Volume 7, Issue 33 - November 18, 2015
'Smart lights' prove to be smart investment for government 
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Street lights may never be the same again. Even the name has changed ... they are now called "smart lights."

Smart lights have two mechanisms - luminaries, the technology that creates illumination, and a control or communication component. Luminaries include fluorescent bulbs, high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. The control and communication components are responsible for the intelligence, and this technology relies on sensors, microcontrollers and receivers.




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Reuse may help Southern California's water problems
Purification plant to allow southern Los Angeles County to become self-sufficient
Rendering of purification plant provided by Water Replenishment District of Southern California
Earlier this year, the Water Replenishment District of Southern California spent $10 million to buy an industrial site in Pico Rivera, a city in southeastern Los Angeles County. The site soon might be home to an important part of the solution to Southern California's water woes.

The replenishment district earlier this month announced plans to construct a water purification plant on the site that will save money and, possibly, allow it to stop importing water from the Colorado River and the California Delta. Though funding for the construction of the $95 million plant isn't settled yet, the district nonetheless is planning to start the project in 2016 and have it up and running by 2018. The construction costs will likely come both from local bonds and from the $7.5 billion state water bond passed by voters in 2014, though that decision hasn't yet been made firm.

Once it is operational, the purification plant will use a process of reverse osmosis to treat and reclaim sewage from the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. That will allow the Water Replenishment District to refill the two aquifers it manages with local water rather than having to import it from outside the region. It currently purchases 21,000 acre-feet annually at a cost of $1,000 per acre-foot. The replenishment district says that price would be lowered to $200 per acre-foot after the purification plant opens and begins to treat the sewage water.

Officials contend that the plant will make the sourcing of water cheaper and more efficient for local communities, as well as aiding the regions from which it currently buys the imported water. 

"Not only are we helping to become independent from imported water, we're also helping states in the Southwest region by using less water that comes from the Colorado River," district President Sergio Calderon said.

The Water Replenishment District isn't the only authority in Southern California making moves toward water reuse and recycling. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has announced a much larger project it hopes to build at a cost of $1 billion. That plant, whose timeline is further off in the future, would be large enough to treat as much as 168,000 acre-feet of water annually. That would be enough water for 335,000 households each year, whereas the Pico Rivera plant will supply water for around 42,000 households.
South Carolina, Georgia agree on new port plan
Jasper Ocean Terminal to provide alternative to Port of Savannah
Officials of the states of South Carolina and Georgia this week signed a new agreement that outlines their planning for the development of a new port. Designed to relieve the overburdened ports of Savannah to the south and Charleston to the north, the Jasper Ocean Terminal is a $4.5 billion project that will be built on 1,500 acres of land on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River. It will be owned jointly by the South Carolina Ports Authority and Georgia Ports Authority.

The new port has been in the works for almost a decade, and the Jasper Joint Project Office (JPO), the bi-state agency in charge of the development, was founded in 2008. The project had been stalled since then, essentially, however. This new joint venture agreement replaces the original agreement and gives the project momentum once again. It provides a framework for the development process, including financing, design work and new infrastructure that will be required, which might include rail access, road construction and modifications to the shipping channel. The agreement also spells out the permitting and planning processes.

The project's board of directors has established goals and a budget for 2016. The goals include the commencement of geotechnical studies and conceptual design work for the terminal. The year's $2.5 million budget will be split evenly between the port authorities. Earlier this year, the board hired a project manager to oversee the entire construction process. The agreement also allows the board to apply for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the project.

"We hope to submit our permit application to the Corps in Charleston before Thanksgiving and follow that in December with a letter requesting a channel capacity modification study," said Doug Marchand (pictured), a member of the JPO board.

The Jasper Ocean Terminal could be operational by 2029. It will be able to accommodate cargo vessels that can carry between 14,000 and 20,000 shipping containers, according to the agreement.
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will not publish next week
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Upcoming contracting opportunities

Port Authority forms corporation for tunnel project
New York City desperately needs a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River to connect Manhattan to New Jersey, between which so many commute. The potentially $20 billion project will be a massive undertaking involving the states of New Jersey and New York, as well as the federal government. Construction on the tunnel moved incrementally closer to happening last week when all three governments decided to form a corporation within the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to oversee the planning and eventual construction. Called the Gateway Development Corporation, it will coordinate with each respective entity and assemble the budget. The corporation will be controlled by a board consisting of four members, one appointed by each state, the federal government and rail provider Amtrak. The agreement also makes official that the U.S. government will pay for half of the project, a move requested by the governors of the two states in September. New York Senator Chuck Schumer previously had requested the formation of the corporation to manage the project, and governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo suggested it be operated within the Port Authority. "It's the first inning of a long game," Schumer said. "But it's a big change that has the federal and state players on the field on the same team, instead of in opposing dugouts."
Massport issues RFQ for Summer Street Project
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is looking for a developer for Boston's Summer Street Development Project. The project, set along South Boston's waterfront, will include a 250-room hotel, street-level retail options and a mixed-use component that "fully maximizes the development potential of the site." Massport has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the project. While it says the project "must include" the hotel, it doesn't spell out what needs to go into the mixed-use development otherwise, suggesting office space and residential as well as commercial uses. The RFQ seeks a firm to develop, finance, construct and operate the project. Responses for the RFQ are due Dec. 21. Massport will draw a shortlist from those respondents to include in the request for proposals process. It is hoping to expedite that process and commence construction in 2018.
Humboldt County approves $20 million for jail facility
A California county is preparing a $21.5 million expansion of its jail facility after gaining the approval of the Board of State and Community Corrections last week. The state will provide $20 million toward the project, with Humboldt County making up the difference. The new facility will be a three-story structure with a parking garage on the first level. In addition to facilities for those who are in custody, the building will house other departments including Mental Health Services, Probation and Program and Support Services. The idea behind putting all those departments under one roof was to ease the path for inmates and probationers to reenter the community and be more productive. County Supervisor Rex Bohn (pictured) said that the county is not just "expanding the jail but expanding services." The project is expected to take three to five years to complete. The county will need to increase its staff by 15-20 correctional officers as well.
Ohio OKs road project in Youngstown, Austintown
The state of Ohio's Controlling Board last week approved funding $400,000 toward a $7.5 million project in Youngstown and Austintown. The project will rebuild Meridian Road, which runs through the two towns and has handled a significant amount of heavy truck traffic. In addition to reconstruction of the road itself, the project will replace an aging and deteriorated water main that runs beneath it. The project will be completed in three phases, the first of which will commence in 2016. The second and third phases are scheduled to start in 2017 and 2019, respectively, with each phase expected to cost about $2.5 million. The Controlling Board's contribution to the first phase is coupled with another $150,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation's Division of Jobs and Commerce.
St. Paul to expand recycling services by 2017
The Public Works Department of St. Paul, Minn., has issued a request for bids to handle the city's recycling services. The contract would be for residential services as well as for city buildings and public spaces. It's expected to be awarded in the spring of 2016, with service beginning Jan. 1, 2017. The new provider is expected to replace the 18-gallon tubs that are used by the city's current providers with 64-gallon wheeled and lidded carts. City officials have stated their goal is to see a 35 percent increase in recycling tons and a 15 percent increase in participation with the change. "We want a high quality program that maximizes the amount of material that gets recycled ... at a competitive price," said Anne Hunt (pictured), the city's environmental policy director. A separate contract for recycling organic material will be put out to bid in the spring of 2016.
SUNY Poly seeking more bids for clean tech center
The State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) in Utica, N.Y., is reopening the bidding process for a $12.5 million development project that did not get enough responses from vendors when it was first let. The project will build a clean technology center along the waterfront overlooking the Hudson River. The original solicitation for bids lacked clarity, according to a SUNY Poly spokesman, which led to confusion about the bid specifications. School officials believe that confusion caused potential vendors to hold back from bidding on the project. The new request for proposals (RFP) is expected to be issued by the end of November, with responses likely due in February 2016.
Oklahoma launches $890 million turnpike plan
The state of Oklahoma will see an ambitious highway construction program launch in the third quarter of 2016. Called the Driving Forward plan, it will encompass six large-scale projects and cost about $890 million. Announcing the plan, Gov. Mary Fallin (pictured) said that the state would pay for the infrastructure project through the issuance of bonds. The projects range from the $28 million completion of a loop around Tulsa to two separate $300 million projects that will enhance the transportation options connecting the state's two largest cities, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. "The 'Driving Forward' plan is about ensuring safe travel, relieving congestion to shorten commutes and sustaining economic development for years to come," Fallin said. "As Oklahoma's population grows, it will require a greater commitment to modernizing and improving our transportation infrastructure. Making these investments today will prevent our state from having to respond to a crisis in the future."
Lawmakers want money for Bergen light rail extension
New Jersey lawmakers are signaling their intent to expand light rail service throughout the state. The efforts will start with the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line that now ends in North Bergen. The proposed extension would bring service to residents of Bergen County, and estimates say that it would offer passenger rail transportation to more people than any other project being considered. State Sen. Loretta Weinberg is advocating for the extension. "The latest environmental impact study said more than 20,000 people would use this rail every day," Weinberg said. "So, if you're going to start prioritizing projects, might as well take the one with the most ridership." The other light rail projects under consideration are in Patterson and Jersey City in the northern part of the state and another in South Jersey.
Blooming Prairie approves five-year streets plan
Blooming Prairie, Minn., is finishing up work on a reconstruction project for the city's Main Street, but its city council is already preparing for the next five years. Last week, the Blooming Prairie City Council approved a five-year street reconstruction plan that was prepared by the city's external engineer. The plan contains three projects that could be built between 2015-2020, one of which is the Main Street renovation. That project is being built in conjunction with Steele County. "These are just the projects that the city should be thinking about the next five years," said the city's engineer. "It doesn't mean they're going to happen in the next five years. Obviously one's already done, so you have two to think about." Included among the two other projects is the nearly $3 million reconstruction of 2nd Street, including sewer and water main work below the street. "That's a project that's been in the works going all the way back to 2004 after the large flood that we had," City Administrator Michael Jones (pictured) said. "We did have a storm water analysis of where the problems were. Eventually we'll start looking at that, because the priority of that project is going to get stronger and stronger and stronger."
Mississippi legislature to debate highway funds in 2016
While it looks like there will be a long-term transportation bill emerge from Congress this year for the first time in a decade, more and more states are making moves to ensure that their roads and bridges are taken care of in a responsible manner. In Mississippi, the state's chamber of commerce - known as the Mississippi Economic Council , or MEC - is preparing to release a report announcing its recommendations for transportation projects statewide. The state last raised its gas tax in 1987 as part of a $1.7 billion highway program that built four-lane highways throughout the state. Many of those roads are now in need of repair or reconstruction. The MEC report will be the first step in a larger push for transportation funding. The Mississippi Department of Transportation estimates that it will take $400 million annually just to maintain the roads and stop their deterioration.
Collaboration Nation
News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

Army, Hawaiian utility join for renewable power P3
The U.S. Army is considering leasing just more than 8 acres on the Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield on the island of Oahu to a private utility, which wants to build a renewable energy generating station on the property. The final environmental impact statement concluded that the project is not harmful to the land. The project calls for the utility to build, operate and maintain a 50-megawatt, biofuel-capable energy generating station, power poles, transmission lines and any other equipment deemed necessary. The Army must see out a 30-day waiting period before deciding whether to proceed with the project. That deadline is Dec. 6. In addition to the power generated by the facility, the project will aid both the Army and the utility in meeting federal and state renewable energy goals and requirements.
P3 brings new homes to La Crosse neighborhoods
In an effort to attract more residents to their city, officials of the city of La Crosse, Wisc., have formed a public-private partnership (P3) with local contractors to build new houses in the city's older neighborhoods. The move is designed to attract more people to live within the city limits and thereby expand the city's tax base. Previously, the city had acquired houses in foreclosure and turned them into public housing or transferred ownership of them to nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity. This partnership, though, demolishes those structures and turns them over to developers to build new housing on the land. The program has completed one house, with several others under construction.
Ohio P3 building new highway bypass
State Route 823, also known as the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway or the Portsmouth Bypass, is a 16-mile, four-lane divided highway being built by a public-private partnership (P3) between the Ohio Department Of Transportation (ODOT) and a consortium called the Portsmouth Gateway Group. The project is now under construction, and the state and its partner gave a public presentation this month on the highway's progress. Site prep work began in August, and bridge construction will begin in January 2016, with road construction to follow in the fall. The private partners will front the costs of financing and construction in return for a 35-year concession, during which time the state will make "availability payments" to the group. If the highway is not fully available for all traffic for whatever reason, the state pays a discounted fee. The highway is scheduled to open in December 2018. 
Canadian investment funds buy toll road operator
The Chicago Skyway is a tolled section of Interstate 90 that runs east from Chicago to the border of Illinois and Indiana. In 2005, the state of Illinois turned over operation and maintenance of the toll road to a consortium called Skyway Concession Company. The private group paid $1.83 billion for a 99-year lease of the highway maintenance concession as part of a public-private partnership (P3). In return, Skyway Concession Company obtained the rights to the interstate's toll revenue. Last week, three Canadian pension fund management firms announced a deal to acquire the operator of the Chicago Skyway toll road for $2.8 billion. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan will each own a one-third interest in Skyway Concession, whose agreement to operate the highway lasts until 2104.
Appleton considers P3 for waterfront redevelopment
For decades, much of the waterfront land in Wisconsin's cities was used for industrial purposes. In recent years, many of those cities have turned the now-underused land into desirable property. The city of Appleton is the latest city to consider what to do with its potentially valuable riverfront land. Last week, the city hosted a conference to which it invited officials from cities around the state that have made similar decisions. Development leaders from Oshkosh and Green Bay discussed efforts in those cities to use the waterfront to revitalize their downtowns. Appleton leaders are considering the use of public-private partnerships (P3) to develop land along the Fox River, but the process is in the early stages so far. Still, Matt Rehbein, an economic development specialist with the city of Appleton, listed five pieces of property in the city (including the Fox River Mills and the Woolen Mills) that are ripe for development, and potentially a P3.

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