Government Contracting Pipeline
Volume 6, Issue 44
February 25, 2015
Ripple effect of falling oil prices
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.


Motorists like the price of gasoline, but cheaper oil is taking a toll on the country's economy. State and local governments are feeling significant pain. Large amounts of revenue flow into government coffers through severance taxes, production fees and sales tax revenues generated by people with jobs tied to the oil and gas industry. The reduced revenue hits government's bottom line immediately - just as it does with private-sector companies.

Shrinking demand and excess supply drove oil prices down and the ripple effects are significant. Jobs have been lost and tax revenue has declined dramatically. Many states are in a quandary about budgets at the moment and the fallout will hit cities and counties just as hard. 



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Six Pennsylvania airports to share $9.7 million in funding


State funds going to projects to address safety, operational upgrades

Leslie Richards With a goal of improving safety and operations at Pennsylvania airports, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has announced that $9.7 million in state funds will be allocated to a half-dozen airports in the state.

"These projects are investments in the communities these airports serve," said Leslie S. Richards (pictured), PennDOT acting secretary. Richards pointed to the thousands of jobs supported in the state by aviation. "It's vital that we ensure airports in Pennsylvania can make safety and operational upgrades."

Part of the Aviation Transportation Assistance program, the funds are from bonds and leverage more than $8.3 million in local matching funds.

Among the projects earmarked for grant funding are:

  • Allegheny County Airport - $2.9 million - for restoration of the terminal public parking lots and sidewalks;
  • Doylestown Airport - Bucks County - $487,500 to purchase property within the airport's runway protection to remove approach obstructions;
  • Quakertown Airport - Bucks County - $180,000 to purchase property adjacent to the airport to remove obstructions and clear the runway approach; 
  • New Castle Municipal Airport - Lawrence County - $100,000 to construct a hangar addition to meet growth needs;
  • Hazleton Municipal Airport - Luzerne County - $300,000 to acquire two existing, privately owned hangars for new aircraft and equipment; and 
  • Williamsport Regional Airport - Lycoming County - $5 million to build a new terminal to improve access, airport security and safety and $750,000 to relocate the airport fuel farm.

Deadline for Purple Line bids extended for second time


Interested firms seeking additional time to explore more ways to cut costs

Pete Rahn In Maryland, the deadline for bids on the state's proposed Purple Line has been extended - again.


A 35-year public-private partnership is being sought in which the private-sector firms would design, build and operate the line, as well as help finance its construction.


The proposed 16-mile light rail line with 21 planned stations would extend from Bethesda in Montgomery County to New Carrollton in Prince George's County, providing a direct Purple Line connection to the Metrorail Red, Green and Orange Lines at Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park and New Carrollton. It would also connect to MARC, AMTRAK and local bus services.


But, the problem for private-sector firms seeking to bid is the cost. Their request to move back the bid deadline extended the date for having bids submitted from March 12 to Aug. 19.


According to state transportation officials, some of the firms interested in bidding wanted additional time to try to find ways to cut some of the costs of the $2.45 billion project.


Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, while campaigning for office, said the project was too expensive. However, he asked his nominee for Maryland Transportation Secretary, Pete Rahn (pictured) to review the project to see if it could be done at a lesser cost. Rahn earlier this month met with bidders to seek their opinion on whether allowing them more time on their bids and ways to reduce the costs would be worthwhile.


This is the second time the deadline has been extended. The then-January deadline was pushed back to March after Hogan's election last November, allowing Hogan time to more closely study the proposal.


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Upcoming education opportunities


Michigan university approves funds for two building projects

Andrew Beachnau Academics, housing and recreational facilities at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan are all getting a boost from a $44.8 million appropriation approved by the Board of Trustees. Two building projects will result from that allocation, a 145,000-square-foot housing and academic building and a 16,900-square-foot addition to the current Recreation Center at its Allendale campus. Both projects are expected to be completed by August 2016. The need for additional and expanded facilities has been brought about by a growing student population, according to Andy Beachnau (pictured), associate vice provost of student affairs at GVSU. The new housing/academic building project, with a $37 million price tag, will be for first-year students, allowing those students to be grouped together, rather than assigned to upper-class areas. The project also includes demolition of the Ice Macy Hoobler Living Center, which has only 50 beds. The new facility will house 498 students and will feature laundry facilities, a game room, outdoor recreational space and a bagel shop. The building also features academic learning areas, a study and lounge area, three classrooms, a computer lab, media room and three faculty offices. The $7.8 million recreation center addition will have approximately 16,900 square feet, which will bring the total square footage to 88,900 square feet. There will be more space for cardio and strength-training equipment, treadmills, elliptical trainers, free weights, weight machines and more. There will also be renovations to some other areas.  


University of South Florida to get new downtown medical school

The University of South Florida's medical school will soon be replaced by a new 12-story facility in downtown Tampa. The university's Board of Governors has agreed to allocate up to $57 million for the replacement school. The medical school and heart institute will be in a spot now occupied by a parking lot near Amalie Arena. "Location, location, location" has been said by many to be the reason some would-be students turn away from entering the USF Morsani College of Medicine. The current facility is located more than 25 minutes from its teaching hospital and is the only top-100 medical school to hold that unwanted distinction. Officials are expecting the new medical school to attract high-tech, high-paying jobs to the area, which will be a boon for the economy.


Master Plan for Rutgers University presented to Board of Governors

Robert Barchi The Board of Governors of Rutgers University was recently presented with a proposed master plan for the university. Rutgers President Dr. Robert Barchi (pictured) said the university is likely to seek private-sector partners to bring private capital into the mix to help fund the proposals. Barchi quickly pointed out that the master plan is not a vision; it is indeed a plan. "It's one thing to create a vision," he said. "I'm all for a vision, but that's not what this is. This is a plan. It's something we intend to accomplish." The renovations are expected to be highlighted by bridges and numerous buildings. One of the projects proposed is a boardwalk along the Raritan River. Other projects include construction of a new dining hall and student center. The old Brower Commons and Rutgers Student Center would be demolished. Additionally, a foot bridge would be installed to link New Brunswick and Piscataway campuses. Plans also include building a high-tech research park on the Livingston and Busch campuses and building a faculty housing village on Cook campus in New Brunswick.  


Facilities committee adds $15 million to University of Minnesota project

An additional $15 million for design services for the 340,000-square-foot Athletes Village complex at the University of Minnesota has been approved by the university's Board of Regents. The project, valued at $150 million, will create 273,000 square feet of practice facilities and a 67,000-square-foot hub for student-athlete services. The additional funding will defray the expenses for schematic design work. Because a significant portion of the project focuses on private funding, officials are being careful not to go past a point where current available revenue runs out, but not behind the curve on scheduling so that when the funding is available, the project will be ready to move forward. So far, $70 million has been raised toward the goal, and no tax dollars or tuition funds will be used toward the project. The funds will benefit the four-building Athletes Village complex as well as future golf, baseball, wrestling and women's gymnastics projects and upgrades to the training facility. The $150 million price tag includes $125.35 million for construction and $24.65 million in non-construction costs. Officials hope to break ground this summer.


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More than $33M in transportation projects planned for Jamestown

Katie Andersen Five priority projects are part of the Land Use and Transportation Plan being formulated for the city of Jamestown, North Dakota. The five top priority transportation projects include a road connecting Jamestown Regional Medical Center to U.S. Highway 281, an additional overpass over the BNSF main line tracks, downtown street improvements, a bridge replacement over the James River and upgrades to 3rd Street Southeast. The study, which is a long-term document, estimates transportation expansion needs at $98 million through 2040. An additional $40 million will be added for maintenance costs. Revenue is currently being generated for transportation through a half percent sales tax, fees and state department of transportation payments. Those sources are expected to generate $58 million over the next 25 years. Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen (pictured) said any growth in sales tax could be used for transportation. The North Dakota Department of Transportation has already scheduled projects in Jamestown through 2018. They include upgrades, reconstruction of roadways, safety improvements and resurfacing. The top priority is the $4 million project to connect Jamestown Regional Medical Center to U.S. Highway 281. The number two priority is creating a second grade crossing over the BNSF railroad tracks. Third on the priority list includes upgrades to First Avenue and the downtown area to slow traffic and make the area a destination spot. Ranking fourth is replacing the 4th Avenue Northwest bridge. And, the fifth priority is an estimated $1.5 million project for upgrades to 34th Street Southeast to reduce the number of lanes and add bicycle paths.  


Fort Lauderdale looks into collaboration for possible building replacements

Fresh off studying the use of a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) to build a federal courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale, city officials are now wondering if a P3/PPP might also be the right choice for building a replacement police station or city hall. But, there are some roadblocks. A lease-back partnership would fit the city hall project because the police station's specialized spaces are hard to convert to other uses. City officials are seeing that considering a bond issue for the police station might be the best route for that project, and a public-private partnership for the new city hall. In previous conversations, the price tag for a new police station was estimated at about $90 million.  


Broadband network being sought in West Virginia to benefit rural areas

Chris Walters Rural communities in West Virginia are hoping for passage of a bill that would expand affordable high-speed Internet to their areas. A Senate committee recently approved legislation that would build a $78 million rural broadband network. The bill would authorize the construction of a state-owned, 2,600-mile fiber network that would be available to Internet providers. The companies would have to bear the expense of connecting their lines to homes of consumers. Sen. Chris Walters (pictured), who is the main bill sponsor, explained that the concept is that the state would build an interstate that any company can use and the Internet provider would then provide the service to homes. Some compared the high-speed network as like any other infrastructure, such as water, sewer and roads. The state provides the infrastructure and it is used by businesses to deliver their service.  


Transportation plan will outline projects for city in Wisconsin

Tim Kabat Improving traffic flow between I-90 and downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin, is the main goal of the city's deliberations to produce a regional transportation plan. Two new studies are being used as a foundation for the plan. The local study will meld with a Department of Transportation study that will begin in March. Calling the plan a "once in a generation opportunity" to prepare for future transportation needs, Mayor Tim Kabat (pictured) said the transportation network and system will be key for future neighborhoods. A previous election that would have resulted in North-South corridor failed. The studies being conducted are expected to weed out problems that could occur before anything is set in stone or put before voters again. The Department of Transportation study will use the Planning and Environmental Linkages at its foundation. This process identifies needs and then provides the strategy that could be studied in detail. The study, expected to cost between $1 million and $2 million, is out for bids. 


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San Francisco switches to private public housing management to attract investors

Julian Castro Management of numerous San Francisco public housing units will be switched to private property managers in a public-private collaboration announced recently by U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro (left) and San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee (right).

A $500 million project to upgrade and rehabilitate San Francisco public housing units as part of the HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program will facilitate the new look of the California city's housing units over a three-year period. 

Castro and Lee announced the funding at a recent press conference. Castro said by transferring management Edwin Lee duties to a private-sector firm, private capital can be leveraged for the project. The HUD Secretary also noted that this effort is in response to the federal government's failure to keep up with the nation's public housing needs. 

The switch to private-sector management resulted in transfer of many housing units nationwide from public housing programs to a Section 8 program. The transfer is necessary because continued declines in revenues at both the state and local levels of government have not allowed for ensuring public housing units are safe and provide basic needs. Castro said the tightness of budgets also has prevented much-needed new public housing from being funded. 

The transfer will likely attract private developers that can take advantage of tax breaks, subsidies and other incentives through the RAD program.

The $500 million headed to San Francisco from the program will allow the city to upgrade and rehabilitate more than 4,500 public housing units for 5,400 low-income residents, according to the Mayor's Office of Housing. An evaluation of the RAD program shows that as of September of last year, public housing officials have sought authority to transfer management of more than 180,000 of their facilities. That alone would likely generate more than $6 billion in new investment nationwide.

Lee indicated the needs of San Francisco public housing are crucial to safety - from non-working elevators to heat during the winter to working fire alarms. The funding will create procurement opportunities for private-sector firms for many different projects, from renovation to retrofit services. 


Groundbreaking held on P3 that will rebuild Interstate 4 in Florida

A groundbreaking was held recently for a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) project in Florida - the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project. This collaborative effort will rebuild Interstate 4 through metro-Orlando.
Among the provisions of the project are: rebuilding 21 miles of the interstate from Kirkman Road in Orange County to just east of State Road 434 in Seminole County, reconstructing the existing roadway, reconfiguring 15 major interchanges, adding two new tolled Express Lanes in each direction and replacing more than 140 bridges.

"Transportation projects like this will encourage people and businesses from around the world to move to our state and keep us on a path to become the global leader in job creation," said Gov. Rick Scott. 

By using a public-private partnership for the project, it is expected to be completed 20 years sooner than had it been a traditional method. With a P3/PPP, the team chosen for the contract will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the project. In addition to much-needed improvements to the interstate, it is likely to mean jobs for up to 2,000 workers. Local businesses will also benefit such as construction material suppliers and manufacturers. The project is expected to be completed in 2021.


Dallas putting public money into downtown building's makeover

Mayflower Building A Dallas City Council committee has approved a $10 million investment in the makeover of the Mayflower Building in downtown Dallas that has been vacant for 10 years. New Orleans-based Historic Restoration Inc. will put more than $56.1 million into the transformation (as seen in accompanying artist's rendering). 


The result will be 215 residential units in the building, with 43 of them designated as "affordable" housing. The building will also feature more than 13,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and more than 200 residential parking spots on the second and third floor. 


Karl Zavitkovsky, head of Dallas' Office of Economic Development said the firm involved in the makeover has been successful in numerous reuse projects nationwide. "They're first class," he said. The $10 million in city funds will come from the Downtown Connection Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and will be used for demolition and abatement, historic facade restoration, streetscape and utilities. 


The company will receive $1 million in an affordable housing TIF grant because the project includes 37 one-bedroom apartments and six two-bedroom units at affordable-housing rates. The one-bedroom units will feature about 600 square feet and the two-bedroom units have 988 square feet. Rents will range from $892 per month to $1,058 per month.  


City hall will become police station thanks to public-private collaboration

The old city hall in Wahpeton, Minnesota, will likely soon become a new police station. Plans are being developed for such a transformation. The project would be funded by a public-private partnership (P3/PPP). The new police station would cost about $2 million, with funding through a capital lease agreement. The Wahpeton City Council recently held a public meeting to discuss the P3/PPP and how it would work, allowing the public to offer comments and ask questions.


Additional high-speed, fiber-optic Internet access explored in Bangor, Maine

Joe Baldacci With a goal of boosting city revenue and making local businesses more competitive, the Bangor, Maine, City Council is exploring bringing increased access to high-speed, fiber-optic Internet to the city. City Councilor Joe Baldacci (pictured) said the goal at hand is to convince the city council's Business and Economic Development Committee to form an e-commerce task force to develop a master plan to bring fiber to the entire city.

Baldacci said the issue has become one of "economic competitiveness," since other towns are doing the same. While there is fiber access in Bangor, it is often limited to large commercial zones, leaving out areas on the outer edges of town and densely populated residential areas. Baldacci said fiber-optic infrastructure is critical to helping local businesses complete and will be important in attracting technology-based businesses. The councilman said state funds are available to pay for creating a master plan, but a public-private partnership will be necessary to help pay for long-term infrastructure improvements. That collaboration would include federal, state, local and private resources for the project. 


Who's winning government contracts?


Check out these recent awards:

  • Jingoli & Son Inc. has won a contract not to exceed $506,717 from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to oversee renovations to the county courthouse, its rotunda, administration center and domestic office in Doylestown. The work was approved as a contract extension, piggybacking off an earlier agreement.
  • Shirley Contracting Co. won a nearly $85 million contract from the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board for phase one of Interstate 64 widening, from Jefferson Avenue to Yorktown Road.
  • E.R. Snell won a $1,869,266 contract from the Coweta County (Georgia)  Board of Commissioners for the roundabout and road alignment at the "five points" intersection of Martin Luther King Drive, Turkey Creek Road, Poplar Road and East Newnan Road.
  • Beaumont Construction Company Goss Building Inc. won a contract for $73,550 from Jefferson County (Texas) to restore a water feature at the Jefferson County Sub-courthouse in Port Arthur. The work includes restoring the existing water pond with a natural filtration system, or water bog.
  • T & G Construction Inc. was awarded a $1 million contract by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for road treatment in Stephens County that includes resurfacing of six miles of state Highway 29.
  • Symmes Maini & McKee Associates won a $238,243 contract from the Warwick (Rhode Island) School Committee to study the district and recommend a long-term master educational and facilities plan.
  • Fabick CAT won a contract worth $8,226 from the Phelps County (Missouri) commissioners for the purchase of grader blades.
  • Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers Inc. was awarded a $200,000 contract by the North Wilkesboro (North Carolina) commissioners for the Yadkin Valley Marketplace and Memorial Park storm water project.
  • Doran Engineering was awarded a $3,000 contract by Atlantic County (New Jersey) to repair steps at the Atlantic County Library  System Brigantine branch that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
  • Finfrock Construction won a contract not to exceed $99,000 from the Miami County (Ohio) commissioners for the Upper Valley Medical Center water line project. This project will construct a new water line loop and is required to ensure continuous water service at UVMC during construction on the Eldean Road CSX overpass.
  • The Ruhlin Company won a $26,969,381 contract from the Lake County (Ohio) commissioners to replace the Vrooman Road bridge with a new high-level bridge to span the Grand River Valley. 
Collaboration Nation

Where are they now?

 Are you a government official who has moved into a new position or to a new agency? Did you recently retire? Were you recently named to an executive-level position at a state-supported college, university or community college? Have you secured a new job as superintendent of a public school? If so, we'd like to hear from you - and so would your friends and colleagues - for our "Where Are They Now" column. Just drop us a line at and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Kate Brown. 


Kate Brown Kate Brown (pictured), who was the sitting Oregon Secretary of State, has been sworn in as the state's new governor. Brown succeeds former Gov. John Kitzhber, who stepped down after being involved in an alleged influence-peddling scandal. Because the state does not  have a lieutenant governor, the secretary of state is next in line for the governor's title when the governor can no longer serve. Brown was elected Secretary of State in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. She was sworn in as Oregon's 38th governor on Feb. 18. The new governor was appointed to the State House of Representatives in 1991. She was elected to two additional terms in the House and then elected a member of the Oregon Senate, serving as Senate Democratic leader in 1998. In 2004, Brown became the first woman elected to serve as Senate Majority Leader. In addition to her public-sector career, the governor has been part of the private sector as well. She practiced family and juvenile law and taught at Portland State University. Brown holds a bachelor's degree in environmental conservation with a certificate in women's studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.


Opportunity of the week...

A California city is looking for a way to build a hotel and conference center. City officials are looking at options that include a public-private partnership or building the facilities themselves and then looking for a buyer. Want to know more? Contact our Sales Team at 512-531-3900 or


Ronald Lewis Sabrina Landreth Thatacher Kezer Army Maj. Gen. Ronald F. Lewis (top left), a commander and helicopter pilot who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been chosen by new Defense Secretary Ash Carter to be his senior military assistant, after having served in the same post in Carter's other Pentagon leadership jobs. Emeryville City Administrator Sabrina Landreth (top center), a former city budget director and deputy city manager for previous Mayor Jean Quan, has been chosen by current Mayor Libby Schaaf as Oakland, California, city administrator. Former Amesbury, Massachusetts, Mayor Thatcher Kezer (top right) has been named by MassDevelopment as senior vice president of the village of Devens and will oversee the former U.S. Army base's departments of public safety, fire, police, public works, utilities and recreation at the now-mixed-use community. D.J. Patil, who helped coin the term data scientist," has been chosen by the White House as chief data scientist and deputy chief technology for the federal government. Dr. Robert Garza, current vice president for student success at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, has been named by the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) board of trustees as the next president of DCCCD's Mountain View College, following the retirement of former president Felix Zamora last year. The California Department of Human Resources has promoted Chad Crowe to chief information officer, where he will oversee the ongoing overhaul of the state's job-application portal and all of the IT efforts to streamline the state's personnel system. Two high-level employees of The University of Texas at Austin are stepping down, including Vice Kevin Hegarty Tom Gilligan Joseph Clancy President and Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hegarty (bottom right), who is headed to the University of Michigan as executive vice president and CFO, and Tom Gilligan (bottom center), current dean of the McCombs School of Business, who is leaving to become director of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University in California. President Barack Obama has chosen the former chief of his personal security detail and then security director for Comcast in Philadelphia, Joseph Clancy (bottom left), to lead the U.S. Secret Service only three months after he retired as Obama's detail leader. The principal of Rootstown High School in Northeast Ohio, Michael Ferguson, has been named to succeed outgoing Genoa Schools Superintendent Dennis Mock. Having been both an elected and appointed government executive, John Russo, Alameda city manager for four years and then a five-year member of the Oakland City County followed by 11 years as an elected city attorney, has been named Riverside's new city manager. The Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees has selected SAU's provost and vice president of academic affairs, Trey Berry, as the university's next president, who will succeed former System President David Rankin, who retired last June.

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National League of Cities to host Congressional City Conference in March
The National League of Cities will host its annual Congressional City Conference on March 7-11 in Washington, D.C. More than 1,000 officials from cities and towns in the United States will attend and share their views with the Administration and members of Congress. The event will draw city managers, elected officials, intergovernmental affairs staff, chief financial officers, senior policy officials and others. Attendees will hear directly from policy makers and thought leaders on the issues that matter to city officials. They will examine federal policies that affect cities, the latest funding opportunities and emerging trends. Information will be relayed regarding infrastructure, public safety, community resilience and federal regulations. The daily schedule is now available and registration is open.

NASCIO 2015 Midyear Conference slated April 26-29

The National Association of State Chief Information officers (NASCIO) has set its 2015 Midyear Conference for April 26-29 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia.  Visit the 2015 Midyear Conference webpage for up-to-date information on the conference agenda and speaker lineup. Registration is currently open. Register by March 13 for early bird registration rates. Corporate sponsorships are open now. "Are You Ready? Disruptive change is the new norm" is the focus of the conference. 

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