Volume 2, Issue 49April 13, 2011
Format change: More selling to government tips

Mary Scott NabersWe receive input from State & Local Government Pipeline readers every week and because the communication has been so valuable, we are announcing a significant format change in this column. 

In the interest of fostering successful public-private partnerships, I will begin addressing some of the communiqués we receive each week. And, with the format change, we are formally encouraging more input from readers...from both public officials and private-sector vendors who sell to government.


Our consulting staff includes seasoned former public officials from all levels of government. We spend 50 percent of our time with government contractors and 50 percent with current government executives as we work to create effective public-private partnerships. We are known for helping link public and private entities to solve problems.



Passenger rail grants announced
Bill would mandate Yellow Pages test
Half of states seek rail funds
Ohio opens door for P3s
Upcoming education opportunities
Other upcoming contracting opportunities
Where are they now?
Opportunity of the week
Calendar of events
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information.
More than $300 million in passenger rail grants announced


U.S. Department of Transportation funds projects from coast to coast 

Ray LaHoodMore than $300 million in grant funds have been obligated to expand high-speed intercity passenger rail from California to Connecticut was recently announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The goal of the projects is to create a national transportation network. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (pictured) said the funding is in response to Americans seeking "the safest, fastest and most efficient ways to move people and goods."

The money was released this week to the following entities: 

  • California DOT - More than $22 million - $13 million to refurbish 15 locomotives and upgrade engines; $8.2 million for coach cars on the San Joaquin and Capitol Corridors; $950,000 for engineering and environmental work on the Pacific Surfliner to Ortega; $200,000 for planning of the Pacific Surfliner route from San Diego to LA and San Luis Obispo;
  • Connecticut - $40 million to upgrade the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield corridor with 10 miles of double track on the Amtrak-owned New Haven-Springfield corridor;
  • Maryland/Baltimore Tunnel - $60 million for engineering and environmental analysis to replace the 100-year-old B&P Tunnel;
  • Missouri - $3.8 million - $500,000 to develop the state rail plan; $1.4 million to improve 13 highway-rail at-grade crossings between Sedalia and Kansas City; $1.9 million for engineering and environmental analysis for a second main track from Lee's Summit to Pleasant Hill;
  • New Jersey/Portal Bridge - $38.5 million for design of a new bridge;
  • Washington - $145 million for improvements and new equipment;
  • Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority - $600,000 for a feasibility study on expanding the Downeaster line;
  • New York - $3.3 million to add track and rail capacity in Upstate New York for Amtrak's Adirondack and Ethan Allen Express near Ballston Spa; and
  • West Virginia - $1 million to create a state rail plan.

Already, some $5.7 billion has been obligated nationwide for rail projects funded by the federal stimulus bill and annual appropriations. The goal is to link 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail within the next 25 years.


May 2011 Tx Bond Election

Federal legislation would mandate 'yellow pages test'


Commercial activities by federal agencies would be open to market competition

John PalatielloPrivate sector vendors, including small businesses, could get a break in having to compete with the use of federal employees to perform certain activities for the federal government if recently introduced legislation passes in Congress.

Called the "Freedom from Government Competition Act," the bill (S. 785 and H.R. 1474) would require the federal government to use the "yellow pages test" for commercial activities that are now being performed by federal employees. The test ensures that commercial activities by government agencies are subject to market competition, allowing private sector businesses to compete for these jobs.

Officials of the Business Coalition for Fair Competition (BCFC) said if the legislation becomes law, it could save the federal government up to $27 billion per year and help create jobs in the private sector. John Palatiello (pictured), president of BCFC, explained the yellow pages test. "If an activity being performed by government is also available from private enterprise listed in the Yellow Pages, that activity should be reviewed for performance by a taxpaying, for-profit company, rather than the government entity."

This test is already being used by state and local governments. BCFC says that of the 2 million full-time executive branch employees in the federal government, more than 850,000 are in jobs that could be performed by the private sector. Palatiello called the current use of federal employees to do work that could likely be performed more efficiently and at less cost to the taxpayer an "adverse government policy" that is negatively affecting private sector job creation and increasing the size and cost of government.


Half nation's states apply for rail funds refused by Florida


90 applications received from 24 states, District of Columbia, Amtrak

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in available high-speed intercity rail funding, other state entities were waiting hungrily in the wings. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation received almost 100 applications from two dozen states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak.

With only $2.4 billion available, the applications totaled just a little less than $10 billion.

The Florida funds were allocated for a proposed high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. But Scott said no, citing his fears that revenue and ridership estimates were too high and could end up costing the state $3 billion.

The applications will now be evaluated by the Federal Railroad Administration. They will be judged on which projects can be quickly finished to deliver benefits to the public and the economy. Among the other items on which they will be judged are their ability to reduce energy consumption and their ability to improve the area's transportation network.


Ohio bills open door for public-private partnerships


$6.8 billion transportation legislation means state to seek private partners

Jerry Wray

The door was opened to public-private partnerships in Ohio, following the recent passage of a $6.8 billion transportation bill. The bill, signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, allows private entities to fund - either partially or completely - the construction costs for a public infrastructure project. The private vendors can recoup their money, with profits, through interest payments from the state, collection of tolls and other fees paid by users.


The governor has previously stated that he would like to see public-private partnerships for economic development projects. He also would like to sell five prisons to for-profit companies and lease the Ohio Turnpike.


Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray (pictured) said often the risk government entities face on projects can be deflected to the private sector, which is appealing to risk-averse government agencies. He also said no additional costs will be borne by taxpayers.


The bill allows both for the state to solicit private partners for projects, and also allows private entities  to make unsolicited proposals for projects. The next step for the state will be to see what current and proposed projects might benefit from a public-private partnership.


The bill also includes $1.6 billion for maintenance of the current road and bridge infrastructure, dependent on passage at the federal level of a transportation plan.


Federal Expert Needed

Upcoming education opportunities


Ohio State University considers privatizing parking facilities

The Ohio State University is considering privatizing its parking lots, letting someone from the private sector manage them. The university currently has some 15 parking garages that last year, along with parking lots, earned the university approximately $23.7 million in revenue. University officials are currently studying the cost savings for the university should it privatize those garages and lots.


North Dakota school approves $20 million in construction projects

The Grand Forks School Board has approved $20 million in construction projects for its Red River and Central high schools. Groundbreaking is expected to start this week. The projects will be funded with $18 million in bonds, of which the district will only have to pay back $17 million.


Massachusetts voters approve school construction, repair projects

Voters in the Douglas schools in Massachusetts recently approved repair and reconstruction projects at the intermediate school and building of a new elementary school. The town will issue $24 million in bonds, which makes up the local share of the $49.9 million project. The remainder of the funds will be reimbursed by the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Officials hope to complete the bid process by the end of the year.


LSU moving forward on building new medical center

With a $1.2 billion price tag, the Louisiana State University medical center in Mid-City has only about $900 million in the bank to get started on the project, but demolition of the University Medical Center is under way. Officials are looking to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for loan guarantees to make up the rest. If that funding does not come through, other funding must be sought. Site preparations are under way and demolition should be finished within a few weeks, with groundbreaking plans slated for April 18.


Kansas State to seek bids on re-roofing project soon

Kansas State University plans to release bid information later this month for a re-roofing project for the Hale Library. The estimated cost of the project is $380,000.


Facilities Master Plan unveiled for SUNY Brockport

A Facilities Master Plan for construction and renovation projects over the next 10-20 years at State University of New York in Brockport has been unveiled. The plans include two new academic buildings, consolidation of academic programs, a new dining hall location and extensive walkway repair and landscaping. Among the proposed projects are a new liberal arts building, another pedestrian railroad crossing and a variety of renovations.


Looking for P3 opportunities?

SPI, with 15+ years of experience in partnering public and private sector partners, has become the premier P3 partner connection in the United States. 


SPI is currently working throughout the country on P3 initiatives and is available for conversations with any public entity interested in asking questions, discussing national trends or obtaining advice about how to reach out to private sector firms.


Interested parties click here or call Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 to schedule a conversation.


Other upcoming contracting opportunities


Ohio River Bridges Project considers public-private partnership

Kerry StemlerThe bi-state authority in charge of financing the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project is considering a public-private partnership to complete the project. More than 20 states already have authorized such partnerships. Kerry Stemler (pictured), co-chair of the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority, said innovation is the key to moving the project forward. He said such partnerships and the creation of cost savings will mean being "on the leading edge of the construction hopefully be the pioneers of new ways to do things." The bridges authority plans an analysis by early fall to see what is the best way to proceed with financing and construction. The Louisville mayor and Indiana governor have both stressed the benefits of involving the private sector in such projects. Kentucky and Indiana officials have talked with more than half a dozen companies with experience in public-private partnerships. Officials are hopeful for an August 2012 construction start date.


Variety of contracting opportunities available in El Paso area

A number of contracting opportunities are available in the El Paso area. They include:

  • El Paso County Community College District is seeking proposals for district-wide water treatment services;
  • El Paso County Community College District is requesting proposals for Northwest Campus library addition;
  • The Texas Department of Transportation is requesting bids for local-let maintenance contracts, El Paso County, mowing highway right of way;
  • The Region 19 Education Service Center Purchasing Cooperative is requesting bids for refurbished or remanufactured office furniture;
  • The Region 19 Education Service Center Purchasing Cooperative is requesting proposals for custodial, cleaning and building maintenance equipment;
  • The Ysleta Independent School District is requesting proposals for emergency plumbing, electrical and HVAC services; and
  • The University of Texas at El Paso is requesting proposals for informational kiosks.

Illinois officials announce plans for road construction projects in coming year

Gary HannigIllinois transportation officials have announced that the state will spend $2.9 billion on new construction and maintenance and upgrades to existing roads and bridges in the coming year. Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig (pictured) said more than 3,200 miles of highway and some 600 bridges will undergo construction and upgrades in the next six years. Despite uncertainty about how the federal government will support transportation, Hannig said, "We're moving forward with the program full speed ahead." Officials are expecting a record-breaking construction season in 2012. Some of the projects include a $27.3 million upgrade to the Interstate 280 bridge and replacement of the U.S 52 bridge over the Mississippi River in Savanna that will cost $73.1 million over five years.


Opportunities in New Mexico area range from roofing to sewer project

A number of contracting opportunities are available in New Mexico. They include:

  • City of Alamogordo is requesting proposals to reroof Alamogordo Family Recreation Center;
  • Gadsden Independent School District is requesting proposals for the construction of Chapparal schools sewer connection project; and
  • City of Sunland Park is requesting proposals for architectural service to design a municipal complex and community center.

Nevada city planning $1.5 billion health, retail campus

Andy HafenOfficials in the city of Henderson, Nevada, have launched a plan for Union Village - a $1.5 billion hospital and retail campus. It will be privately funded and developers hope it will bring jobs to the area. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Mayor Andy Hafen (pictured). "This could be the project that gets us booming again." Union Village will be one of the country's first integrated health villages, a mixed use development anchored by a hospital and retirement community. The project has four components - the hospital complex, a development featuring 300,000 square feet of retail space and 300,000 square feet of medical office space, apartments and a hotel, senior independent and assisting living housing for 1,200 and a cultural center to house the planned $63 million Henderson Space and Science Center, a performing arts center and education research center.  


Funds being organized to replace Portal Bridge across Hackensack River

The New Jersey congressional delegation is working to put together enough funding to replace the 100-year-old Portal Bridge across the Hackensack River. An award of $38.5 million in federal stimulus funds has been allocated to New Jersey Transit for the bridge. Those funds will be used for the final design of a 50-foot-high bridge that should be completed in the next year and a half. Amtrak has indicated it will put up $570 million for the project and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has committed another $150 million. Amtrak included the bridge in its application for high-speed rail funds that Florida officials refused.


San Jose planning expansion, upgrades to is convention center

San Jose CenterThe City of San Jose City Council recently approved bond offerings to help finance an expansion and upgrade project at its convention center. The project will add 125,000 square feet to the existing 425,000-square-foot facility. A nonprofit has always operated the center but a performance audit by the city led to a leadership change at the nonprofit. The $120 million expansion (as seen in accompanying artist's rendering) is expected to help the center attract marquee events. Construction is expected to start within three months. The convention has been operating at a loss, but those losses have been covered by a local hotel tax. There is some expectation that a plan to bid a contract for operation of the convention center could come up before the city council this year.


Tulsa International Airport has $148.6 million capital improvement plan

Twelve projects have been identified for the five-year (2012-2016) capital improvement plan for the Tulsa International Airport. Among the projects for next year alone are a $31 million reconstruction of the east passenger concourse, phase one of a $5.75 million fiber optic network upgrade and a $10.6 million reconstruction in phases of the 10,000-foot main north and south runway. The concourse reconstruction will include the purchase of $6 million passenger boarding bridges, $1 million worth of new furniture and backup generators and electrical upgrades. The first phase of the main runway project is already under way and the second phase will start later this year.


Veterans Affairs seeking new out-patient mental health clinic

Robert NearyThe U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking $2.85 million for the next federal fiscal year to build a new out-patient mental health clinic in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The original plans were for a $60 million, 200,000-square-foot facility. The 2012 budget request is for $1.49 million for design and construction costs and $1.36 million for annual rent. Robert Neary (pictured), acting director of the Veterans Affairs Department's Office of Construction and Facilities Management, said it generally is better to build a new building, and that suitable rental property in the area was not available. "It's typically better to construct new in order to get the functionality and capabilities and meet energy requirements," he said. Once the project is authorized, the VA must find a site, obtain a purchase option and award a contract for development for the clinic. It would be built and then leased back to the VA over a period of two decades.


Illinois announces multi-year, $11.5 billion construction program

An $11.5 billion, multi-year construction program for the state of Illinois was announced this week. Covering 2012-2017, the program will provide maintenance and upgrades for more than 3,000 miles of roadways and replace or rehabilitate more than 600 bridges. The funding will include $7.2 billion in federal monies and $3.6 billion in state funds. Some $2 billion of the total will come from the six-year, $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! capital program approved by the General Assembly in 2009. The breakdown in spending includes $8.3 billion for state highways and $3.2 billion for the local highway system. The state money will include $3.5 billion for reconstructions, resurfacings, widenings and other safety projects, $1.9 billion for bridges, $2.1 million to help with traffic congestion problems and $774 million for new roads and increased access. To view the program document and statewide list of projects, click here.


Did you know...
Did You Know

...that SPI's procurement consulting team includes former  mayors, superintendents, vice chancellors, city managers, military brass and state officials?

Where are they now?

 Are you a government official who has moved into a new position or to a new agency? Did you recently retire? Were you recently named to an executive-level position at a state-supported college, university or community college? Have you secured a new job as superintendent of a public school? If so, we'd like to hear from you - and so would your friends and colleagues - for our "Where Are They Now" column. Just drop us a line at and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Dennis M. Walcott.


Dennis WalcottDennis M. Walcott is a graduate of New York City public schools and a lifelong resident of Southeast Queens. He earned his bachelor's (1973) and master's (1974) degrees from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and in 1980 was awarded his Master of Social Work from Fordham University. He began his career in education as a kindergarten teacher. In 1975, he founded the Frederick Douglass Brother-to-Brother program, a mentoring program for young boys. He served as president and chief executive officer of the New York Urban League, spending a dozen years expanding educational and youth service programs. He also is a former executive director of the Harlem Dowling Westside Center. In 2002, the long-time educator joined the Michael Bloomberg Administration as Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development. Walcott was recently chosen as the next New York City Schools Chancellor, replacing Cathleen P. Black.


Did you miss TGI?

Opportunity of the week...
A city in Oklahoma has approved plans for a $20 million project to build a new event center downtown and renovate its convention hall. Want to know more? Contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 or


David SteinerCathleen BlackBill EdgarDavid M. Steiner (top left), New York's State Education Commissioner for slightly less than two years, has announced he will resign his position and return to academia. Cathleen P. Black (top middle), a magazine executive with no education background who was named New York City schools chancellor last fall, has announced she is resigning and will be replaced by Deputy Mayor Dennis M. Walcott. Former Sacramento City Manager Bill Edgar (top right) has been appointed interim city manager until the city council can find a permanent replacement and will be assisted by Betty Masuoka, a former assistant city manager and consultant to the city. Vance Riley, who has served as chief of the Victoria, Texas, Fire Department for 16 years, has been named chief of the Pearland Fire Department, replacing Jack Colbath, who retired last year. Bloomfield, New Mexico, Special Projects Manager Julie Baird, who was a five-year city employee who served as interim city manager last May through August, has resigned her position. Gary Rawlings, who served as city manager in Charles Town, West Virginia, from 2008 to 2010 and has served in other managerial roles in a number of municipalities since the 1970s, has been offered the job of city manager in Coatesville, Daniel ChanChris HillmanDavid PlymanPennsylvania. Daniel C. Chan (middle right), former CIO of New York State's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance since 2007, has been selected as acting CIO and acting director of the Office for Technology for New York state, replacing Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, who resigned in March. Chris Hillman (middle center), city manager of Clearfield, Utah, was chosen from among four finalists to take over the job of city manager in Surprise, Arizona. Officials in Rochelle, Illinois, have announced the hiring of David Plyman (middle left) of Washington, Iowa, and who has 24 years or experience in city administration, as the city's city manager, effective in June. Matt Brower, who formerly was head of the West Ocala, Florida, city electric utility, has been chosen by the city council to serve as city manager, replacing Ricky Horst, who left in February. David Belcher, current provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, will serve as the next chancellor of Western Carolina University, succeeding Chancellor John Bardo, who is leaving his post. Greg Rogers, current administrative services director for the city of San Ramon, California, since 2003 and a former financial planning manager for the City of Santa Rosa and finance director for the City Lisa PlowfieldJames SunserRenee Wachterof Healdsburg, has been selected as city manager for San Ramon. Lisa Ann Plowfield (bottom left), dean and professor of the College of Nursing at Florida State University, has been named chancellor at Penn State York, replacing Joel M. Rodney, who will retire in July. James M. Sunser (bottom center), vice president for Continuing and Extended Learning at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York, has been selected as the fourth president of Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York, replacing Dr. Stuart Steiner, who is retiring from Genesee after 44 years, 36 as president. Renee Wachter (bottom right), former dean of the business school at Truman University in Kirksville, Missouri, has been named chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, replacing Julius Erlenbach, who retired in August. Medina, Minnnesota, Administrator Chad Adams has been offered the job as city manager for the city of Albert Lea, Minnesota. Todd Walker, a veteran of 24 years with the Decatur, Illinois, police force and former deputy chief in charge of investigations, has been named chief of police, replacing James A. Anderson, who retired in January. Oakland, California, City Attorney John Russo has been selected by the Alameda City Council as its choice to become Alameda's next city manager.


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Calendar of events

NASCIO planning 2011 Midyear Conference in D.C. in May

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) will hold its 2011 Midyear Conference May 3-6 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Among the topics will be the evolving role of the state CIO and IT's impact in state government transformation. The annual conference provides an opportunity for state government and corporate members to discuss issues facing the IT field in both the public and private sectors. For more information and to register, click here.


TxDOT Fort Worth Small Business Briefing conference 

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services reaches across Texas to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with state entities. The Fort Worth Small Business Briefing conference is set for April 20. Information will be available to help small business owners better understand how to 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 allow them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions. It also gives agencies a chance to show the myriad of prospects available for small and minority businesses in the state. The final conference is planned for San Antonio on July 20, 2011. For more information and to register, click here or call 1.866.480.2519, Option 2.


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