade center, adding 30 classrooms and expanding the high school cafeteria. Another $1 million will be spent on purchasing new school buses.
 
Texas district calls $19.9 million bond election
The Pine Tree (Longview, Texas) ISD will hold a $19.99 million bond election in May. The biggest chunk of the proceeds would fund construction of a new athletic stadium and ancillary facilities. The remainder would go toward maintenance projects at schools throughout the district and renovations and additions to the high school. Among those projects would be construction of a new high school athletic field house, upgrades to the kitchen for the culinary arts program and completion of asbestos abatement work.
 
University of Utah plans for $75 million renovation project
The building soon to be vacated by the Utah Museum of Natural History will undergo a $75 million renovation that will eventually lead to it becoming a state-of-the-art interdisciplinary science hub for the University of Utah. The university recently received a $1 million seed gift for the project. The interior of the building will feature an open network of laboratories and classrooms. Construction is expected to begin in 2012.
 
Cafeteria, early childhood center, classrooms on tap in Vian
A $5.78 million bond issue recently approved for the Vian (Oklahoma) School District will address many of the district's growth-related problems. Among the projects to be funded from the bond proceeds are an early childhood center with six classrooms, a teacher workroom, restrooms and a commons area. A new 600-seat middle and high school cafeteria will include a stage, band and vocal rooms, a science lab and three science classrooms. 
 
Chippewa Valley approves $89 million bond issue
New science labs will soon be on the drawing boards for a middle school and high school in the Chippewa Valley (Michigan) School District following passage of an $89 million bond issue. In addition to the science labs, the funds will also be used to install security cameras at the district's elementary and middle schools, to update the district's bus fleet and for technology upgrades that will replace outdated computers district-wide.
 
New high school part of upcoming Dover bond election
A new high school will be built in the Capital School District in Dover, Delaware, if voters approve a $58.7 million bond issue on March 31. The proposed bond projects are the local share of the district's $132.1 million building proposal. In addition to the new school, $5.5 million from the bonds would pay for parking lots, athletic fields and improvements to an elementary and middle school. Another $8.4 million would provide for a professional development center and district office and approximately $3.9 million would build a maintenance garage and receiving facility.
 
Largest school bond in Oklahoma history passes
A record $354 million school bond issue passed handily in Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently and will help pay for building renovations, roof and window replacements, security upgrades, new libraries and books, technology upgrades including new computers, new textbooks, buses and music and art equipment.
 
Illinois university accepts proposals for energy savings
The "green fee" being collected at a rate of $10 per semester at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will soon be put to good use. The university is studying proposals to fund renewable and efficient energy and sustainability and research projects. The projects are being sought as a means of enhancing the sustainability of the campus while incorporating educational and research elements. Students, from whom the fees are collected, will decide how the funds are used. Projects will likely run the gamut - from installation of low-flow shower heads in dorms to a wind turbine project.
 
Schools to get technology upgrades from bond proceeds
Passage of a $5.97 million bond issue in the Kingfisher School District in Oklahoma will lead to technology upgrades at all school sites in the district. The technology upgrades will include new servers, switches, wiring and updated computers. Other projects to benefit from the bond issue will be construction of a new parking lot and covered walkway and renovation of the old middle school into a third and fourth grade center. The renovation, which is at the heart of the bond issue, is expected to carry a price tag of approximately $4.2 million.
 
Kentucky legislature considers university project funding
The Kentucky House is proposing a budget that includes approximately $500 million for higher education projects. Included would likely be money toward the $16.2 million University of Kentucky plans to renovate the building, which houses its art department and to finish a project at Western Kentucky University.
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
Loans, grants announced for rural projects in seven states
Construction, expansion, equipment upgrades planned with funding
New construction, expansion and equipment upgrades in communities in seven states will benefit from federal funds being distributed through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Each of the projects is aimed at providing community development assistance, education, training and technical support for residents of rural communities in America. The program provides interest-free loans and grants to local utilities that will then turn around and lend the money to local businesses for projects that will create and retain jobs in rural areas.
 
Eight utilities in Iowa were awarded loans, totaling more than $3 million. Among them are a $500,000 loan to the Northwest Telephone Cooperative Association to assist with expansion plans of business in West Bend, a $300,000 grant to the Citizens Mutual Telephone Cooperative to fund expansion and equipment upgrades at the Davis County Hospital, a $300,000 grant to the Southern Iowa Electric Cooperative to construct a new high school in the Davis County Community School District and a $300,000 grant to Consumers Energy to finance the construction of a daycare facility in the community of Gladbrook.
 
Tideland Electric Membership Corporation in Washington County, N.C., will receive a $740,000 loan and $300,000 grant to help construct a manufacturing facility in an industrial park.  The new business will provide medical manufacturing jobs. Wayne-White Counties Electric Cooperative in Illinois will get a $740,000 loan for financing for the Fairfield Memorial Hospital's 25,000-square-foot medical arts building and the Caddo Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Oklahoma will get a $150,000 loan to construct new office facilities for a tornado-damaged accounting firm. To view the complete list of grant and loan recipients and the projects that will benefit from the funding, click HERE and look under "Recent Reports."
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
Other national news, contracting opportunities
Electrified vehicle stalls to be built in Chicago
Construction of electrified vehicle stalls for the Chicago Transit Authority will be paid for by a $1.5 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The stalls are intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower fuel consumption. The stalls will deliver electrical power to as many as 80 vehicles and provide heating and air conditioning to vehicles that otherwise would be left idling for overnight cleaning. The use of electricity is intended to reduce diesel consumption and emissions by parked buses in Chicago and suburban areas. 
 
Low park bids means more projects to be funded
The National Park Service is beaming - and making a second list of park projects across the country that need funding. Bids for Recovery Act-funded projects came in low for the Park Service, saving $129 million. Those funds will now be applied to 30 other projects across the nation. Utah parks will get the lion's share of the extra funding for its national parks and monuments. Some $17.8 million has been dedicated to the state, with $10.98 million of that amount to demolish and replace condemned portions of the Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument. Also in Utah, Arches National Park will receive $78,000 to construct a flood diversion wall, Bryce Canyon National Park is in line for $545,000 to repair the Bristlecone Trail and replace some comfort stations and Canyonlands National Park is getting $153,000 to replace some propane tanks and to rehab a maintenance facility. Capitol Reef National Park is getting $163,000 to replace siding and windows at employee residences and to increase energy efficiency in park buildings. Cedar Breaks National Monument's $150,000 will be used to repair trails, fences and provide preventive maintenance at the North View and Chessman overlooks. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area received $4.1 million for road preservation and Golden Spike National Historic Site gets $66,000 to repair trails and replace boundary and auto tour gates. Hovenweep National Monument is allotted $55,000 for Cajon Pueblo maintenance. Natural Bridges National Monument will get $475,000 to stabilize structures at the Bare Ladder Ruin and to replace some failing solar energy equipment. Some $192,000 is going to Timpanogos Cave National Monument to construct a roof extension on the cave exit shelter and Zion National Park is getting $862,000 for trail repairs in Zion Canyon plus installation of solar energy equipment at some park buildings.
 
Indianapolis mayor proposes public-private partnerships
The mayor of Indianapolis is proposing the use of some kind of public-private partnerships to raise additional revenue for water and sewer upgrades and other city projects. He also is in favor of leasing parking meters and privatizing the oversight of sports venues and the city convention center. Other projects that might lend themselves to such partnerships include leasing the city's downtown parking system of garages and lots. Last year the city received two dozen responses when it asked for requests for expressions of interest from companies interested in improving the water and sewer systems while staving off future rate increases. 
 
Santa Fe airport gets grant for upgrades
A grant of $776,000 from the U.S. Department of Transportation will pay for upgrades at the Santa Fe, New Mexico, municipal airport. The funds will be used for reconstruction of the east apron. 
 
Port Everglades looks to $2 billion expansion
A $2 billion expansion is planned over 20 years for Port Everglades, Broward County, Florida's seaport. Among the projects planned are adding and replacing bulkheads for expanded docks, carrying a price tag of approximately $500 million and some $300 million for dredging so larger, deeper cargo ships can use the port. Planned capital projects through 2014 carry a combined price of $338 million. They include $11 million for a bridge to ease trucking within the port, $30 million for expansion of cruise terminals and $55 million to elevate a road and bring railroad tracks closer to the docks. That project should begin this summer. 
 
Broadband deadline is extended
The federal government has pushed back the deadline for applicants for broadband funding from the Recovery Act. This will be the second and final round of funding. The funding is intended to increase high-speed Internet access to unserved and under-served areas of the country and is administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The deadline for submissions to the Commerce Department has been pushed back to Friday, March 26, and the deadline for applications to the USDA is Monday, March 29. These new deadlines are for projects that seek subsidies to build networks. Proposals for public computer centers and broadband training programs are still due by the original Monday, March 15, deadline.
 
VA seeks information on purchase of 600,000 PCs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued a Request for Information for what is expected to be the purchase of up to 600,000 personal computers. The department owns approximately 240,000 PCs and expects to purchase 360,000 more to be used at new clinics and to support its mission. The ordering period on the current lease deal from the VA ends Aug. 3. The VA's 2011 budget request indicates the agency will spend $60 million on a new contract in FY 2011. The agency expects to buy 70,000 to 150,000 new PCs off the new contract in the next four years.
What the states are doing with stimulus funds
The most recent figures show that $314 billion of the $878 billion in Recovery Act funding has been paid out - slightly less than 40 percent of the entire stimulus package.
 
The Village of Warwick, New York, will use $2 million in Recovery Act funding to solve the problem of a contaminated drinking well. The funds will be used to build a micro-filtration plant.
 
Two California cities will use some of the $83.9 million allocated to California for transportation projects. Montebello gets $1.9 million and will purchase three 40-foot buses that run on compressed natural gas. Leftover funds will be used for operational expenses. La Mirada will use the $63,287 it has been allocated for bus security cameras and maintenance equipment. Other California recipients include: Southern California Regional Rail Authority, $4.7 million to fund track rehabilitation, positive train controls, storage, central maintenance facility guard and insurance; Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority,  $69,776 for the Metro Blue Line traction power substation; Santa Clarita, $2.4 million for construction of two transit parking facilities and Simi Valley, $1 million for garage modernization, Americans with Disabilities Act operations and equipment.
 
A major expansion of research at the Albany (New York) Medical Center will get under way thanks to $9.1 million from Recovery Funds through the National Institute of Health's National Center for Research Resources. Ten percent in matching funds will push the total to $10 million. Two additional floors of laboratories and research facilities will be built as part of the project. 
 
An additional $27,000 in federal stimulus money is headed to Colorado National Monument to improve trails. These funds will add to the more than $250,000 in stimulus funds already allocated to the monument. Monument Canyon Trail will be rehabilitated with this new funding.
 
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has been awarded $12.5 million in stimulus funds that it will use for station improvements at Malvern. The project will include a new pedestrian underpass and nearly 50 new parking spaces. Storm-water drainage will be improved and energy-efficient lighting and fencing will be installed.
 
The City of Stuart, Florida, will use $1.2 million in Recovery Act funding to construct a new 4,000-square-foot bus depot near downtown. The one-story building, which may initially provide office space for county employees in addition to serving as a depot and transfer location for Community Coach, is expected to be designed to look like a traditional downtown train station.
 
The National Park Service, which oversees Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, will use Recovery funds to install 1,000 solar panels on Alcatraz Island. The panels will provide 40-60 percent of the island's electricity and reduce the need for two diesel generators. The solar panels are expected to be installed in the spring.  
 
The Nacogdoches (Texas) public transit system is using stimulus funds to purchase five new buses for its riders. At a cost of $116,000 each, the buses are larger than the ones currently in use, have automated announcing programs to announce stops to riders and can be monitored through GPS.
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
Opportunity IdentificationStrategic EDGE
Calendar of events
CTOs, CIOs plan panel discussion on government technology 
A panel discussion with chief technology officers and information officers from the White House and the states of California and Massachusetts will highlight the Harvard Kennedy School forum "Digital Governance - From the State House to the White House." The forum is set for 6 p.m. today, Wednesday, at the JFK Jr. Forum on the Harvard campus. Speakers will include Aneesh Chopra - United States CTO, Ann Margulies - CIO, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Teri Takai - CIO, State of California. Panelists will help identify what's new about technology in government and what should be done about it.

 
Small business briefing conferences slated in Texas 
The last two sessions of the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services Small Business Briefing conferences have been announced for April 1, 2010, in Dallas and June 15, 2010, in Texarkana. The conference goal is to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with TxDOT. Information will be available to help them do business with the agency and the State of Texas. The sessions not only allow small businesses to be introduced to TxDOT and other state agencies, but also allows them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions. It also allows the agencies to show the myriad of opportunities available for small and minority businesses in the state. For more information, click HERE or call 1.866.480.2518, Option 2.
 
Public workshops available for those interested in broadband grants, loans
A series of public workshops will be held to review the application process and to answer questions from applicants for upcoming National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) funding through the Recovery Act. The workshops will be in Portland, Ore.; Reno, Nev.; Denver, Colo.; San Antonio, Tex.; Eureka, Mo.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Detroit, Mich.; Blacksburg, Va.;  Fayetteville, N.C.; and Atlanta, Ga. Click  HERE to register for the workshops. Applications will be accepted from Feb. 16 through March 15 and awards are expected to be announced by Sept. 30. All Interested parties can register for the workshops at www.broadbandusa.gov. The agencies will distribute $4.7 billion of their total $7.2 billion for infrastructure grants and $3.5 billion to support  grants and loans to facilitate broadband deployment in rural and remote areas.
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