Volume 4, Issue 49April 3, 2013

Communication, trust can overcome P3 obstacles

Mary Scott Nabers

Many public officials and private sector executives believe that public-private partnerships (P3s) are critical to our nation's economic prosperity. There is no doubt that government needs private sector funding and collaboration with trusted outside experts. Yet, there are numerous obstacles slowing the progress of P3s in America.


Conversations that never happen between public officials and potential private sector P3 partners are problematic. Critical communication, which is so important in any partnership, is missing today because, in many instances, representatives from both sectors are reluctant to speak their minds. That is unfortunate - and the nation will be better served when the communication issue is resolved.




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Where are they now?
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Airport managers mount legal challenge to tower closures


Say FAA closing 149 federally funded facilities nationwide is safety issue

Towers Closing
Nearly 150 federally funded air traffic control towers are slated for closure nationwide.

Response has been quick to the recent Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) announcement that it would cut federal funding for nearly 150 air traffic control towers throughout the country. While some cities and counties whose towers were scheduled to close have stepped up and said they would pay to keep them open, others are planning to have their voices heard in court.


In Texas, some communities where the more than a dozen towers slated to close in that state were looking for - and committing - funding to keep them. In the meantime, the Texas Department of Transportation announced it would fund the 13 towers scheduled for closing in Texas.


However, another group of airport operators are mounting a legal challenge to the FAA decision. They are taking their case to federal court seeking an end to the FAA plan in the interest of safety at the nation's airports. Among those headed to court are the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Spokane Airports in Washington State and Florida airports in Naples, Ormond Beach and Punta Gorda. All of the individual suits were recently combined into a single case.


The FAA blames federal budget cutting - sequestration - for the airport tower cuts. Sequestration mandated $637 million in federal spending cuts for the balance of the fiscal year. That forced furloughs for many federal employees, including 47,000 FAA employees, which included tower controllers, and to close 149 air traffic facilities with lighter air traffic that were run by contractors. The first closures of those airports are expected to begin April 7.


Although the towers closing will not mean the airports must close, because pilots are required to learn to land at airports without towers. But airport operators, pilots and others in the industry say safety should remain a factor in making the closure decisions.


President's proposal addresses private investment in infrastructure

PortsSeeks creation of national infrastructure bank,

bond program to attract private investment


"There are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now and strengthen our economy over the long haul than rebuilding the infrastructure that powers our businesses and our economy - our roads, our bridges, our schools and our ports."


That was President Barak Obama's message on a recent trip to Florida to see the results of the three-year Port Miami tunnel project.


He pointed out the project employed more than 500 workers and more than 6,000 subcontractors and vendors. And, he pointed out, private sector firms financed the design and construction of the project, along with all levels of government. He used the port event to reiterate his "Partnership to Rebuild America," which he said does three things:

  • Sets up an independent fund to attract private investment to infrastructure projects;
  • Establishes America Fast Forward Bonds to attract private investment to public projects; and
  • Creates a $100 billion national infrastructure bank.

Read more about the "Partnership to Rebuild America."


The University of Texas at Austin

Upcoming education opportunities


Appalachian State University considering P3 for new building

Officials at Appalachian State University say a public-private partnership is not out of the running as they look for creative ways to finance a new College of Health Sciences building. The College of Health Sciences includes more than a dozen programs, but does not have a dedicated building for the departments of Nursing, Social Work, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Nutrition and Dietetics, Health Care Management and Health, Leisure and Exercise Sciences. The university is currently in the middle of its capital campaign, schedule to close Dec. 31 of next year. If the university comes up with the funding for the facility by the end of the campaign, the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has pledged to donate land for the building. Building construction in the past has relied on state budget appropriations for new academic buildings. But with states facing budget deficits, the university is looking to a possible public-private partnership to see the construction through to completion. The project, estimated at $80 million, would require an annual debt service payment of $4.5 million per year. Officials are doubtful that money will come from the state. Thus, Appalachian State officials have contacted a national contractor to see if there is interest there for a public-private partnership. Officials believe such a project might include retail, hotel conference facilities, student housing and parking.


Tarleton receives approval for $13.6 million O.A. Grant renovation

Grant BuildingRenovation and expansion of a building on the campus of Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, has been approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. That means the more than $13.6 million expansion proposal will address the 40-year-old O. A. Grant Humanities Building (as pictured in the accompanying artist's rendering) to provide modernized and expanded space for the growing liberal and fine arts program at Tarleton. The project will add two additional floors over the current one-story portion of the building to provide modernized spaces for the Public Relations and Event Management labs, the University Writing Center, media convergence studies, digital media studies and video podcast activities, student media and collaborative learning areas, the Dean of College and Liberal and Fine Arts suite and the Department of Communication Studies suite. Officials at the university note they have been studying space allocation at the university, which is reflected in the new plan. "For the students in the humanities, or for any student on the Tarleton campus for that matter, there are going to be spaces in that building unlike anything we have on campus today that are going to become the spaces that students are going to want to use in the future because teaching is changing, how students learn is changing, and what these spaces will do is provide you with the latest, the best, and I think some of the most interesting kinds of equipment and spaces that you could possibly want at a university," said Tarleton president Dominic Dottavio said.


New Jersey school district plans construction, new technology

Technology upgrades and new construction are part of the proposed 2013-14 budget for the East Brunswick, New Jersey, township school district. The budget includes a total of $134 million. Among the construction projects planned are new bleachers at the high school gym, a new roof on Robert Frost Elementary School and a parking lot at Irwin Elementary. 


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Other upcoming contracting opportunities


Government entities work together for safety on Missouri roadway

Construction and safety improvements are upcoming in 2016, thanks for a partnership between a Missouri city, county and the Missouri Department of Transportation. The project, which will address roadway from I-70 to the St. Charles County border, will cost $14 million. The safety improvements were spurred by an increasing number of accidents in recent years. The funding partnership among the three entities includes $8 million in funding from MoDOT, $3.5 million from St. Charles County and $2.5 million from the city of Wentzville. Part of the St. Charles County funds were from the renewed one-half cent transportation sales tax approved by voters in 2012. Adding to safety improvements will be a grade-separated interchange at Missouri Route P and Peine Road, along with construction of improvements at intersections along the corridor.


eFiling, court management system could be headed to Kentucky

John Minton Jr.
John Minton Jr.

Legislation recently signed in Kentucky will lead to development of a court management system, while bringing eFiling to the state as well. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear on March 22. The reason for the new system is that the current system is running on 25-year-old technology and 10-year-old programming. It's a case for disaster, some say. Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr. said the new case management system will be transformational. "With our courtrooms handling nearly 1 million cases each year, almost every citizen is affected by the work of the Judicial Branch. I can't think of any other capital technology project that will have such a positive impact on so many people statewide," he said. He called the current system "functionally and technically obsolete." Because technical support for the old system is not available, the entire state court database is at risk. And the current system does not support electronic filing and electronic records. Not only will the new system consolidate databases, but it will also allow them to interact with each other. The Judicial Branch will use $3.23 million annually in agency funds to pay the 10-year debt service on the new case management system. This method of finance will have the least impact on the state budget.


Bill signed in Michigan that will lead to dredging of state's harbors

Legislation has been signed in Michigan that will provide $21 million in funding for the dredging of Michigan harbors. Some of the harbors are in danger of becoming impassable for boats because of low water levels in the Great Lakes. Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation that appropriates enough funds for nearly 50 harbor projects. Approximately half of the funds will come from state waterway monies, which are used for marine infrastructure improvements. The remainder will be paid by the state general fund. The governor is also expected to sign legislation that would also reduce dredging fees required by environmental protection laws.


Wisconsin city officials to issue bids for joint police station, city hall

Jerry Schuetz
Jerry Schuetz
Officials in Milton, Wisconsin, have given the go-ahead to an architectural firm to take current conceptual plans for the city's joint police department and city hall building and transform them into mechanical drawings that will be used as part of bid documents for the project. The city will pay $156,040 for the architectural drawings and $173,645 for the mechanical drawings for the $2.5 million project. To facilitate the project, the police department, municipal court and city hall will be moved into a former medical building following extensive renovations and additions to the structure. The project will also mean the city's public library will be able to expand within the current municipal building. According to City Administrator Jerry Schuetz, the city will raze the current police department building and once the city hall moves out of the second floor of the municipal building, that area will be turned over to the library. The mechanical drawings are expected to take four to six weeks and then the bidding process can begin. The bid process will likely take three weeks, which means the work on the project could be awarded in May and construction could likely begin in July.


Funding approved to replace water mains in Kansas
Officials in Topeka, Kansas, recently approved authorizing $2.5 million that will be used to replace 17 defective water mains. The water mains are all at different locations.
RFP process for North Metro Rail in Colorado accelerated
A confidential, unsolicited proposal for the North Metro Rail project in Colorado has led the Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver to move up the RFP process for the project. The unsolicited proposal was submitted in February and has been evaluated for the last month. The proposal was in response to the RTD saying in January that it would release the RFP in October, seeking a contractor to build North Metro up the 72nd Avenue by refinancing some of the RTD's old debt, issuing new sales tax bonds and using available local funds.  But because the unsolicited proposal bore merit, the RFP process will be moved up to this summer. The North Metro project includes constructing an 18.5-mile electrified commuter-rail line to connect Denver and Adams County, and serve Commerce City, Northglenn and Thornton. 
May 2013 Texas Bond Results

Who's winning government contracts?


Check out these recent awards: 

  • Booz Allen Hamilton has won a $315 million single-award contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to provide technical research and development subject matter expertise.
  • Terry Black Construction has been awarded a $205,327 contract by the City of Zavalla, Texas, to move the city's sewer pumping station on U.S. Highway 69 south as required by the state in preparation for a future highway expansion project.
  • Mick Rich Construction won a $1.4 million award from the Farmington, New Mexico, schools to begin remodeling part of the Career and Technology Education Center, which houses the automotive and culinary arts programs and the school's technology department.
  • 3 Phoenix won a contract worth up to $6.9 million from the Navy for additional engineering and system integration.
  • Adventure Tours By Dawn won a contract worth up to $6.9 million from the Navy for transportation, travel and relocation services.
  • Austin Filter Systems won a contract for $4.62 million contract from the city of New Braunfels, Texas, to make upgrades at Landa Park, including repairing a bridge, a dam and 4,400 feet of riverfront retaining walls.
  • Attain won a contract worth up to $129 million from the Army for enterprise infrastructure services.
  • Biscayne Contractors won a contract worth up to $1.3 million from the General Services Administration for maintenance, repair and alteration of real property.
  • HDR Engineering was awarded an $80,000 contract by the city of Corpus Christi to help establish a water rate model to determine how much the city could charge to lease water rights and guarantee water as the city moves forward to building a new pipeline to tap into 35,000 acre-feet of water. The company will also be charged with determining whether funds from a lease agreement could offset the $153 million in debt ratepayers are expected to incur for the cost of building Mary Rhodes Pipeline Phase II.
  • Timberlake Construction has won a $14.6 million contract with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to demolish, renovate and rebuild parts of the Vinita Service Plaza on the Will Rogers Turnpike.
  • Colonial Energy won a contract worth up to $15.8 million from the Defense Logistics Agency for direct supply pipeline quality natural gas.


Collaboration Nation

News about public-private partnerships (P3)


Public-private partnerships key to rebounding city of Grand Rapids

Kara Wood
Kara Wood

"It's our public-private partnerships. We don't do anything without a partnership."


That's how Grand Rapids Economic Development Director Kara Wood describes the resurgence of her city.


Key to many of the city's successes in a nonprofit that includes both public and private sector leaders who seek worthy downtown projects for revitalization that can ultimately help the city's development. One of its many successes is the state-of-the-art Downtown Market. The center features culinary arts and fresh local foods in a multi-million-dollar facility that officials expect will draw half a million visitors each year.


Officials in the city have also created what they are calling the "Medical Mile," a downtown district that is growing into a center for medical research, education and services.


The leaders involved in these partnerships represent public officials, philanthropists, university economic development and urban planning officials and other industry leaders. Their successes have led to increased residential development in the downtown area as part of the revitalization.


With a regional agenda and P3s, the city is growing - physically and economically. Coalitions and consensus building seem to be a part of the successful equation.


And when problems do arise, such as a predominantly manufacturing skills-based workforce, the organization addresses that as well. The partnerships and coalitions are serving the city well. 


Illinois politicians file P3 bill addressing water infrastructure

With the Army Corps of Engineers estimating a backlog of $60 billion in outstanding projects that will take decades to complete without outside investment, legislation was recently filed in Congress that will use public-private partnerships (P3s) to improve the country's water infrastructure. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and congressmen from Illinois are seeking to ensure those projects come to fruition by filing legislation that promotes public-private partnerships.


Called the Water Infrastructure Now Public-Private Partnerships Act, the legislation would not only accelerate timelines for P3 projects, but save money for taxpayers as well. Among the projects are locks and dams along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The bill seeks a pilot program that would study agreements with the Corps of Engineers and private sector firms. The program would identify as many as 15 previously authorized projects for participation.


To ensure accountability and transparency, private entities would have to submit to an audit of activities. No federal asset would be eligible for privatization.


Headlines from around the nation


Massachusetts Public-Private Partnerships: Time to Prime the Pump


North Carolina state job recruiting could shift to private sector


(To view these stories, click here and look under "Around the Nation.")
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 Louis Carr.
Louis CarrLouis Carr earned his bachelor's degree in electrical and electronics engineering from Stanford University and an MBA in IT management from Western Governors University. He began his public service career in 1980 as deputy chief information officer for the city of Las Vegas, serving in that capacity until 2007. In 2007, Carr left Las Vegas to become the chief information officer for the city of Arlington, Texas, serving until April 2011, when he moved to Austin to begin serving that city as chief information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation, where he served a little over two years. Carr was recently hired as chief information officer for Clark County, Nevada, replacing Laura Fuccio, who left to become CIO of Henderson, Nevada, last November. Carr brings to his new position 15 years management experience, 17 years project management experience, 19 years GIS programming experience, 19 years network management experience, 20 years system admin management experience and 23 years general computer programming experience. Carr's goals in Nevada include a social services case management project that will include a new system scheduled for completion in 2014, a public safety system upgrade that will help the county complete tasks such as running criminal background checks and more focus going forward on IT security, mobility and compliance.  
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Did you miss TGI?



Sarah MartinBruce GreensteinTony RobinsonSarah Martin (top left), executive director of the Delray Beach (Florida) Marketing Cooperative - a multi-agency partnership that promotes Delray as a hot spot - is resigning effective April 7 to take an executive position at Elev8 Sports Institute, a Delray Beach-based multi-sport training and instructional company. Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Bruce Greenstein (top center) has resigned Friday amid state and federal investigations into the awarding of a Medicaid administration contract to a company that he used to work for before his appointment by Gov. Bobby Jindal as a cabinet secretary. Tony Robinson (top right) is the new administrator of Region 6 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which includes Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Dr. Frances Wood, superintendent of the Highland Park (New Jersey) School District, will be the new superintendent of the Somerset Hills School District, replacing Peter Miller, who is retiring. Layne P. Long, who most recently worked as city manager in Draper, Utah, for five years and in city government in Springville, Utah, and Los Altos, has been hired as the new city manager in Marina, California. Richard "Biff" Williams, dean of the College of Nursing and Health and Human Services at Indiana Daria Wasserbach Keith Riesberg Philip Banks III State University, will be replacing C. Jack Maynard as the university's provost and vice president of academic affairs on July 1. Delaware Valley (New Jersey) Business Administrator Daria Wasserbach (middle right), who began her career with the school district in 1966, has been chosen as the district's new superintendent. Keith J. Riesberg (middle center), of O'Fallon, Missouri, has been appointed as the new city manager for Rio Rancho, New Mexico, replacing interim City Manager and City Attorney James Babin. Philip Banks III (middle left) the New York City Police Department's chief of community affairs who joined the department in 1986, has been named chief of the department, the agency's top-ranking uniformed position. Jim Guthrie, who has served as Nevada superintendent overseeing the state's 17 school districts, has announced his resignation, with no explanation as to why. Leon Towarnicki, a former assistant city manager for Martinsville who was asked to serve as interim city manager in January of last year, has been named to the position of city manager on a permanent basis. Captain Max Anthouarad, who was serving as the interim chief of the Ypsilanti, Michigan, Fire Department, has been named chief of the department, replacing Jon Ichesco, who Adenuga Atewologun Edythe Abdullah Andrae Bailey retired after 28 years of service within the department. Adenuga Atewologun (bottom right), vice president, academic affairs and dean of faculty at Prairie State Collegein Chicago Heights, Illinois, has been named president of Riverland Community College in Minnesota. Essex County (New Jersey) College President Edythe Abdullah (bottom center) has announced that she will step down, ending a three-year tenure at the college, to pursue a new professional opportunity. Andrae Bailey (bottom left), executive director of the charitable Community Food & Outreach Center, has been hired as CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, effective May 1. Susan Bakewell-Sachs has announced she will step down in June from her roles as director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative and interim provost of The College of New Jersey to become dean of nursing at the Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland. Glendale, Arizona, Chief Deputy City Attorney Nicholas C. DiPiazza has been chosen by city officials as Acting City Attorney and former Scottsdale City Manager Dick Bowers has been named interim city manager. Shenandoah (Pennsylvania) Borough has hired Capt. George Carado, who has been serving as "officer in charge" since July after the resignation of Chief Joseph Hall, has been named police chief.


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NASCIO plans midyear conference in D.C. April 28-May 1

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) will host its 2013 Midyear Conference "Mission Possible: Connect, Collaborate, Innovate" April 28-May 1 in Washington, D. C. NASCIO represents state chief information officers and information technology executives and managers from state governments across the United States. The group will also host Powerwalk on April 30 to benefit Byte Back - an organization that provides technology training to the underserved in D.C. NASCIO's midyear conferences provide an opportunity for state government and corporate members to discuss the issues facing the information technology field in the public and private sectors. These events offer members a break from the many conferences that promote the marketing and sale of products or services through trade shows and exhibitions. Instead, corporate participants are invited to interact with state attendees to discuss trends and build relationships. NASCIO educational programs are centered on policy issues, trends, best practices and information technology issues that affect the public and private sectors. By bringing together all interested parties, NASCIO members can map strategies, develop positions and act responsibly for the benefit of all involved. Registration is now open and the agenda is available.


National Public Employer Labor Relations conference set

The National Public Employer Labor Relations Association's 42nd Annual Training Conference has been set for April 7-11 at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio. The event will feature daily networking opportunities as well as exhibits. There will also be a variety of concurrent sessions. A pre-conference workshop will address "Managing the Marginal Employee Western Ways in Changing Behavior & Improving Performance" and the post-conference workshop will address "Preventing Workplace Harassment, Discrimination & Retaliation." Information on the agenda and registration are now available. 


TxDOT to host 2013 Small Business Briefings across Texas

The Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Office of Civil Rights-Supportive Services Section will conduct briefing conferences around the state for small, minority- and women-owned businesses providing contract opportunities and information on how to do business with TxDOT and the state. Lubbock is the location of the third of four briefings events being offered in fiscal year 2013. The day-long briefings include general industry sessions and specific information on how to do business in the construction, goods and services, information technology and professional engineering service industries. Breakout sessions will cover small and minority-owned business certifications, resources for business development, marketing for state contracts and information on TxDOT toll projects. Each briefing also includes a contracting opportunity fair, industry sessions and a multitude of networking opportunities. Please join us! The Lubbock event will be on Tuesday, April 23, at the Overton Hotel & Conference Center, 2322 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock, TX 79401. Although pre-registration is closed, we are welcoming walk-ins. More information is available here, or call 1-866-480-2518, Option 1. For questions regarding the Office of Civil Rights-DBE/HUB/SBE and Supportive Services programs click here or call 512-486-5510. A Tyler event will be on Tuesday, June 11.


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