|Volume 6, Issue 7||May 21, 2014|
Government moving too slowly for most citizens!
Government has been slow to adopt leading-edge technology, and many citizens are complaining loudly. As taxpayers, they don't understand why public officials can't manage like private-sector firms. Americans are accustomed to quick and convenient information and interaction from businesses and they want and expect the same from government. When they don't get it, frustration is rampant.
But, there are some understandable reasons why government is "behind the curve." Perhaps the #1 reason is the size of government. Projects are large and very costly. And, transparency is deadly if a project fails or gets behind schedule or goes over budget. Public officials are naturally risk-averse and a failed technology project could easily costs taxpayers millions of dollars - and that sin carries extremely high consequences.
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|Federal compromise water bill passes in House|
Senate vote on billions of dollars for water projects expected later this week
It's not a "done deal" yet, but House passage Tuesday of a U.S. House and Senate conference committee's major water bill could mean there is hope for passage of the Water Resource Reform Development Act, or HR 3080. The legislation is now headed to a vote in the Senate possibly later this week.
If passed, the bill would authorize nearly three-dozen water-related projects in virtually every area of the country. "This legislation is about jobs and our country's economic prosperity," said Rep. Bill Shuster (pictured), author of the bill and chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The bill provides for projects such as flood protection for dredging of ports.
California would benefit from $760 million for flood management and up to $800 million for a flood diversion project in a heavily flood-prone area of the state. Another $748 million would go toward dredging and widening of the Sabine-Neches Waterway that serves oil and natural gas refineries in Texas and Louisiana and $492 million would be earmarked for dredging the Port of Savannah.
The bill represents a compromise between the Senate's proposed $12.5 billion spending over the next 10 years and the House's $8.2 billion spending plan.
The nation's water infrastructure is aging and in need of upgrades and even replacement and new infrastructure needs to be brought online to meet the needs of a growing population. Backers of the bill not only see it as a way to shore up infrastructure, but also as a jobs generator. The compromise bill also eliminates close to $18 billion in old projects that were authorized prior to 2007, so there is no concern the bill is loaded with "earmark" projects for lawmakers' own districts and states.
|TIGER grant requests testament to infrastructure needs|
Nearly 800 eligible applications received requesting $9.5 billion in funding
Just how big are transportation needs in the United States? If the applications for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants are any indication, the situation looks dire. TIGER grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, are used to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects nationwide.
The competition for the grant funds - $600 million for the current round of allocations - is keen. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (pictured) said applications for funding were 15 times more than the $600 million set aside for the program. "America is hungry for infrastructure investment," said Foxx. He said the continued overwhelming demand for these grants demonstrates that communities want long-term funding to build transportation projects across the country.
There were 797 eligible applications received from 49 states, United States territories and the District of Columbia. The applications totaled $9.5 billion. In 2013, there were only 585 eligible applications received.
The grants are geared toward projects that will achieve critical national objectives. More than $4.1 billion for six rounds of funding has been appropriated by Congress for TIGER grants since 2009. All are having what USDOT officials call a "significant impact" on the country, a region or a metropolitan area. Those entities that apply for TIGER funding must show how their project will deliver for five long-term outcomes: safety, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, livability and environmental sustainability.
|Upcoming education opportunities|
Mississippi State considering two new student residence halls
Two new student resident halls valued at $60.5 million are under consideration for Mississippi State University. A design company has been hired to design the two 356-bed dorm and a 10,000-square-foot facility for the Sonny Montgomery Center for America's Veterans. The four-story, 220-bed Evans Hall will be replaced by one of the new dorms. With the two structures being designed at the same time, MSU is likely to save some money as a result, according to MSU President Mark Keenum (pictured). The dorms would be built in phases. Keenum said the university could end up building only one, which would replace Evans. Construction is estimated to cost nearly $52 million, with architectural and engineering fees adding another $2.8 million. The rest would be dedicated to ancillary costs. While the university currently has 4,700 beds on campus, several of the older dorms on campus will need renovation or replacement within the next 10 years.
Idaho school district seeking to drum up support for $4.4 million bond vote
Officials in the Notus (Idaho) School District are seeking to ramp up support for a proposed $4.4 million bond election in August that would build a new elementary school to replace an 88-year-old facility. The aging building was built in 1926 and expanded in 1941. Still, the Statewide School Facilities Needs Assessment rated the school's interior and functionality "poor" as far back as 1999. An energy survey also revealed that the energy usage was higher than in other schools in the district. While current elementary school rooms are a little over 600 square feet, most others are closer to 900 square feet. The proposed new building would be 46,000 square feet, meaning more room for classrooms. The school board will decide in June if they plan to call for a bond vote.
Cincinnati school to continue with planned capital construction projects
A multi-million-dollar project that is part of the Beechwood Independent School District (Cincinnati) capital construction project will be under way soon. Board members recently approved the building of a second gymnasium and renovation of the district's kitchen facilities. The second gym will be used by elementary students, according to Superintendent Steve Hutton (pictured). Hutton said actual figures for the project should be available during the board's June meeting. The district currently operates with only one gym that is used by all students from pre-K through 12th grade. Regarding the upgrades to kitchen equipment, officials say that equipment has not been updated in 50 years. The school is looking forward to the possibility of the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment that will allow the school to enhance its food and nutrition programs. This latest round of spending is part of the capital construction program instituted in 2009 that has already resulted in a new elementary building and athletic field house and upgrades to the baseball and soccer playing fields.
Additional school construction funding to benefit Maryland schools
The total funding for school construction in Maryland got a $131 million boost recently when the Maryland Board of Public Works approved the additional funding. That additional money means a total of $325.3 million will be available for school construction in the state for the next fiscal year. One of the major awards from the funding will be $8.1 million to the Severna Park High School in Anne Arundel County, to replace the school. Additional outlays will include $8.2 million to the St. Charles High School in Charles County and $8.1 million to Glenarden Woods Elementary in Prince George County.
|Other upcoming contracting opportunities|
Palo Alto seeking to narrow down list of projects for funding
In advance of what they hope will be a successful vote in November to assess a hotel tax increase in the city of Palo Alto, city officials are already trying to establish a priority list of what projects will be funded by the tax revenues. The city expects to make about $30.8 million in revenue if a 2 percent increase in the hotel tax is authorized. Those funds would be used with an additional $12 million from budget surpluses, $8 million from the city's Infrastructure Reserve and more than $30 million from a development agreement with Stanford University Medical Center. That arrangement includes funding for both infrastructure and sustainability. One of the major projects under consideration is a new $57 million public safety building that would replace the old police headquarters at City Hall. Its construction would take half of the city's infrastructure budget. Also under consideration is rehabilitation of a fire station and construction of a proposed $13 million downtown garage. City Manager James Keene (pictured) has recommended reducing funding for some park improvements and bike projects. One proposed fire station modernization could also be put on the back burner. Keene also has recommended another $4.6 million in cuts for parks rehabilitation and upgrades. Recommended by Keene for preservation on the list of possible projects is funding for a new bike bridge, some road improvements and a new garage around California Avenue.
City in Oklahoma will get new terminal building for its airport
A grant of $500,000 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission means the Grove Municipal Airport will be getting a new terminal building. The city will provide a 50 percent match for the $1 million project. The new terminal will be 4,400 square feet and will have a manager's office, a large waiting room, a pilot's lounge and two exterior decks. A conference room that will be part of the terminal will also be available for local groups or for businesses flying into the airport.
Millions awarded by Red Cross for storm shelters in areas of Oklahoma
Storm shelters will soon be going up in cities and counties after the American Red Cross awarded $6.5 million to purchase and install individual shelters. This money is in addition to $10.3 million already awarded to cities, counties and tribes in the state for shelters. The funds should help build 4,000 shelters in areas that were in the line of deadly storms last year. Named to receive the grants are the cities of Newcastle, Midwest City and Norman. Counties that will receive funds are Pottawatomie, Cleveland and Canadian counties. The Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation also received grants.
Funding of $310 million allocated for dredging project at Boston Harbor
Legislation authorizing water projects nationwide - the Water Resources Reform and Development Act - has included a $310 million allocation for the dredging of Boston Harbor. The legislation is still making its way through Congress. The funding would be used to deepen the main navigation channels so the port can handle bigger ships. That would mean twice as many containers coming through the port. Boston Harbor is among a number of ports seeking to be able to handle what is expected to be an increase in larger ships as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal. That expansion is expected to double the number of ships transporting goods into and out of the United States. "This is a big step in keeping us competitive with other ports on the East Coast and maintaining what people in Boston treasure, which is the fact that we have a working port," said Thomas Glynn (pictured), chief executive of the Massachusetts Port Authority. The Authority estimates the project would take about five years to complete. The legislation calls for the federal government to fund about two-thirds of the $310 million cost and for Massport to pay the remainder.
Detroit airport nabs funding to assist with runway improvements
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded grant funds of $14.8 million to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The money will be used for runway improvements at the airport. The improvements at the airport in Romulus will help boost business activity and tourism, said two members of Congress who announced the grant funding.
|Who's winning government contracts?|
Check out these recent awards:
- Henry Schein won a $348 million contract with the Department of Defense to supply the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies a wide range of general dental supplies. This contract will run over the course of an initial 15-month base period, to be potentially followed by up to three one-year options and one eight-month option subsequently.
- The Construction Management Company was awarded a $535,000 contract by the city of Tyler, Texas, for renovations at the Tyler Public Library.
- Yarussi Construction Inc. won a $5.8 million contract from the state of New York for site improvements to Niagara Falls State Park.
- Chenega Total Asset Protection, LLC was awarded a $13.8 million contract from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for armed guard services at Glen Canyon Dam to provide integrated security, safety and law enforcement modifications based on recommendations identified in several security studies and reviews conducted over the past several years according to Reclamation policy and guidelines.
- Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company won a $17.7 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the first phase of the Port Monmouth Coastal Storm Risk Management Project that will reduce the risks that coastal storms pose to residents and businesses in the Port Monmouth area.
- G4S Technology LLC was awarded a $1.8 million contract from the city of Killeen, Texas, for a security upgrade at the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport, which is getting a $1.8 million security upgrade - an integrated access control and video management system - that includes a five-year maintenance and warranty on the system, spare parts and backup servers.
- Rockwell Collins was awarded a $20 million contract modification from the U.S. Department of Defense to perform software coding and security work on the military Global Positioning System for the U.S. Space and Missile Systems Center through Aug. 31, 2015.
- PAE Applied Technologies LLC was awarded a $20,712,232 modification by the U.S. Navy to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee level of effort contract to exercise an option for range engineering and operations and maintenance services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Divisions' Atlantic Test Range and Atlantic Targets and Marine Operations Division.
- Rifenburg Construction won an $11.2 million contract from the state of New York Department of Transportation to rehabilitate and reconstruct Whiteface Mountain Veteran's Memorial Highway.
- American Pest Management of Fulton won a contract worth up to $1.3 million from the U.S. State Department for natural resources and conservation services.
|News about public-private partnerships (P3)|
New hospital for El Paso being realized through public-private partnership
A public-private partnership will result in construction of a new $120-million, 108-bed, full-service hospital in El Paso that will also be a teaching hospital for medical and nursing students as well as resident physicians and faculty from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso's Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. Ground will be broken soon for the project after the El Paso City Council awarded Tenet Hospitals Limited $14.2 million in incentives. Tenet will run the hospital and invest at least $120 million in construction of the facility. Some $15 million of that amount will be used for a medical office building to accompany the $105 million hospital. Part of the agreement with the city is that the hospital must create and maintain at least 300 full-time jobs that pay an average of $45,000 annually through the end of the 15-year agreement. All of the nearly 3,000 existing full-time positions at the chain's three other hospitals must be retained. The city will award as much as $14.2 million in tax breaks, grants and other incentives. Mayor Oscar Leeser (pictured) said without the incentives, the hospital probably would not have been built. "With the opportunity we had to provide services to a growing region and establish it as a teaching hospital for Texas Tech, we had to come to the city and do this as a public-private partnership," said Eric Evans, CEO of the Sierra Providence Health Network's hospitals in El Paso.
VDOT seeks private-sector partner for new campus for variety of departments
The Virginia Department of Transportation is looking for a private-sector partner to help secure a new 25-acre campus where the 500 employees of the department in administration, operations and maintenance will be housed. The department is seeking new facilities with state-of-the art technology. The department has issued a request for information (RFI) for the project and more than two-dozen parties responded to an information day event earlier this month. Private developers are interested in some 80 acres of waterfront property that is part of the current district headquarters property. There is interest in that land being developed possibly for a residential development near the river, with commercial and retail development closer to North Main Street. The consolidation of the three departments has been under consideration for some time and was supported by a resolution in in the General Assembly that directed VDOT to explore the possibility of a public-private partnership for the project. The city of Suffolk is also supporting the RFI. The employees of the three departments are currently spread over three locations. VDOT is interested in a location that is centrally located and will not cost the state anything.
Palm Beach considering partnership for constructing new baseball stadium
If partnerships can be formed and a financing plan solidified, Palm Beach County could be home to a new Major League Baseball spring training stadium in West Palm Beach. Officials are looking to possibly partner with the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals on a deal that would include a new $100 million stadium and training facility. Recently, representatives of the two teams and county and city officials met to discuss a possible location and financing. County officials expect a deal in which the two teams pay 5-10 percent of the stadium construction costs and the state will pay up to $50 million. The county's share would come from the hotel tax. While early discussions have involved using the tourism tax dollars, County Commissioner Hal Valeche (pictured) said the county shouldn't use property tax revenue to pay for a new stadium. "My concern has always been how we get the thing financed," Valeche said. "We have limited resources and these stadiums are expensive." The question remains as to whether the amount the teams would fund would bridge the gap between the costs and the amount the state and county plan to invest in the project.
|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 email@example.com and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Sen. Robert Duncan.
Texas State Sen. Robert Duncan, (pictured), a former student body president who earned his bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law, has been named the sole finalist for the position of chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. The Texas Tech System includes Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Angelo State University and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso. After a state-mandated 21-day waiting period before a contract can be signed, Duncan is expected to take over his new post on July 1. Duncan was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1992 and in 1996, was elected to the Texas Senate in a special election. He has served more than two decades in the Texas Legislature. The soon-to-be Tech System chancellor has served on the powerful Senate Finance Committee every legislative session since 1999. He has served as chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee since 2004 and was elected president pro tempore of the Senate during the 81st Texas Legislature. He has, during his career in the Senate, also served as a member of the Natural Resources, Higher Education and Education committees. Duncan will replace Kent R. Hance, who has served as chancellor since 2006 and will continue to serve the System as chancellor emeritus.
|Opportunity of the week...|
A state Department of Natural Resources has announced capital improvements at the state's largest state park. The project includes renovations at a marina and upgrades to park campsites. Want to know more? Contact our Sales Team at 512-531-3900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acting police chief Sean Whent (top left), who has spent his entire 18-year law enforcement career in Oakland, has had his title changed from interim to permanent leader of the Oakland Police Department that is still seeking an end to 11 years of federal oversight. David Cooke (top center), retired county manager of Wake County, North Carolina, who currently is a director for an engineering and consulting firm, Mulkey Engineers and Consultants in Raleigh, is the lone finalist for the Fort Worth city manager position. The New Mexico Game Commission has selected 20-year-veteran of the state Game and Fish Department, Alexandra Sandoval (top right), the agency's current chief financial officer and head of its administrative services division, to serve as the agency's new top administrator. Southern Oregon University President Mary Cullinan, Columbus State University President Tim Mescon and Eastern Washington (EWU) University Provost Rex Fuller are the three finalists to become the next president of EWU. The York County, Virginia, School Board has picked Carl James, the York County School Division's chief operations officer, as the division's interim superintendent, taking over for Eric Williams, who is leaving to become superintendent for Loudoun County Public Schools. Stephen A. Bucar, an FBI agent who works in Washington, D.C., and is a former Pennsylvania state trooper and police officer, has been chosen by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto as the state's next public safety director. The Canton, Mississippi, Public School District has chosen Jefferson Davis County School District Superintendent Ike Haynes (bottom right) as its new superintendent, replacing Dwight Luckett, who is retiring in June after eight years in that post. The Mt. Pleasant (Tennessee) Police Department has chosen Assistant Chief Michael Hay (bottom center) to serve as the town's acting police chief, replacing Chief Tommy Goetz, who is resigning for health reasons after nearly 28 years with the department. Elizabeth Concordia (bottom left), president of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Hospital and Community Services Division, has been named president and CEO of University of Colorado Health, the parent organization of Poudre Valley Health System. Victoria "Vicki" Schumacher, who has been employed by the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District since 2010, where she currently is the assistant superintendent of educational services, will be the new superintendent of the Coast Unified School District in California, starting July 1. Robert C. Dube, who has previously served as fire chief and then county administrator for Louisa County in Virginia, has been named fire chief for the city of Alexandria, Virginia. Scott Berry, owner and general manager of KS Engineering in Raton, New Mexico, and who is also a former interim Raton city manager, has been named city manager, replacing current City Manager Butch McGowen.
|Let us help advertise your event on our calendar|
Does your organization or agency have an upcoming event that would be of interest to either vendors who do business with government or officials and workers in state and local government, higher education, public education or health care? Are you planning a webinar? A conference or seminar? The Government Contracting Pipeline invites government and nonprofits to send information regarding your events for consideration to be included in our FREE Calendar of Events section below. In addition to providing contact information, the day, date, time and a synopsis of the event, you may also include a link to additional information on your Web page and/or a link to online registration that we'll include. Please submit your event information to email@example.com.
|Calendar of events|
AGC Federal Contractors Conference set in June in Washington, D.C.
The Associated General Contractors of America Federal Contractors Conference is planned for June 10-12 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The event is billed as the only national event where AGC contractors and federal agency personnel can meet in a collaborate forum to review federal construction contracting issues from around the United States. Top decision-makers from federal agencies with large construction programs will be in attendance. The event is designed for anyone engaged in any aspect of constructing, designing or planning a federal project and who is a general contractor, specialty contractor, service/supplier, attorney or any other stakeholder already engaged in the federal market. The conference will serve as a venue for discussion of federal agency construction budgets, public-private partnerships, source selection, safety, BIM, and sustainable building trends. Registration is now open.
APTA announces 2014 Rail Conference in Canada on June 15-18
The American Public Transportation Association will host its 2014 Rail Conference June 15-18 at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth and Palais des congres de Montreal in Montreal in Quebec, Canada. Workshops and technical sessions during the conference cover issues in operations, technology, safety, security, planning, finance, capital projects and the technical aspects of providing all modes of rail service: urban, commuter, high-speed and intercity. Many of the industry's premier products and services will be featured so that attendees can learn more about advances in railroad and rail transit markets. The event should be of interest to rail agency mid-level and top management, board members and policymakers, government agency staff, suppliers, consultants and contractors. For registration information, contact Marcus Eng at 202-496-4874 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Conference of Mayors announces June dates for annual event
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has announced that this year's 82nd Annual Conference of Mayors will be Friday through Monday, June 20-23. This year's event will be held in Dallas. Online registration is currently open. Sponsorships are available by contacting Geri Powell at 202-293-7330 or email@example.com.
National Association of Counties annual event set in New Orleans
The National Association of Counties has set July 11-14 as the dates for its 79th Annual Conference and Exposition. The event will be held in the Morial Convention Center in Orleans Parish (New Orleans). It provides an opportunity for all county leaders and staff to learn, network and guide the direction of the association. Members will have the opportunity to vote on NACo's policies related to federal legislation and regulation, to elect officers, network with colleagues, learn about innovative county programs and view products and services from participating companies and exhibitors. Registration is now open and the preliminary schedule has been released.
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