Volume 7, Issue 27 - October 7, 2015
It's a dirty job, but cities learning to manage trash disposal
|Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.|
Trash is a dirty, smelly, complicated and critical issue for government. In 2012, the world generated about 1.3 billion tons of waste. By 2025, that volume will rise to about 2.2 billion tons. Government officials struggle valiantly to deal with all kinds of issues related to the disposal of trash. At the center of the chaos is an industry known as waste management and thousands of public officials who are responsible for overflowing landfills, environmental issues, increased costs and air quality. The industry is evolving in ways that are vital to future generations and the world's environment.
Innovation in the waste industry has come a long way, but the "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" campaign has not been as effective as most had hoped.
San Diego dreams big for long-term transportation
SANDAG lays out $200 billion transit plan through 2050 San Diego is a hugely popular place, home to more than 3 million residents countywide, with a million more expected to arrive by 2050. And it's no wonder ... the environment is beautiful, the climate gorgeous and both the beach and the mountains are close by.
Now, try to imagine having to fit all those people onto the area's roads and get them moving to where they need to be. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has been doing just that and has been mindful that 4 million people aren't all going to fit on the existing roads and that new roads alone aren't going to be able to accommodate them either.
SANDAG's vision for the next 35 years of transportation infrastructure in San Diego includes more than $40 billion in highway construction and $5 billion geared toward bikers and pedestrians. But about half of the projects that make up the $204 billion plan consist of mass transit options.
Some of these projects are already in the works. The region's light-rail system is readying a $1.7 billion expansion that will begin construction in 2016; it will connect the downtown area to the University of California-San Diego. Three further extensions are included in the plan. As well, SANDAG's vision for the future of public transit in San Diego includes skyways that will move people by gondolas suspended from wire cables. There are multiple routes being considered that connect the light rail with existing train routes as well as to San Diego's waterfront neighborhoods and attractions. The benefits of the skyway option is that it keeps cars off the road, and they are much cheaper to build and to operate than either roads or rail; they also can navigate the steep inclines that San Diego's terrain offers much more efficiently.
The money devoted to highway construction is also dedicated with innovation in mind. Rather than entirely new freeways, the plan focuses on enhancing existing roads through smarter use. Managed lanes - that reverse direction depending on time of day and frequency of use - and new technology will allow transportation planners to have more control in guiding drivers to use roads in more efficient ways that will help ease traffic congestion.
Roadmap to upcoming opportunities
Interested in staying ahead of the competition? Then ... take note! Government entities throughout Texas are planning November bond elections.
The bond vote represents contracting work valued at $8.7 billion. New construction, renovation and maintenance projects, road work, new bridges, street improvements, new public safety buildings, parks renovations and water and wastewater projects - this is what the bond funding will cover.
The Strategic Partnerships Team will deliver all the details and subscribers will be able to get information that is not available anywhere else. Order now and be among the first to receive the information!
U.S. government, BP reach $20 billion settlement
Energy company to pay out largest settlement in history to federal, state governments
Five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 people and spilled 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government and British energy company BP have finally reached a settlement.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the $20.8 billion agreement "the largest settlement with a single entity in American history." This civil settlement is in addition to the $4 billion penalty the company was ordered to pay in 2013 when it pleaded guilty to criminal misconduct. It resolves a case filed by the federal government in December 2010 with BP "receiving the punishment it deserves, while also providing critical compensation for the injuries it caused to the environment and the economy of the Gulf region," according to the attorney general.
The penalty was arrived at in the following manner:
- $7.1 billion for natural resources damages
- $5.9 billion for state and local claims
- $5.5 billion in a civil penalty to the states under the Clean Water Act
- $1 billion for early restoration work already committed by BP
- $700 million in costs unknown at this time but that might arise in the future
- $350 million to state and federal governments for assessment costs
- $250 million to repay the federal government for costs incurred responding to the spill
The settlement still has to be approved by a federal judge, and, prior to that, it will be available for public comment for 60 days. "Once approved by the court," Lynch said at a press conference announcing the settlement, "this agreement will launch one of the largest environmental restoration efforts the world has ever seen."
The money that will go or has already gone to state and local governments will be split among the five Gulf Coast states. Louisiana, the hardest hit of those states, is set to receive by far the most money ($5 billion) toward restoration of its coastline and natural habitats. The other four states involved in the settlement - Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas - have been allotted a total of $1.5 billion for restoration of wetlands, wildlife and sea animals and water quality.
Upcoming contracting opportunities
L.A. County to consolidate health care agencies
Mitch Katz (pictured) currently leads the Department of Health Services for Los Angeles County. It is a system of county hospitals and clinics with 20,000 employees and a $4.8 billion budget. Soon, though, he may be in charge of a much larger agency that will consolidate his department with separate county mental health and public health operations. The new agency would account for almost a third of the county's $27-billion budget. The decision to move toward a unified agency is designed to save money on administrative costs and better coordinate services for people who have to receive services from all three agencies. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said it would "improve access, health outcomes and system efficiency. In the present and expected future health care environment, and to best meet the needs of our constituents, the county must move from fragmentation to integration of its healthcare delivery system," he wrote in proposing the change. The three agencies were one until the mental health services unit broke off on its own in 1978; public health did the same in 2006. "A lot has changed since 2007," Mitch Katz, who is expected to lead the combined agency, told county supervisors. "At that time, DHS was in crisis, with huge deficits this board had to deal with that threatened the entire county. We're now in a position where the county is healthy. There is no deficit, we're not proposing meshing the budgets."
Columbia County building projects move forward
Columbia County, Wisc., is almost finished with the design phase for its new administration and Health and Human Services (HHS) buildings. The county board of supervisors was presented with a virtual tour of the design last month. The project's manager said that a "vast majority of the design decisions have been made" and that the board's ad hoc building committee will be ready to bid the project out by mid-December. The construction costs for the project are $43.35 million, slightly above its $42.86 million budget due to a five percent construction contingency add-in that will cover any change in plans. Among the design decisions that are not yet final are a footbridge over the adjacent Portage Canal and the buildings' cooling system. The former would be easier to change than the latter, but the fact that the project is in line to exceed the approved budget threshold means that several alternatives are being considered.
Miami University approves construction projects
Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is in the midst of a slew of campus construction projects, with even more to come over the next five-seven years. Last month, trustees approved plans to spend $135 million by 2022 to build an addition to the new student center, update the old student center and renovate multiple academic buildings. The university is requesting the state contribute $92 million toward the upgrades of the academic buildings, to which it will also add between $10 million and $20 million. Miami Finance Director David Creamer (pictured) said the university will find out how much the state will pay by early next year. "We're hopeful with our submission that our priorities will be funded at the highest possible level," Creamer said. The other projects will begin in January, with the $20 million renovation of the Shriver Student Center, which will include an expanded bookstore, a welcome center, a 250-seat auditorium and a new convenience store. The new student center opened in 2014 after completion of its $53.1 million first phase. The second phase will begin during the spring semester of 2016 and cost $23.6 million. The trustees also mentioned the need to build new residence halls to meet growing enrollment but did not announce formal plans. The school has spent more than $400 million on new construction since 2009.
Charleston, S.C., clears way for Main Road overpass
Last week, the Charleston County Council approved plans to build a flyover on Main Road. The project, which will cost up to $65 million, is designed to relieve traffic congestion, as well as help to ease flooding in the area. A South Carolina Department of Transportation official said it could take between six and eight years to complete construction and that the source of funding for the project has yet to be decided. The scope of the project might also include an option to raise and widen the road. The combination of heavy rains and an unusually high tide flooded Main Road near Savannah Highway in September. One lane of the road had to be closed, reducing traffic to just one lane.
Beverly Middle School project gets the go-ahead
Beverly, Mass., will have a new $110 million middle school large enough to educate 1,400 students now that both local and state authorities have approved funding for the project. The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) voted last week in favor of the project, two weeks after the city council did the same. The MSBA and the city will share the cost of the project, with $60.8 million coming from the city and $48.4 million coming from the state. Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill (pictured) said the project's architects will be in the city over the next week or so to complete planning. "These were the two votes we needed," Cahill said. "The approval of the funding has happened at the local and state level. It just gives us the green light to move ahead with full speed." The first step in the construction phase will be the demolition of the former Memorial School, which should begin in January 2016. The schedule is set now for the school to open for grades five through eight in September 2018. It will feature a library media center, auditorium and an outdoor learning space.
Charlotte OKs budget for airport expansion design
Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C., is the seventh busiest in the world in terms of takeoffs and landings and American Airlines' second biggest hub. It's also about to undergo a major renovation that will add a concourse and 25 new gates over the project's two phases. Last week, the Charlotte City Council approved a $7.8 million design contract for the first phase of the concourse. The project will displace rental car parking spaces, which will soon be located at a new 7,000-space parking deck, built across from the terminal. That move will also free surface parking lots for development. The first phase of construction will start in January 2016, last for 18 months and cost $140 million. The second phase could begin in 2020. Other projects in the larger airport renovation and expansion plan include the expansion of the roadway in front of the terminal from three lanes to eight, the addition of tunnels and pedestrians bridges, an expanded terminal lobby and an added fourth parallel runway.
San Mateo gives $108 million for Highway 101 projects
With the entire San Francisco Bay area positively booming, it's no surprise that its highways are experiencing increasingly heavy traffic. And so it follows that San Mateo County, wedged between the city of San Francisco to the north and Silicon Valley to the south, is trying to do something about all those cars and all that wasted time on the road. The San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) has allocated $108 million in local sales tax dollars toward projects along Highway 101. "Everyone understands the traffic on 101 is atrocious. It's affecting people's quality of life," David Canepa (pictured), vice chair of the transportation authority board, said. "We need to make an investment in our infrastructure and we need to make sure we have the throughput. Hopefully we can find a solution to alleviate this traffic that's frustrating people." The SMCTA funded projects that are directly within or that have a considerable impact on the Highway 101 corridor. Four construction projects were awarded varying amounts, the largest allotting $56 million to redo a cloverleaf interchange in Menlo Park. As well, $22 million was divided among another four projects to conduct environmental studies.
Minnesota to move highway, make way for iron mine
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is set to begin the relocation of U.S. Highway 53 after getting the OK of the Federal Highway Administration for its final Environmental Impact Statement. An almost three-mile portion of the highway has to be moved to make way for the mining of iron ore beneath its current route near Virginia, Minn. The project includes construction of four lanes of new highway and an 1,100-foot bridge across the Rouchleau pit, a former iron ore mining site that has filled with water to form a sort of lake. Construction should start before the end of the year and is slated to cost between $180 to $240 million dollars. The full roadway and bridge project should be completed by the fall of 2017.
Greenville County gets state funds to rebuild bridge
The South Carolina legislature earlier this year allotted to counties more than $215 million for what it termed "secondary roads projects," and Greenville County has made a decision how to use its share of the money. The East Tyger Bridge runs between Blue Ridge Middle School and Mountain View Elementary, yet it can't sustain traffic from school buses or other heavy vehicles. The county will rebuild the bridge in 2016, as one of more than two dozen projects it will conduct using funds from the special appropriation. Greenville County was awarded more than any other South Carolina county, and the County Legislative Transportation Committee chose to take care of 26 road paving projects along with the East Tyger bridge. "Of course, we're finding that there is not enough money to fix all these roads, but it's a very good start," said Paul Hughes (pictured), chairman of the committee. "Every road we are doing with the $12 million is of terrible quality." At least half the work must be done on each project in 2016, while most of the projects are expected to be completed by 2017. Some will need utility work done in order to be started on, and those will be saved for the end of the construction cycle.
Hopkinton gains approval for Center School project
|Hopkinton, Mass., will be getting a new school in the near future if voters choose to approve a construction project. Up for vote will be whether or not to take on $31 million in debt, after the Massachusetts School Building Authority decided last week to fund $14 million of the project. The new 83,000-square-foot school will be built to educate 395 students in kindergarten and first grade; it's scheduled to open in fall 2018. It will replace the Center School, which was built in 1927, added onto in 1954 and 1986 and currently has mechanical, electrical, plumbing and window problems. A town meeting will take place Oct. 26 at which residents will vote to approve the project. That will be followed by an election at which voters will decide on a debt exclusion to pay for the project, to be held Nov. 9. Voters in May approved the $1.9 million acquisition of the 20-acre site on which the school will be built.|
News About public-private partnerships (P3)
Virginia County may use P3 to improve internet access
| Loudoun County, Va., officials are researching several options to improve broadband internet access for its rural citizens, including the use of public-private partnerships (P3). Many of the 30,000 households in the western part of the county use cellular and satellite technology, but in areas where cable has not yet penetrated, wireless service can be unreliable or wholly unavailable. The county's board of supervisors is also considering the possibility of lowering application fees to encourage broadband companies to provide service to this underserved part of the county. However, the board is looking into issuing a request for information (RFI) to determine whether such a project could be developed through a P3. At a meeting to discuss the feasibility of such an arrangement, County Supervisor Geary Higgins (pictured) said that access to broadband internet is not just a bonus for rural businesses but a necessity. "They can't get a credit-card swipe, for crying out loud, in western Loudoun County," Higgins said. |
Maryland County issues RFQ for solar panel P3
St. Mary's County, Md., has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for companies to design, finance, build, install and operate solar photovoltaic systems on county-owned land as part of a public-private partnership (P3). The RFQ has been issued to come up with a list of interested and capable firms from which the county will then choose one to partner with. The systems will be located on five parcels of land and be constructed, operated and maintained at no cost to the county. The properties consist of two closed landfills, the county governmental center and schools. The project involves installation of ground- and roof-mounted systems as well as a canopy system, according to the RFQ. Maryland's Renewables Portfolio Standard requires utility companies to produce at least 20 percent of the energy they use through renewable sources by 2022.
UMass-Boston to consider building dorms through P3s
The University of Massachusetts-Boston, the only school in the UMass system without dorms, is planning to construct a 1,000-bed dormitory on its Columbia Point campus. The plan calls for a $120 million freshman residence hall to be financed through a public-private partnership (P3). The University of Massachusetts Building Authority approved that plan last week, and it now goes to Gov. Charlie Baker for final approval. If the school gains that approval, it will select a developer to construct, finance and manage the residence hall. The university would then lease the land to the developer, which would earn its money back by collecting room and board fees. Aside from housing students, the new dorm is expected to help the neighborhood's real estate market. The idea is that if students move into university housing, area apartments will be opened up for families who want to live in Dorchester. It could also help the university in terms of student retention. A similar situation at the UMass system's Lowell campus, saw the number of first-year students returning as sophomores rise from 75 percent to 85 percent after its first dorm was built. The Boston school's master plan calls for up to 2,000 beds in two phases.
PennDOT wants unsolicited infrastructure proposals
Counterintuitive as it may seem, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is seeking out unsolicited proposals for infrastructure projects involving public-private partnerships. The agency issued a press release last week asking the private sector to pitch PennDOT with ideas for roads, bridges, rail, aviation projects and ports or proposals that offer better methods to manage existing transportation services and programs. Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order in February that called for the agency to use P3s to achieve $150 million in cost savings to reduce the state's budget deficit. Among the agency's P3 projects is one for which it is seeking a private developer to build telecommunications towers and market them to telecom and cellular providers. That project was accepted after being submitted as an unsolicited proposal. Instructions on how to submit the proposals are on PennDOT's Office of Public-Private Partnerships website. Private developers have through the end of October to submit proposals and will be permitted to do so again in April 2016.
New CDOT leader to focus on P3s, innovative financing
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has selected David Spector to lead its High-Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE). A government-owned business within CDOT, HPTE pursues public-private partnerships (P3) and other innovative methods of financing transportation infrastructure projects. Spector worked for two years as legal counsel to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and was involved with transportation projects and P3s during his time in the governor's office. "Colorado has developed a national reputation for innovation and creativity in financing major projects. David's leadership background, planning acumen and consensus-building skills will ensure that HPTE and CDOT work together in shaping our statewide transportation system," said CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt. Spector will replace Michael Cheroutes, HPTE's first director. Cheroutes announced his resignation in August and has founded a P3 consulting firm called the Colorado Center for Infrastructure Investment.
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