|Volume 6, Issue 17||July 30, 2014|
Tough questions that demand answers!
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
There are some ominous questions circulating in the United States and we must answer them soon. How much longer will we neglect our critical infrastructure needs? Why are we lagging behind other countries? What will we do with public-private partnerships in America? What's so frightening about the concept of collaboration?
Whether it is a lack of political will from elected officials or resistance to change, the reality is this - our public officials must stop procrastinating and start leading. This country is suffering from neglect. Collaboration should be an attractive option. Government funding for large public projects is no longer available, so change must occur. What's the opposition to alternative funding options?
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity
identification for all 50 states.
Click here for more information.
|Senate passes own version of highway funding bill|
Seeks to force another round of debate on solution after November elections
The U.S. Senate Tuesday passed its own version of a bill to extend federal highway funding, and just in time. Lawmakers have vowed to pass legislation shoring up the Highway Trust Fund just days before Congress goes on a five-week vacation. But, the Senate version must now go back to the House for approval, and it faces hostile forces there.
The Senate version differs from the version passed recently by the House. The Senate version extends funding for highway projects only through December. The House version extends funding until May 2015. Either way, many state governments which have put their major transportation projects on hold for fear of the fund running out of money in August could breathe a sigh of relief.
However, if the House does not accept the Senate version of the bill, the two chambers could lock horns again. Sen. Ron Wyden (pictured) of Oregon added an amendment to the House bill that changed the end date to Dec. 19. While House Speaker John Boehner says the House will not approve the Senate version of the bill, Wyden still says some sort of compromise bill will be passed before members of Congress leave at the end of this week. He said Congress will not allow "the transportation equivalent of a government shutdown."
If legislation does not pass before August, the Highway Trust Fund is in danger of becoming insolvent. Federal transportation officials have warned that if legislation is not passed by Aug.1, state and local governments can expect their payments from the federal government for major transportation projects to be cut as much as 28 percent.
The Senate is seeking the Dec. 19 extension date in hopes that after November elections, members of Congress will come back with a more collegial attitude and work toward a long-term fix for the Highway Trust Fund rather than another stop-gap, short-term solution.
Since 2008, four short-term fixes have been approved to ensure money for the Highway Trust Fund.
|Illinois approves $1.1B for state construction projects|
Legislation expected to lead to more than 210 projects, close to 14,000 jobs
More than 210 projects creating close to 14,000 jobs will get under way in Illinois soon after Gov. Pat Quinn (right) signed two capital improvement bills that will result in $1.1 billion in road and bridge work statewide. This initiative is the sequel to Quinn's $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! construction program that covers six years.
Quinn praised the Illinois General Assembly for passing the legislation. "With this investment in our state's infrastructure, we are immediately putting people to work, making our world-class transportation system even stronger and generating economic development far into the future," Quinn said.
Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren (left) called the program a "shot in the arm" that the state's transportation system and the state economy both need. She said after a harsh winter, many of the state's roads and bridges "are in desperate need of attention."
In addition to $1 billion for funding projects in the state's FY 2015-2020 Multi-Year Program, some of the funding also would be spent locally - $100 million worth for municipal and township governments to spend on their infrastructure needs.
Among the projects funded by the bill are:
- $28.7 million for the 47th Street to 55th Street bridge complex at I-55 in Cook County. The project includes widening and rehabilitation of the bridge, ramp modifications, addition of auxiliary lanes, lighting, new signage and more.
- $7 million for a resurfacing project in Dupage County for 63rd Street to the Cook County line in Willow Brook and Burr Ridge.
- $3.855 million in Lake County for intersection reconstruction at Fairfield Road in Lake Villa.
- $16.01 million in Gurnee in Lake County for bridge replacement, intersection improvement and retaining wall at ILL 132.
- $10.5 million in Channahon in Will County for interchange reconstruction at US 6 (Eames Street).
- $5.5 million in Knox County for bridge replacement on Henry Creek, south of the Henry County line.
- $6.1 million in Macon County for new bridge deck on Lake Decatur.
To view the complete list of capital bill projects click here.
U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund created
Will provide much-needed private-sector funding for variety of rural needs
A "new approach" to supporting job-creation projects is in the works following the announcement last week of the U.S. Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack (pictured) said the fund, announced during the inaugural White House Rural Opportunity Investment Conference, will provide another avenue of possible funding for much-needed infrastructure needs in rural areas of the country.
"USDA and other agencies invest in infrastructure through a variety of federal initiatives, but our resources are finite and there are backlogs of projects in many parts of the economy," said Vilsack. "We know where investment opportunities exist, so we are in a position to help promote these projects among investors." He said efforts will be made to encourage "substantial" private investment in projects in rural areas by partnering investors with projects.
The initial $10 billion to get the fund started comes from CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving rural America. Capitol Peak Asset Management will be charged with managing the fund and recruiting additional investors. The USDA and other agencies will determine which projects are worthy of receiving money from the fund.
The fund is geared toward rural infrastructure projects - either new construction or renovation - that will include hospitals, schools and other educational facilities, rural water and wastewater systems, energy projects, broadband expansion, local and regional food systems and other rural infrastructure. Some financial investors who previously have not had access to these markets, but will be able to invest in this fund, are pension funds, endowments, foundations and other institutional investors. Officials say this additional financial partnering arm can lead to public-private partnerships and an increase of private funding in rural areas.
|Upcoming education opportunities|
Illinois school district approves bond issuance for school renovations
Bonds totaling $3.2 million were approved for issuance by the Shelbyville, Illinois, schools. The bond proceeds will be used to renovate the Shelbyville High School. The bonds will be repaid with revenue from a 1 percent sales tax approved by voters earlier in the year. Once the bond sale was approved, the board then approved a contract with GRP Mechanical Co. for $3.2 million to add new heating and air conditioning for the school. Other aspects of the renovation include new windows and doors to make the building more energy efficient. Officials said that the energy upgrades are expected to save the school district at least $10,000 per year in energy costs. The addition of air conditioning will be the first the school has ever had. The projects are expected to begin this summer and be completed by October of next year.
School budget committee recommends $9M bond issue for projects
The Maury County, Tennessee, budget committee recently recommended that the county issue $9 million in bonds for a variety of projects, chief among them much-needed energy improvements. The energy improvements were suggested following an energy audit of county facilities. The audit found that all of the piping, chiller and boiler at Whitthorne Middle School needed to be replaced. A county official said that pretty much means a replacement of the entire HVAC system at the school. That would require $4.7 million of the $9 million bond. The remainder of the bond funding would include $2 million for the architectural design of a new Central High School and $1.3 million for major maintenance at other schools. Scott Gaines (pictured), assistant director of Maury County Public Schools, said the additional $1.3 million would be used to address top priority maintenance needs of a number of schools. Gaines said he was not sure how many projects on the priority list could be paid for with that amount of funding. "I wouldn't know what item on the list it carries us through," he said. "I just know it will carry us down through that list." The bond proceeds also will mean nearly $875,000 for energy improvements to the Maury County Courthouse.
Ohio school district recommends $28.4M bond issue for repair projects
Voters in the North Royalton school district in Ohio will face a $28.4 million bond issue in November. The school board has recommended calling for a bond election, which they called a compromise solution, given that voters have three times said no to a proposed $50 million bond referendum. If it passes, the bond proceeds will mostly be used for critical repairs needed at North Royalton High School and the district's three elementary schools. Also planned if the bond issues passes are roof replacement at North Royalton Middle School and repairs to windows, lights, floors and sewers in all school buildings in the district. These upgrades would cut down on future maintenance needs, say school officials.
Iowa community college to ask voters to approve $25 million bond issue
Voters in the Hawkeye Community College district in Iowa will face a $25 million bond issue in February. If successful, the bond issue would provide for new construction, including a single new facility to replace the Metro and Martin Luther King, Jr. centers. Other new construction would include a new health care program facility. Renovations and expansion are also among the bond projects. The high school career academies would be expanded and Grundy Hall would get much-needed renovations. College President Linda Allen (pictured) pointed out that the bond issue would not result in a tax increase. "We started the process in 2011, building a new master facilities plan," said Allen, speaking of the college about to come out of 2003 bond debt. The master plan had the input of staff, students, business leaders and other stakeholders. The first phase of bond spending would be a new $8 million Adult Education Center to replace the King and Metro Centers. Those two buildings, circa 1950 and 1962, would need extensive and expensive repairs and upgrades to continue to function. Another $500,000 of the bond proceeds would go toward expanding the career academies. The second phase would include a new $15 million Health Sciences Technology Center and the third phase would provide for a $1.5 million renovation and expansion of Grundy Hall, including technology upgrades and more modern labs and classrooms.
|Other upcoming contracting opportunities|
Managed toll lanes likely to be part of Virginia I-66 project
Improvements to I-66 in Virginia to help mitigate traffic congestion are likely to include managed toll lanes, according to a recent study by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The managed toll lanes would be similar to those on I-495 Express Lanes that were instituted two years ago. The use of managed lanes would be in response to private industry suggestions regarding I-66 improvements from the Beltway to Haymarket. Those suggestions were that a combination of free and toll lanes should be studied. Other options suggested were expanding Metro service toward the west and the possible use of Bus Rapid Transit. Whatever options are instituted, construction is likely to begin in 2017, with a price tag of $2 billion to $3 billion.
Illinois city starting $50M in projects from capital improvement plan
While some of the projects in the capital improvement plan of the city of Lockport, Illinois, are already under way, the city council recently approved a goal of completing 80-90 projects during the next six years. Among the projects are bridge reconstruction and rehabilitation, installation of sidewalks and road and water main projects. City Administrator Ben Benson said the plan is meant to be one that can change as needs change. For that reason, the majority of the engineering costs for the project will be spent over the next several years. Benson said pre-engineering "will give us a lot of shovel-ready projects that we can pull out and insert." Having engineering done will make it easier to get grants as they become available, according to city officials. During the recession of 2009, the federal government had grants available for city projects that were "shovel-ready." The city would like to have some projects ready to start in case that happens. First up on the agenda for 2016 and 2017 are a bridge replacement project on Second Street, installation of traffic signals at the intersection of Division Street and Gougar Road and street repairs and resurfacing on MacGregor Road and North Street. Sidewalk and street reconstruction projects are slated to begin soon.
County's capital improvement plan includes spending $2.7 billion in next decade
The capital improvement plan for Arlington County, Virginia, for the next decade has the city spending $2.7 billion on a variety of projects. Included are Metrorail spending, school expansion funds, bike and street projects, spending on bus lines and upgrades to services such as water and sewer systems. A new fire station is also in the works. The county will also ask voters to approve a $219 million bond vote in November. Of that funding, $105.8 million would go to schools, $60.2 million for Metro and transportation, $39.9 million for community infrastructure needs and $13 million for local parks and recreation. Other pieces of the capital improvement plan include spending $28 million on the replacement of one of the oldest community centers in the county. The street paving fund will get an infusion of $14.1 million and water, sewer and storm water management will get $379 million. Another $1 million will go toward pedestrian safety around the East Falls Church Metro station.
Funding for two streetcar lines approved by board of city in Virginia
Funding for two street car lines was approved recently by the Arlington, Virginia, board. Funding will be made available for both the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar lines. Board Chair Jay Fisette (pictured) said a streetcar will offer the city a "much better return on investment" that will provide additional resources for school needs and other community services. The Columbia Pike line, about five miles long, will cost an estimated $268.1 million, with Fairfax County putting up $70 million toward the cost. The 2.5-mile Crystal City line will cost the city $217.4 million. The city and county did not seek federal funding for the project, but instead opted to accept $65 million from the state. That is expected to cut a year off the completion date and $25 million off the final cost. A study commissioned by the county said the line will attract more than three times the private-sector investment than an enhanced bus service. "Fixed rail is more comfortable, it's more accessible, more environmentally friendly and it will ease congestion along this corridor," said Fisette.
|Who's winning government contracts?|
Check out these recent awards:
- Dumey Contracting won a $10 million contract from the state of Kentucky for work in western Kentucky to reconstruct Kentucky 56 interchange near Sebree that will result in Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway being designated as Interstate 69.
- AT&T Government Solutions won a contract valued up to $275 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of State awarded for the Foreign Post Telephone Replacement Program task order under its GSA Connections II IDIQ (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity) contract. The company will provide advanced and secure IP telephony systems to United States embassies and consulates worldwide.
- Accenture Federal Services won a $48 million task order from the U.S. Department of the Treasury for IT and financial management services to improve technologies and service levels across the Department's bureaus and offices. The work will include technology recommendations, acquisition support, IT strategy, systems security, financial systems, project and program management, enterprise architecture and development and support services.
- Atlantis Aquatic Group was awarded a $3.2 million contract from the city of Midland, Texas, to build a family aquatic center that includes several slides and a rock climbing wall in the pool, along with a volleyball net and a basketball goal.
- BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration, Inc. was awarded a $12,420,183 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of 249 Mode 5 Combined Interrogator Transponder Kits for the U.S. Navy and the governments of Finland, Australia and Switzerland.
- Northrop Grumman Corp. won a $205 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to continue providing mission logistics services in support of combat brigades training in the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
- CGI Technologies and Solutions, Inc. won nearly $90 million in computer contracts with the state of Michigan to build the state's Enterprise Resource Planning system.
|News about public-private partnerships (P3)|
Corpus Christi requests proposals for new youth sports complex
Corpus Christi city officials recently requested proposals to build a new youth sports complex. The facility would be south on 50 acres of land owned by the city that could be donated to the private organization that builds and operates the sports complex in a public-private partnership.
The youth sports complex is designed to host regional state and national events for baseball, soccer and basketball and to increase tourism to the city, according to the director of the parks and recreation department for the city. City officials expect to evaluate the proposals by the end of October and reward a contract by the end of this year, said the director, who also said plans are to build the sports complex without using tax funds.
County official pushing public-private partnership for port expansion
A county official in Delaware is supporting a public-private partnership for the expansion of the Port of Wilmington. New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon (pictured) points out that there is land not in use in an industrial park and additional unused land that was the location of a former General Motors assembly plant that could be used for port expansion. But, he said key in the success of such a project would be private investment of funding since the project would have a cost of $400 million to $600 million.
Gordon would like to see that area used as a container ship pier. In fact, the county has already offered to buy the General Motors property for $9 million. Gordon says the project would attract the interest of shipping lines that could have access to both rail lines and major highways.
The county executive said the next step would likely be conducting a feasibility study and then funding could be sought from the private sector. The port handles approximately 400 ships per year and cargo tonnage of about 5 million tons.
Tourism projects in Colorado would be public-private partnership
Regional tourism projects in Colorado may ban together to seek a Northern Colorado Regional Tourism Act (RTA) application. The RTA program was developed by the Colorado Economic Development Commission and accepts bids for large regional tourism projects. The RTA application being explored would include an 80-acre youth sports complex in Loveland, a new and expanded lodge at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch and a Windsor convention center. The project would be a public-private partnership.
If an application is submitted and accepted by the RTA, the project would provide an innovative financing option and would allow the establishment of an authority and use of Colorado sales tax increment collected over the last three decades. Projects chosen, and there are only two left that will be funded in 2015, must show that they will result in a substantial number of new regional, national and international visitors to an area. Three potential private partners have already shown an interest in the projects.
Among the possible projects proposed are an ice rink that would possibly attract national hockey tournaments, a golf club that could host national events and a high-end RV park. Another project would include a youth sports complex, natural history and sportsmen's museum and a development that includes a new hotel and facility.
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Samir Saini.
Samir Saini (pictured) was recently chosen by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to serve as the city's new Commissioner for Department of Information Technology. Saini comes to the city after having spent the last 15 years working in information technology, data security and business operations. He was most recently chief information officer for the Atlanta Housing Authority. He has more than 15 years of experience in information technology, data security and business operations and in addition to his housing authority experience, has also worked in a variety of industries, including energy, hospitality and real estate. Saini's career kicked off with the General Electric Company, where he was an IT program manager. He moved up the ladder to enterprise resource planning director of GE Energy Services and then to vice president for corporate solutions at MGM International Resorts. Saini will be charged in his new job as Commissioner for Department of Information Technology with improving the city's use of technology to better serve both residential and business customers in the city and expanding Wi-Fi to public spaces in the city. Saini will take over his new post on Aug. 11 and must first be confirmed by the Atlanta City Council. He succeeds Michael Dogan, who has been serving as interim commissioner since 2011.
Scott Carney (top left), is leaving his administrative post at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to become a deputy city manager for Stockton, effective Sept. 2. Harrison A. Peters (top center), former chief of schools in the Chicago Public Schools system, has been named chief high schools officer for the Houston Independent School District. The San Antonio City Council members recently appointed District 2 Council Member Ivy Taylor (top right) as the new mayor, replacing former Mayor Julian Castro, who resigned to become the new U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Mark Crawfis, a member of the Michigan National Guard for nearly 30 years, a Carson City, Nevada, firefighter for 15 years and assistant chief of the department for 10 years, has been chosen as the city's new fire chief, replacing Dan Kipp, who recently stepped down after 13 years. The city of Panama City, Florida, has chosen Jeff Brown, assistant city manager, as the new city manager, replacing Ken Hammons, the city's late city manager who died earlier this month. The Luther Burbank School District in California has named Michelle Richardson, assistant superintendent for business and operations at Travis Unified School District in Fairfield, as its next superintendent, replacing interim Richard Rodriguez, who has served since the resignation of Superintendent Jan Kaay. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's chief economist, Charles Steindel (bottom right) is resigning after three-and-a-half years to join Ramapo College sometime in late August. Stacy Holland (bottom center), director of strategic partnerships for the Philadelphia School District, is leaving at the end of this month to become executive director of the Lenfest Foundation. Dr. Lynn McIlroy (bottom left), former Loving, New Mexico, High School principal, has been chosen as the district's new superintendent, replacing Jesse Fuentes, who left to join the Carlsbad schools administration. Lee Staab, former president of Versar International, was recently named the new city manager of the city of Minot, North Dakota. Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced that Ellen de Graffenreid, vice president for communications at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, will serve as the University of Missouri's new vice chancellor of marketing and communications. Former San Pablo, California, Police Chiet Walt Schuld wasn't retired long after 31 years with the police department, having recently taken on the job as the city's interim assistant city manager, replacing Kelsey Worthy, who retired.
|Opportunity of the week...|
A town in Massachusetts is planning a $102 million project to build two wastewater tanks - both more than 75 feet tall - as part of an effort to stop sewage overflows during storms. Each tank will be 260 feet in diameter and big enough to hold 22 million gallons of rainwater and waste until it can be treated. Want to know more? Contact our Sales Team at 512-531-3900 or email@example.com.
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Calendar of events|
Georgetown Law to host public-private partnership symposium
As a follow-up to the White House Rural Council's Rural Opportunity Investment Conference held last week, Georgetown Law is hosting a series of symposiums on public-private partnerships (P3s) during the 2014-2015 academic year. Each symposium will feature government officials, commercial practitioners and academic leaders in a neutral space, to encourage effective and innovative approaches to P3s. The first of the three full-day sessions was held on July 24, and will be followed by events on Oct. 31 and another at a yet-to-be-announced date in early 2015. The October session, "Structuring Public-Private Partnerships for Asset Management," will focus on ways the public and private sectors can partner. The 2015 event, "Partnering with State and Local Governments," will discuss paths for recognizing partnership opportunities, collaborations among state and local governments to share expertise and how to structure partnerships to reduce risks while ensuring value for taxpayer dollars. Later in 2015, another session, "Driving Successful Execution of Public-Private Partnerships," will identify challenges to implementation of P3s and factors that can lead to successful partnerships. For more information, click here.
NASCIO planning for September annual conference in Nashville
Registration is now open for the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Annual Conference - "Raising the Bar...What's Next." The conference will be at the Omni Nashville Hotel
from Sept. 28-Oct. 1. The keynote address at the event will be delivered by sociobiologist Rebecca Costa, who will address "The Cautionary Side of Big Data." The event will offer multiple networking opportunities. The State Recognition Awards Dinner will be on Monday, Sept. 29. Some of the session topics will address open data, digital government, collaboration between state governments and universities and insights from public sector leaders following the 2014 State CIO Survey. Registration is currently open and more information and the agenda are available.
TEXAS DESAL 2014 event slated for Sept. 11-12 in Austin
The Texas Desalination Association's conference, TEXAS DESAL 2014 - Best Practices & Emerging Technology, brings together a diverse array of topics, presenters and attendees to build understanding and opportunities for desalination in Texas. Attendees are assured lively and informative discussions among industry experts, policymakers, regulators, researchers and water planners on the leading edge of new water supplies. Confirmed special guests include Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Director Bech Bruun and State Reps. Todd Hunter and Lyle Larson, who will address desalination from policy, funding and legislative perspectives. For sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, contact email@example.com
. Full conference details at TexasDesal.org
. For more information and to register, click here
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