|Volume 6, Issue 49||April 1, 2015|
Network security - frightening problem for government
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
How many times have you checked your phone for messages today? How many e-mails have you read in the last few hours? These are common occurrences - the norm for most of us. We are almost totally dependent on the technology that keeps us connected.
We may worry about many things...but, the security of our personal devices is not high on our list of concerns. Well, perhaps it is if the media has just reported on the breach of a retail or banking network system that we frequent.
Our concern about Internet security could change soon. Taxpayers are beginning to realize that public networks, if hacked, cause dangerous chaos and/or significant financial pain.
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|USDOT proposes six-year, $478 billion transportation bill|
Secretary Foxx says legislation will provide long-term solutions to funding woes
An increase of 70 million to the nation's population over the next three decades will add even more stress to the nation's surface transportation system.
A proposed six-year, $478 billion transportation bill - the GROW AMERICA act - was delivered to Congress by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (pictured) this week with the expectation that the bill will provide for the nation's growing transportation needs.
And, with the long-term bill comes the certainty of funding for state and local governments that have in recent years put off many much-needed transportation projects.
Congress has approved so many short-term, stop-gap measures - 32 over the last six years - that government officials were reluctant to begin construction work because there was no guarantee of the federal funding necessary to complete many of their proposed projects.
The bill would increase highway spending by 29 percent over the six-year period to $317 billion and expand mass transit spending 76 percent to $116 billion for light rail, street cars and bus rapid transit. To view how the GROW AMERICA Act will affect each state, click here.
Foxx said that in his travels throughout the country, the resounding complaint regarding transportation is the need to repair and expand the country's surface transportation system. While the needs are great, said the Secretary, federal transportation funding has continued to decrease. "Our proposal provides a level of funding and also funding certainty that our partners need and deserve," he said. The current Highway Trust Fund is expected to go belly-up at the end of May and members of Congress will once again face the choice of another short-term fix or committing to a long-term solution.
Foxx underscored the need for more federal transportation funding by pointing to findings of a U.S. Department of Transportation study that indicates that 65 percent of the roads Americans traverse are in less than good condition, one in four bridges need to be replaced and the repair backlog for public transit totals $86 billion. Additionally, said Foxx, over the next three decades, the country's population will grow by 70 million, putting even more strain on an aging and deteriorating surface transportation system.
Foxx said the Department's proposed bill will increase the nation's investment in all forms of transportation, which will help state and local governments meet future demand. Some of the other proposals in the bill include a commitment to increased safety in all means of transportation; establishing an $18 million freight program to help American businesses to compete in a global economy; improving the permitting process to speed delivery of projects; increasing funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program; and providing more funding for high-performing Metropolitan Planning Organizations.
Foxx called the bill "truly transformative" and one that "brings the country together." He urged governors and state officials and mayors and local officials to voice their support for this bill that "meets both their immediate and long-term needs."
|Miami-Dade becomes hotbed of interest for water P3s/PPPs|
County planning to spend $13.4 billion over next two decades on various projects
With a $13.4 billion public-private partnership (P3/PPP) at stake in Miami-Dade County in Florida, private-sector firms are seeking to get a piece of the action in water and wastewater improvements over the next two decades. It represents the largest P3/PPP opportunity in the nation. Some 40 companies have been mentioned as showing interest.
According to Bluefield Research, the private firms interested in the large number of projects that will be available for contracting run the gamut - from construction firms to infrastructure investors to private utilities. And the firm says most of those contracts will end up being P3s/PPPs.
Nearly half of the $13 billion in water and wastewater projects will be for the more than 85 water reuse projects being planned. Those projects alone total $6.3 billion. With dwindling water supplies in many parts of the nation, government entities are looking to reuse projects - from "toilet to tap" plans to desalination.
Bluefield reports that since 2000, wastewater reuse capacity in Florida has increased by 52 percent. Reports Bluefield, "These installations place the state at the forefront of U.S. wastewater reuse adoption."
There are currently more than 500 existing reuse projects in the state, with the proposed 80-plus proposed projects drawing a lot of interest from the private sector. Bluefield reports there will be "fierce competition" for these projects.
|Other upcoming contracting opportunities|
Water, waste management projects in South Dakota allocated $83 million
In South Dakota, the state Board of Water and Natural Resources has approved more than $83 million that will be dedicated to water and waste management projects. Included in the amount are approximately $14 million in grants and $69 million in low-interest loans. In Sioux Falls, a new 36-inch water main will be installed using some $11 million of the $31 million it was allocated. Another $18 million in funding was approved for sewer improvements. More than $15 million is headed to Brandon for sewer and drinking water upgrades. The funds will be administered by the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.
Competitive procurement process will help Pennsylvania hire bond counsel
Seeking a bond counsel for the state of Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel (OGC) will in the future require a competitive bid process, according to Gov. Tom Wolf (pictured). Wolf cited efforts to make the process more open and transparent and follows an executive order that stipulates that all contracts for legal services or legal consultants for the OGC will use competitive bids. "This process reforms what was an obscure process into one that is efficient, ethical and transparent," said Wolf. The procurement will be a two-step process. A pool of bond counsels will be pre-qualified through a request for qualifications process. Some firms were pre-qualified to perform bond counsel work. Twenty such firms have been granted standard contracts as qualified firms. Officials say this process will ensure high quality and less expensive counsel. Then, when bond counsel is needed, an RFP will be issued. Those in the pre-qualified pool will submit proposals that include their staffing needs, costs and qualification. The winning firm will be submitted for general counsel approval. Costs can then be negotiated. This process will be used in the spring for issue of a general obligation bond. The $1.15 billion bond issuance will pay off previous debt, fund transportation projects and fund capital projects.
University of Connecticut to issue $300M in bonds to expand opportunities
Looking to expand educational opportunities, research and innovation in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, the University of Connecticut is preparing to issue close to $300 million in general obligation bonds. University officials plan to use $160 million from the bond sale for reconstruction of the UConn Health Center in Farmington. That project includes the John Dempsey Hospital. Another $90 million will be used for improvements to the Storrs and regional campuses. UConn Medical will get a new, 11-story patient tower to include an emergency department, surgery suite and inpatient rehab space. Among the campus improvements planned from the bond receipts are a new 115,000-square-foot engineering and science building in Storres, valued at $21 million, dormitory enhancements valued at $20 million and $15 million toward the relocation of UConn's Greater Hartford campus.
Officials in Escambia County in Florida looking to hire architect for jail facility
Getting ready to build a new county jail, Escambia County, Florida, is looking into hiring an architect to move forward on the hiring of a design and construction firm for the project. Plans are to replace the Central Booking Facility. A contract could be extended as early as April 23. The leading firm seeking the contract was one of five companies that were ranked earlier this month. The firm that wins the contract will then work with the county agencies involved to develop specifications for the new jail. Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson (pictured) said the contract winner will help write the scope of the project. He said that right now location and scope are the biggest concerns. Ten potential sites have been named. The new jail and its nearly 1,500 beds already has a cost of $140 million associated with the project.
Tyler authorizes RFQ for design, construction of hotel/conference center
The city of Tyler, Texas, will issue a request for qualifications for design-build firms interested in design and construction of a hotel conference center in the city. The proposed hotel conference center is part of the city's Industry Growth Initiative that puts tourism as key to economic development in the city. The new hotel conference center is expected to attract more large conferences that will bring new money into the region. The plan is to undersize the facility so that it will push some tourists to other hotels in the city. The facility is expected to have more than 200 rooms, with 26,000 square feet of meeting space. The city owns the property for the hotel conference center. The $56 million in costs will include $17 million from the city in hotel occupancy tax funds for the conference center and $39 million coming from private investments for the remaining hotel costs.
Colorado State University sells bonds for construction of new football stadium
A new stadium (as seen in accompanying artist's rendering) on the campus of Colorado State University's main campus at Fort Collins will be built with more than $239 million in financing from investors through the sale of bonds. Officials say $220 million of the total bond proceeds will be used for the actual construction. Groundbreaking is expected this summer, with a completion date in time for the 2017 football season. The CSU System Board of Governors approved the sale of $242 million in bonds over 40 years as a means of paying for the new 36,000-seat football stadium. The state legislature's joint Capital Development Committee had previously approved the financing plan and the Fort Collins City Council agreed to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with CSU for some off-campus infrastructure needed for the new stadium. The stadium is not going to be the only construction project on campus. CSU plans later in the year to issue more bonds - $160 million worth - to build a new medical center, a biology building, parking structure and lot and to relocate the Plant Environmental Research Center.
County in Virginia receives grant for water system expansion
Grant funds totaling $1 million are headed to Buchanan County, Virginia, according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The funds will be used to expand the county water system that has been affected by past mining practices. That expansion will result in water being provided to more than 160 homes in the Hurley community. The grant funds will come from the state's Abandoned Mine Land FY 15 Grant. The governor said the funds will ensure safe, clean drinking water in the affected community. These funds will be used for the sixth phase of the Hurley Regional Water Project. It consists of 13.5 miles of water lines, two pump stations and two tanks. These types of grants previously have been awarded to Buchanan County, totaling $26.8 million and helping provide clean water to 2,197 homes. The grant funds also are positively affecting job creation, which impacts the local economy.
New York school district approves $6.7 million improvement projects
Capital improvement projects will be funded in the Heuvelton (New York) Central School District to the tune of $6.75 million approved recently by voters in the district. Among the projects to be funded are replacement of the bus garage roof and other locations, masonry work and upgrades to the auditorium. The high school and elementary schools will be refurbished and athletic fields will also be upgraded. Other improvements will be to security throughout the district. Nearly 95 percent of the funding for the projects will come from state aid, with the district adding $350,000 from nonappropriated funds. Proceeds from tax funding will make up the difference. The last capital improvements campaign was in 2007 when a $12 million building initiative was passed. This new program is the newest round of improvements in that project.
Moving city hall being considered to provide space for medical office building
The city hall in Citrus Heights, California, could be relocated so that a new medical office building can be constructed on its current site. The project, which has a $53.2 million price tag, was recently approved by the city council. Council members insist that going forward with the project will provide the city with a source of revenue that will help build a new city hall. Additionally, it will bring a non-retail business into the community. Mayor Sue Frost (pictured) said because the city does not have much opportunity for growth, it must consider all options for getting new business into the city. The proposal calls for the demolition of all buildings except the police department on the civic center site. The new $31.2 million, three-story medical office building will be part of a ground lease, with the owner paying $6.9 million over 15 years, with an option to buy after the 15 years. The revenue made would be used to build a new 35,000-square-foot, $22 million city hall.
|Who's winning government contracts?|
Check out these recent awards:
- Crossland Heavy Contractors, Inc. won a $26 million contract from the Tulsa International Airport to expand the airline terminal parking lot at the airport.
- Metra Industries Inc. won two contracts totaling $9.5 million from the city of Little Falls, New Jersey, to fix problems that were found during system upgrades to wireless water meters. The remainder of the funds will be used for administrative costs.
- Data Recognition Corp. and Measurement Inc. together were awarded a three-year, $103.7 million contract by the Michigan Department of Education for student testing for the 2015-16 school year.
- Pro Construction won a $914,200 contract from the Onslow, North Carolina, Board of Education for the first phase of its Dixon Middle School construction. The award includes a base bid of $781,000 to clear land, grade and install exterior footings. If soil-bearing loads meet building requirements, another $133,100 was approved to install interior footings.
- CGI won a four-year, $32.5 million contract from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) to partner on a major initiative to modernize SCC systems, process and reporting to better serve the needs of Virginia businesses.
- Marinex Construction Co. won a contract worth $7.9 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for maintenance dredging at the Port of Morehead City Harbor Channel, to remove about 725,000 cubic yards of material from the channel.
- Student Transportation of America, Inc., a subsidiary of Student Transportation Inc., was awarded a new $3.7 million, seven-year school transportation contract with the Pine-Richland School District in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that serves three elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. The contract has an option for renewal years and includes 100 percent customer-paid fuel.
- Brasfeld & Gorrie won an $83 million contract from Huntsville (Alabama) Utilities to build a new greenfield water treatment plant in Huntsville. It will include a raw water intake structure, 42-inch raw water main pipelines, a conventional settling water treatment plant and a 48-inch finished water main pipeline.
- Dixon Construction won a $1.6 million contract from the Iowa Department of Transportation to replace the eastbound U.S. 20 bridge over the West Fork of the Little Sioux River near Moville, Iowa.
- Lloyd D. Nabors Demolition LLC was awarded a $2.8 million contract by Midland County, Texas, to demolish the former Midland County Courthouse and two city-owned office buildings and remove asbestos.
|News about public-private partnerships (P3)|
Preliminary study sought for toll road in Monterey County
A highway traffic and revenue study for the proposed Highway 156 toll road in Salinas, California, is being sought by Salinas Supervisor John Phillips (pictured). Phillips suggests such a study before a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) initiative is undertaken.
The project, valued at $268 million, would result in construction of a four-lane highway between Highway 1 near Castroville and Highway 101 in Prunedale. Phillips said the study will provide critical information before committing to a P3/PPP. The original P3/PPP concept would have included the county's Transportation Agency, Caltrans and a private-sector partner. The private firm would pay for an investment grade study and environmental review and that firm would be offered first option on financing the highway through operation of the toll road.
"I'm optimistic," said Phillips. "I think we ought to get enough information to make a decision on how to proceed." He also noted that additional state funding sources will be sought. The proposal will be presented next month with an option to continue to seek a P3/PPP, with a private partner not likely to be named until the end of the year. The study is expected to take six months.
Plan calls for making Astrodome in Houston into park, civic space
The "Eighth Wonder of the World," the Houston Astrodome could become a huge indoor park...but, it will cost about $243 million. The Urban Land Institute recently released a report sanctioned by officials in Harris County, preservation groups and local residents. Their goal is to not only save the longtime fixture in Houston, but also to put it to good use for citizens of the area.
The plan is to create an enormous park inside the Astrodome, to include space for exercising and bicycle trails, indoor rock climbing and new underground parking. Green space would occupy most of the outdoor areas. Plans also include the possibility of making space for the Houston Texans football team and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett praised the land institute for recognizing the iconic nature of the historic domed stadium. The land institute recommends that paying for the project should be done through a public-private partnership.
Massachusetts town may use P3/PPP for sports complex project
At an upcoming town meeting, voters in Middleboro, Massachusetts, will decide to fund a feasibility study to locate potential sites for a sports and recreation complex. The study will define up to 10 possible sites for the complex, discuss uses for those sites and then issue a request for proposals (RFP) from interested developers.
The developer chosen for the project would build both the public facilities piece of the project and the revenue-generating piece. There would be discussion regarding whether to have the town operate the public part of the project and a management company would operate the money-making operation. Or, the entire complex could be leased long-term to the management company. Activities that have been mentioned as possibilities for the complex are a golf course, an equestrian facility, multi-use paths and trails and more.
A public-private partnership, which is being considered, could include profit-sharing in lieu of property taxes by the private entity. The partnership could include using public-owned land. Officials say the town will likely make suggestions for components of the project in the RFP and the developer will offer input and then the two will negotiate on the final pieces of the project.
Public-private partnership sought for additional lanes on Massachusetts highway
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) is hoping to add two additional traffic lanes along a 17-mile stretch of Route 3, which is notorious for its traffic congestion. But, the project carries a price tag of close to $800 million, so officials are looking at the possibility of paying for the project through a public-private partnership (P3/PPP).
DOT Chief Financial Officer Dana Levenson (pictured) said under a P3/PPP structuring, the private-sector partner would be responsible for financing the project and recoup its investment from the revenue generated by adding the toll lanes. "Frankly, it's the only way we can afford it," Levenson said.
A couple of options are under consideration for the addition of the lanes. In both scenarios, the original existing lanes would be free for motorist use and the new lanes would require tolls. The need for the new lanes has occurred because in many cases, what used to be a 30-minute drive on the highway has often blossomed into three hours. The roadway is constantly backed up during peak morning and evening hours of travel.
Ohio to sell private activity bonds for constructing highway through Appalachians
The State of Ohio is planning a $230 million sale of tax-exempt private activity bonds for constructing a highway through the Appalachian Mountains. It will be the state's first public-private partnership (P3/PPP). Officials are hopeful for a successful launch that could be the first of many P3/PPPs. The bonds will be issued on behalf of a consortium of private firms that include an equity partner and contractor.
The project will include a four-lane, 16-mile highway with 22 bridges and five interchanges. Economic development in one of the state's poorest areas is a goal of the project. Originally, the state planned a design-bid-build project that would take 13 years to build. Then the state decided to instead use a P3/PPP that is expected to cut the completion time down to six years and be less expensive at the same time.
It will also be an availability model, with the state making availability payments over the 35-year contract term for operation by the private partner. The P3 agreement would have to be renewed every two years because of the state's restrictions on long-term commitments.
|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 email@example.com and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Mike Preston,
Mike Preston (pictured), who has spent the last six years as director of government relations with Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development arm, has been chosen by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson as the new executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. In his new position in Arkansas, Preston will be responsible for the state agency charged with recruiting and retaining jobs. Before joining Enterprise Florida, he was the chief of staff to a Florida state senator and a legislative assistant to a state representative. Preston brings a rural background to his new job and will translate his experience there to rural Arkansas communities. During his time with Enterprise Florida, Preston was part of a team that helped create more than 147,000 jobs generating more than $10 billion in capital investment. Preston is a 2005 graduate of the University of Florida. For the last several months, Danny Games has been serving the agency as deputy director and will remain in that capacity under Preston.
|Opportunity of the week...|
A university in the north-central area of the United States has gained approval for two new building projects on its campus this fall. A $25 million project will turn an historic former gym and pool into the College of Business Administration and the second is an $8.6 million project that will add on to the university's recreation center, to include basketball courts and exercise equipment. Want to know more? Contact our Sales Team at 512-531-3900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzanne Mason (top left), current director of Human Resources for Napa County, California, has been named Palo Alto assistant city manager, replacing former Assistant City Manager Pamela Antil, who resigned to take a post in San Jose. The University of Texas at Austin's executive vice president and provost, Gregory Fenves (top center) has been named by the UT System as lone finalist for the presidency of the university, succeeding UT President Bill Powers, who is stepping down this summer. The chief financial officer at Ohio State University, Geoff Chatas (top right) will leave the school after five years to work for the investment firm that funded OSU's parking-privatization plan, QIC Global Infrastructure, the parent of Ohio State University parking operator CampusParc. Jason Goldman, who worked as a product manager at Google and then later was first vice president of product at Twitter, has been chosen by the White House to serve as the federal government's first chief digital officer and will lead the Office of Digital Strategy. Robert S. Nelsen, the former president of The University of Texas-Pan American for the last four years, has been named Sacramento State's next president, replacing President Alexander Gonzalez, who is retiring at the end of the academic year, but will remain on the faculty. U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has announced the appointment of Ian Kalin, the former open data director of a cloud software company, to a newly created position to oversee its growing data programs. The Brenham (Texas) school district has named Dr. Walter Jackson, who currently serves the Alief school district in Houston as Alief Taylor Coordinating Principal, as its finalist for superintendent. B. Todd Jones (bottom right), director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has announced he will step down after being brought to the agency first as acting director and then name permanent director two years ago. General Manager David Armijo (bottom center) of the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) has announced his resignation from leading the district and Jim Pachan, AC Transit's chief operations officer, will serve as temporary general manager. Dr. Sheila Pinette (bottom left), who previously had oversight of the Maine Center for Disease Control, has resigned her post as Maine's chief health officer a month after taking the job. Oklahoma state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has announced the selection of a retired Oklahoma National Guard lieutenant colonel, Lance Nelson, as chief of staff for the state Department of Education. A former general manager of New York City's public housing authority, Michael P. Kelly, is returning to the job after having served as general manager of the New York City Housing Authority from 2009 to 2011 before leaving to oversee the Philadelphia Housing Authority. The Ferguson (Missouri) City Council appointed Pam Hylton, who has served as assistant city manager since 2011, as its interim city manager, replacing outgoing city manager John Shaw, who resigned.
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Does your organization or agency have an upcoming event that would be of interest to either vendors who do business with government or officials and workers in state and local government, higher education, public education or health care? Are you planning a webinar? A conference or seminar? The Government Contracting Pipeline invites government and nonprofits to send information regarding your events for consideration to be included in our FREE Calendar of Events section below. In addition to providing contact information, the day, date, time and a synopsis of the event, you may also include a link to additional information on your Web page and/or a link to online registration that we'll include. Please submit your event information to email@example.com.
|Calendar of events|
ITS America to host 25th Annual Meeting, Expo May 31-June 3
The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) will host its 25th Annual Meeting and Expo - Bridges to Innovation - on May 31 through June 3 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. More than 2,000 industry business leaders, manufacturers, investors, researchers, elected officials and policymakers, engineers and public-sector participants are expected to attend. The event is co-hosted by the ITS Pennsylvania State Chapter, and will feature keynote speeches and panel discussions with industry experts and thought leaders. The event will also feature interactive demonstrations, exhibitors, technical tours and networking opportunities. On Sunday before the event begins, those attending will get to hear firsthand from State Department of Transportation officials, who will have an open forum discussion relating to issues of importance to the ITS community - including deployment strategies and funding priorities to both develop and maintain local transportation networks through effective use of technology. Registration is now open and the preliminary program is available.
NASCIO 2015 Midyear Conference slated April 26-29The 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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