Government Contracting Pipeline
Volume 6, Issue 46March 11, 2015
Astronomical weather costs - all too common
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.


Historic weather conditions are resulting in astronomical costs to taxpayers. Public officials try hard to plan, predict and handle disasters efficiently, but that's an impossible task. No disaster is the same, there are no patterns and when one occurs, people need immediate relief.


There's reason to wonder if government can ever be equipped to ensure continuity and safety during weather such as the country has experienced in recent years. Snowstorms, hurricanes and droughts have created almost insurmountable problems and the burden for efficient and adequate emergency management has fallen squarely on the backs of public officials who never have adequate resources.




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Kentucky's proposed P3 legislation may be dead again


Fear of tolls being used on Brent Spence Bridge project stalls bill in Senate

Robert Stivers The fate of a proposed bill that would allow the state of Kentucky to partner with private-sector developers on transportation projects is facing an uncertain future. As a result, the Brent Spence Bridge project over the Ohio River is facing that same uncertainty.

Last month, lawmakers in the Kentucky House approved a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) bill that would allow the state to collaborate on public projects such as infrastructure, transportation and others. A similar bill passed in Kentucky in the 2014 legislative session, but succumbed to the governor's veto knife.

And, just as in 2014, the speed bump in the process is the issue of tolls. The 2014 bill had an amendment that would have prohibited tolls for the Brent Spence Bridge project. This time, the sticking point again Steve Beshears appears to be tolling - as some senators feel the bill does not provide protection from tolling as part of the $2.5 billion bridge project. 

The project would build a new bridge linking northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Some state officials were hoping for an alternative funding source and were relying on the P3/PPP legislation to ensure that vehicle for funding the project. 

The bill was referred to a Senate committee, but with only a few days left in the legislative session, the odds of the bill passing are slim. 

Senate President Robert Stivers (left) said no bill is dead until the last minute of the session. But, he admitted, "It would have a rough road to hoe in the last four days."

Gov. Steve Beshears (right) has said the debate on the bill should not be about approving tolls. It is, instead, about making funds available for transportation projects that, because of government revenue constraints, would be put on the back burner. "There's still plenty of time for things to happen and to develop," said the governor. "So we're going to keep working on it." At risk is the possibility of delays on the bridge project, and delays mean costs that escalate rapidly. 


Washington State Senate OK's $15B for transportation


Some opposition to transfer of money from general fund noted in House

Gas Pump A $15 billion package of transportation projects was recently passed by the Washington State Senate, along with revenue sources to pay for them. Key in that revenue boost is an incremental gas tax increase of 11.7 cents over the next three years. The increase makes Washington's gas tax rate the second highest in the country.


The bill is now headed to the House for debate. There is already some opposition on that s

Steve Hobbs

ide of the aisle as some members are opposed to the transfer of funding from the general fund to pay for transportation projects.


"Even though there are issues with it that we might all have, this is a process," said Sen. Steve Hobbs (pictured). "In the end, I think we will have something that is very good for the state of Washington."


Among the projects approved for funding are $862 million to complete the North-South Freeway in Spokane and $26.5 million for the I-90/Henry Road Interchange. Money also is allocated for transit and local rail projects, bike paths and pedestrian walkways. It also would allow Sound Transit to seek voter approval to expand its rail line.


The gas tax increase - a 16-year plan - would increase 5 cents this summer, with a 4.2-cent increase the following year and a final 2.5-cent increase the following year.


May 2015 Texas Bond Results

Upcoming education opportunities


Tulsa school district passes $415 million bond for new schools, other items

The Tulsa Public Schools will see new construction soon after district voters recently passed a $415 million school bond issue. Voters said yes to four different propositions in the bond vote. As a result, the district will see new schools and libraries. And, part of the funding will go toward transportation needs, textbooks, classroom materials and upgraded technology. School additions that will double as storm shelters will cost about $72 million of the bond funding. Plans also are to establish a science, technology, engineering and mathematics center. Three schools will get new libraries and several new multi-purpose field houses and football stadiums will be built. 


Multi-million-dollar research building approved for University of Kentucky 

Alice Forgy Kerr Legislation was passed in Kentucky recently that authorized the issuance of $132.5 million in bonds to build a new research building at the University of Kentucky. According to Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr (pictured), UK would pay for the other half of the $265 million building.  Teams of scientists from multiple disciplines would collaborate on reducing preventable deaths from medical issues that afflict Kentucky residents, disorders such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Because the life expectancy of Kentucky residents is lower than that of citizens in other states, Kerr noted, "We know that is unacceptable. We have to do something. UK is uniquely positioned to tackle these problems with this major academic medical center." In addition to its work to prevent death by diseases in Kentucky, the new building also will create more than 1,600 jobs. The economic impact of the facility is estimated at $116.2 million per year, with a state and local tax impact of $5.6 million.  


Steam power producing plant considered for University of Iowa campus

A steam production plant is being considered for the west side of the University of Iowa campus. The Iowa Board of Regents has been asked to approve the beginning of planning for the plant, which carries a price tag of $75 million. Although construction of the plant will only take two years, it will be four years before it is operational. The plant, which would be located adjacent to the current backup power facility, would be fueled by natural gas, but could also use biofuels. University officials say the plant would not only be a more efficient and effective way to cut costs, but it also has options for fuel sources in case one such source were to go up significantly in price. The plant initially is expected to deliver 150,000 pounds of steam per hour, with the capability to double that amount.  


UWSP campus to move forward again on construction of new science building

Greg Diemer A project that was approved for funding two years ago for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is again moving forward. Funding for a new chemistry and biology building was approved by the State Building Commission, and the state legislature even approved $75 million in capital funding as part of the 2013-15 biennial budget. Despite some budget cuts, the capital budget is separate from the base budget. UWSP Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Greg Diemer (pictured) said any cuts to the 2015-17 biennial budget are not affected by the capital budget and thus not going forward with the science building will not reduce the biennial budget. "We can spend the money on constructing the new science building to support related programs, or the dollars revert to the capital budget for other state construction priorities elsewhere," said Diemer. But the funds cannot be directed to the UW System or spent on other UWSP projects, programs or salaries, he said. The current science building was built more than two decades ago. The new 176,500-square-foot facility will include educational labs, lecture halls and research facilities for biology and chemistry. 


SPI Training Services

Other upcoming contracting opportunities

$2.5 million replacement laboratory to be built in Nassau County

Hoping for a reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Nassau County, New Jersey, is planning to build a new 5,300-square-foot, $2.5 million laboratory. The lab will replace a county building destroyed by Superstorm Sandy. The laboratory will be used for testing of the strength of asphalt, steel and other materials used in county buildings. It will be located at the Mitchel Field complex in Garden City. Officials announced last August the proposed location for the facility, but plans to put the lab in Eisenhower Park were met with opposition as they said the park is not a proper site for the lab because it is not a park facility. A firm to construct the building will be chosen in a few weeks. Construction is expected to start in May and be completed within a year. 


County in South Carolina seeks bids on personal rapid transit system

Fred Payne A request for bids has been issued by Greenville County in South Carolina for construction of a personal rapid transit system. The system would feature podcars that would operate on an elevated line. Greenville officials would expect the system to run for 20 miles to connect high-traffic locations in Greenville. Already, four companies have indicated they plan to offer proposals to design, build and finance the system. Such a system (there are only five in the world) would cost more than $50 million just for a 4.2-mile section of the line. According to Councilman Fred Payne (pictured), the system would likely feature driverless electric pods that seat either four or six people. Plans would be to connect downtown Greenville, the county hospital systems, Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and major manufacturing sites. It would be only the second such system in the United States. Payne said the system would be popular, "The podcars are more personal and private," Payne said. "They're on demand. They're on my schedule. They are driverless and they are direct, from my origin to my destination." He said he expects the system to be built in Greenville in the next two to four years. Bids are due May 1. 

Wisconsin County facing tough choices on bringing jail up to standards

The Portage County (Wisconsin) Jail does not meet state standards. County officials are now facing either $14 million to bring the jail up to standards, or spend even more to create a new and larger jail. A recent study noted that because of overcrowding at the jail, the county is paying about $500,000 per year to transport and house inmates in Waupaca County. The company that conducted the survey notes the county has a few options. It can add to the County Annex building to include a new jail and courthouse at a cost of about $85 million. Or it could build a new county office building at another site to include a new jail, with a cost of about $82 million. Or the jail can stay where it is and undergo about $14 million for building repairs, $10 million of which would be necessary to bring the jail up to codes. The County Board hopes to choose one of the three options and then bid out the project - if the option is a new facility - by summer 2016.

Illinois city considers helping pay for additional senior housing feasibility study

Patti Smith The Marseilles (Illinois) City Council will study a developer request to fund a feasibility study for new senior housing in the city. The development company is asking the city to fund half of the cost. That would mean the city would pony up $1,500 as its portion of the study, which would conduct a market analysis to see if such a development would be feasible by studying area demographics and other issues. The developer said such a study could be completed in two weeks. The analysis would offer information on how big a project would be needed. Mayor Patti Smith (pictured) said the cost of the survey would be a good investment, as part of the city's comprehensive plan calls for additional senior housing. She said it would be good for the city, for new jobs and for senior citizens in the city. The developer said if the survey is conducted, upon completion, his firm would draft a development plan with funding proposals to get the project started. 


Research Analysts - Solutions

Who's winning government contracts?


Check out these recent awards: 

  • Larson Construction was awarded a $682,000 contract from the Area Education Agency 267 to remodel the agency's conference center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
  • D.E. Rice Construction won a $4 million contract from the city of Amarillo, Texas, to reconstruct Martin Road Lake, including removing more than 400,000 cubic tons of dirt to make the lake deeper.
  • Peterson Construction Company was awarded a $15.783 million contract from the Covington, Ohio, Board of Education for construction of a new PK-8 building. 
  • Intercounty Paving Associates LLC won a $6.32 million contract from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission for rehabilitation of the Portland-Columbia Toll Bridge that links Northampton and Warren counties in New Jersey.
  • Knutson Construction was chosen for a $71.6 million contract from the city of Rochester, Minnesota, for expansion of the Mayo Civic Center, including nearly doubling the size of the center's meeting and even facilities and construction of a new 38,000-square-foot ballroom and a 25,000-square-foot arena. 
  • Harper Brothers Construction was awarded a $2.5 million contract from the city of Sugar Land, Texas, to begin construction work in the Sugar Creek Phase II Drainage Improvements project.
  • Wickberg Marine Contracting, Inc. was awarded a $2.7 million contract by the Ocean City, New Jersey, City Council for removal of material from Site 83 near the 34th Street bridge, making room for an upcoming bay and lagoon dredging project. The base bid was $1.2 million. 
  • LeCroy Technology won a $262,128 contract from the Newton County, Georgia, School System to provide Clear Touch panels to be used in NCSS classrooms as an alternative to lightbulb-powered projectors. 
  • Overland Corporation won a $9.5 million contract from the Oklahoma Transportation Commission to build a new weigh and inspection station on I-35 just north of the Texas border. 
  • NORWESCAP won a $337,863 contract from the state of New Jersey to provide households in the state with weather-proofing services. The services are available to qualified residents of Warren, Hunterdon and Sussex counties.
Contracting Opportunities

News about public-private partnerships (P3)


Colorado State enters into P3/PPP agreement for digital badge platform

A digital badge platform that is the result of a public-private partnership with RelevanceLogic Inc. is now in place on the Colorado State University campus. CSULogic is a new approach to competency-based education that offers cost efficiencies and learner-centric education approaches. Thanks to the program, students can master a specific skill without having to complete a full degree or certificate program. It provides short online courses to help students meet their goals and to showcase their competencies to both educators and employers. More than 130 such badges have been awarded since the program was launched in 2014. At that time, CSU was the first university in the state to offer digital badges. The university currently has two digital badge programs in place, but is planning to increase that number significantly in the coming year. 


Town in New York considers partnering on use of solar panels

Rick Davis The city of Tonawanda, New York, is considering partnering with a private developer to install solar panels on government buildings. City officials anticipate that installing the panels on buildings and at the former landfill could save the city up to $35,000 per year. Mayor Rick Davis (pictured) said the solar panels will lower the city's cost of electricity through its own production of energy. "The more energy it produces the less money we have to pay out every year in utility costs to heat and light all the city buildings," he said.


Panels would be installed by the developer at the city's Department of Public Works, the fire department, city hall and the recreation center. They also would be installed at the former landfill site, which has been capped and abandoned. The mayor said the landfill is not ever going to be used again, so it is a prime property for utilization of solar power panels to develop energy. The developer, Montante, will pay the $1.5 million up-front costs and be responsible for maintenance. The agreement would likely be for20-30 years. With a power purchase agreement in place, Montante will recoup its investment over the term of the agreement.  


Partnership will advance street master plan for Indiana city

In West Lafayette, Indiana, city council members recently passed ordinances that will allow city planners to partner with Purdue University to share costs for the proposed State Street Master Plan. Both entities would pay half each of the projected cost of between $60 million and $85 million. The city will initially face up-front costs of between $350,000 and $500,000 for studies to see if a P3/PPP is the best route for getting the project completed.  Included in the studies will be surveys, engineering reports and market research. 


If the P3/PPP route is not feasible, the project will return to a design-build route. The master plan includes the redesign of State Street from the Wabash River to U.S. 231. It will include two roundabouts, one at Tapawingo Drive and one at South River Road. Sidewalks will be widened in the Chauncey Village and green space will be added for the length of the street. Officials next will write a request for proposals and plan to return their submissions to the council within one or two months. If the P3/PPP method is chosen, officials expect to pick a vendor by the end of the year and break ground in 2016. 


Partnership bringing FedEx Ground Package System hub to city in Florida

Kent Guinn A public-private partnership (P3/PPP) that includes FedEx, Marion County and the city of Ocala, Florida, has resulted in the construction of a new 400,000-square-foot FedEx Ground Package System hub facility in Ocala. It will be one of the largest in the FedEx network and will have a significant impact on the local economy, according to Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn (pictured). Government's role in the partnership was to provide necessary infrastructure.


The facility is expected to employ 350 full-time and part-time jobs. The FedEx employees at the current Oscala facility will be allowed to stay on with the company in the new facility. And, the new hub could eventually expand even more, depending on growth in the area. 

Consortium picked by TxDOT for public-private toll project in Houston

The Blueridge Transportation Group has been chosen by the Texas Department of Transportation to build toll lanes in Houston along Texas Highway 288. This initial step will lead to the development of a $2.1 billion partnership over more than 50 years. The agreement marks the first comprehensive public-private partnership in the Houston area. The Blueridge Transportation Group is a consortium of private-sector firms that includes ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc., InfraRed Capital Partners Limited and Shikun & Binui Ltd. The project includes 10.3 miles of highway between Pearland and the Texas Medical Center. The consortium will design, build and maintain the road. The state will be responsible for the cost of some development and will allow use of state-owned right-of-way. The two partners will share revenue from tolls. Blueridge will be required to make a $27.6 million, up-front payment to the state. 


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 Tommy Chang.

Tommy Chang Tommy Chang (pictured), an instructional superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District, has been named the next superintendent of Boston Public Schools. He beat out three other finalists for the job and will replace John McDonough, the district's chief financial officer who has been serving as interim superintendent since former superintendent Carole Johnson left in August 2013. Chang has been in his position with the Los Angeles district since 2012, overseeing 135 schools and about 95,000 students. He was also an assistant to the superintendent from April 2011 to June 2012. From March 2010 to April 2011, Chang was LA Regional Director for Advocacy and Policy with the California Charter Schools Association. The longtime educator was principal at Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school, from April 2004 to March 2010. He began his teaching career teaching biology at Compton High School, part of Compton Unified Schools, from 1997 to 2003. Chang was born in Taiwan and came to the United States when he was six years old. He holds a bachelor's degree in religious studies and biology from the University of Pennsylvania, two master's degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles and a doctorate from Loyola Marymount University.  


Opportunity of the week...

A public school system in Michigan recently passed a $39.1 million bond election that will result in improvements at each of the district's nine schools. The largest portion of the bond funds, some 35 percent, will go toward updated energy measures. Technology spending will total 31 percent of the bond proceeds. Some of the projects on tap include security upgrades, facility additions, athletics enhancements, boiler upgrades, mechanical upgrades to HVAC systems, new parking lot lighting, new roofs, network cabling and hardware infrastructure and more. Want to know more? Contact our Sales Team at 512-531-3900 or


Keith Hall Eli Jones Stephen Mylett Keith Hall (top left), an economist with a long record of government service and policy analysis and former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has been chosen to head the Congressional Budget Office. Eli Jones (top center), dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville since 2012, has been chosen as a finalist for the same position at Texas A&M University. Southlake, Texas, Police Chief Stephen Mylett (top right) has been named the new police chief in Bellevue, Washington, where in early April, he will replace Linda Pillo, who retired almost a year ago. Timothy Gleason, who has served as city administrator in Washington, Illinois, since 2012, has been chosen as the new city administrator for the city of Decatur, Illinois, effective March 23. The U.S. Department of Energy has chosen Michael Johnson, assistant director for intelligence programs at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, as its new chief information officer, replacing interim CIO Don Adcock, who has been filling in since CIO Bob Brese left the post for a private-sector job. Jeff Eakins, a longtime Hillsborough, Florida, County School District employee and current deputy superintendent, has been chosen as the new school superintendent, and will replace Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, who was terminated from that post in January. A high school principal in the Jal, New Mexico, Brian Snider Michael Jordan Colleen Kelley School District - Brian Snider (bottom right) - has been chosen as the new superintendent of the district. Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Director Michael Jordan (bottom center) has resigned his post, with Gov. Kate Brown naming Chief Financial Officer George Naughton as acting head of DAS. Colleen Kelley (bottom left), a former Internal Revenue Service agent who was elected in 1999 to lead the National Treasury Employees Union, has announced she will retire from that position in August. The Bourne, Massachusetts, Board of Selectmen has chosen Lt. Norman W. Sylvester, Jr., a fire prevention officer with the Hyannis Fire Department, to be the new chief of the Bourne Fire Department. Paul Drayton Jr., who has served as Burlington County, New Jersey, administrator since 2010, has been appointed the new president of the Burlington County College, succeeding David Hespe, who resigned last March. Rick Fuentes, New Jersey State Police Superintendent, has been named by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske to the Homeland Security Advisory Council's CBP Integrity Advisory Panel to benchmark CBP's progress in response to the agency's use of force reviews.


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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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