Volume 7, Issue 21 - August 26, 2015
Innovation key in search for clean power, renewable energy
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
According to a U.N. report, the world's population grows by two people every second, or 7,200 people an hour. More people on the planet, of course, result in more pollution, especially air pollution.

Throughout the world, leaders are demanding innovative solutions for renewable energy so that greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced. Earlier this month, President Obama announced a Clean Power Plan that seeks to cut 2005 carbon emissions levels 35 percent by 2030.

There are many options for states and cities as they seek innovative ways to reduce emissions. And, though the President's plan was announced just a few weeks ago, many government leaders were already experimenting with numerous approaches.



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San Diego close to start of Mid-Coast Trolley extension
$1.7 billion project will connect downtown San Diego with UCSD, Universal City
San Diego city officials are getting closer to the start of construction on an 11-mile extension of their regional light-rail system. The $1.7 billion project will connect downtown San Diego with Universal City and the University of California-San Diego (UCSD), two areas that have grown increasingly large but still aren't accessible by regional transportation as it currently exists.

The project will be financed by both Transnet, the county's half-cent sales tax surcharge for transportation projects, and a full funding grant agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) New Starts program. The FTA approved the project's entry into final engineering in April, and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG, a regional council that is leading the project) expects the grant to be awarded later this year. The FFGA would provide 50 percent of the project funding. 

The city of San Diego itself is contributing five pieces of property valued at $3.5 million that will provide land on which to construct trolley stations and maintenance areas along the line. It is also paying $13 million to move water infrastructure that is in the path of both the trolley extension and a second rail line that is being built for heavier rail cars that carry either passengers or freight.Those costs will be passed on to residents in the form of higher water and utilities bills.

"The importance of the trolley extension to University City can't be overstated," said City Council President Sherri Lightner (pictured). "This shows the city and the region are doing our part to increase transit ridership and reduce the strain on our roadways."

The project includes the construction of nine new stations, which will be situated on the donated land, a total of eight acres. The Mid-Coast Trolley extension will bring trolley service from the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego to the University City area and serve major centers such as Old Town, UCSD and Westfield UTC.

Design work for the project is 65 percent complete and construction is expected to begin in early 2016, with service beginning approximately four years later. 
SANDAG named a construction manager in 2014, and companies interested in contracting opportunities on the project can find more information here.
A roadmap to upcoming opportunities
Interested in staying ahead of the competition? Then ... take note! Government entities throughout Texas are planning November bond elections.

The bond vote represents contracting work valued at billions of dollars. New construction, renovation and maintenance projects, road work, new bridges, street improvements, new public safety buildings, parks renovations and water and wastewater projects - this is what the bond funding will cover.

The Strategic Partnerships Team will deliver all the details and subscribers will be able to get information that is not available anywhere else. Order now and be among the first to receive the information!
USDOT awards $9.5M in transit job-training grants
Federal funding goes to 19 transit workforce development programs in 13 states
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $9.5 million in grants to 19 projects in 13 states this week. The selected projects are job-training programs designed to encourage and facilitate careers in the public transportation industry. The announcement was made at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (LATTC, one of the recipients), and the grants are provided through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development program.

California led the way with four awards for a total of just more than $2 million. Maryland, New York and Washington also got multiple grants.

"The public transit industry offers good-paying careers that can lift Americans into the middle class or help them stay there, and more of these careers will be available in the future," said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

The LATTC, where the announcement of the grants was made, will use the funding to establish the Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology Training, the first program of its kind in a community college. Among the other projects selected were:
  • Oklahoma's Grand Gateway Economic Development Association (EDA) will receive about $400,000 to establish the N2N Automotive University. Located in northeastern Oklahoma, the program will train participants primarily from American Indian communities using a Nation-to-Nation (N2N) recruitment strategy. Selected participants will receive fast-track training in automotive repair and operations that can be applied to transit vehicles as well as other automotive careers.
  • The Village Vans program of Intercity Transit in Olympia, Wash., won a $200,000 grant and will apply the funding to its rural transit service. Intercity Transit relies on volunteer drivers, and Village Vans provides those workers with free workforce training that helps to prepare them for potential employment with Intercity Transit or other positions related to vehicle operations.
The FTA received a total of 50 applications requesting more than $27 million. Eligible applicants included public transportation providers at the state, local and regional level, as well as metropolitan planning organizations, nonprofit institutions and institutions of higher education. A list of selected projects is available online.

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Hobart Arena renovation set to go out to bid
Troy, Ohio, is preparing to accept bids on the $7.3 million renovation project for its Hobart Arena, a 3,800-seat venue that hosts concerts, job fairs and other events. Troy's director of recreation, Ken Siler (pictured), said construction should begin by November and finish within a year and that the project could go out to bid as early as September. "This is going to be about improving the overall user experience," Siler said. The city hopes that the design improves traffic flow through the building as well as adds more concessions and restroom facilities in addition to a 26,000-square-foot expansion for back-of-the-house operations like kitchens, locker rooms and a multipurpose space. The arena renovation is part of a larger push to redevelop Troy's riverfront. Hobart Arena originally opened in 1950 and is city-owned and managed by Troy's department of recreation.
Orange County to access federal funds to build rail line
The Orange County, Calif., Transportation Authority (OCTA) has agreed to commit $56 million to a new light-rail line connecting Santa Ana and Garden Grove. In doing so, the county gains access to up to $144 million from a competitive federal grant program called New Starts to spend on the planned $289 million light-rail line. Called OC Streetcar, the rail line would travel a four-mile route through densely populated neighborhoods. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is expected to rate the OCTA's application by early next year and make a final decision in 2017. The project is expected to break ground in 2017 and begin running two years later. Funding for the rail line comes from federal, state and local sources, including a portion of the county's transportation sales tax, which voters agreed to commit to a rail project. Fares for the service would likely be $2 one-way and $5 for a day pass, OCTA officials said. They are expected to account for almost a third of the $5 million yearly operating cost. This project is Orange County's second attempt to add rail to its transportation options. The larger $1 billion CenterLine project, which was supposed to run from Santa Ana to John Wayne Airport failed almost 10 years ago.
NYC to expand historic Staten Island high school
New York's City Council approved the expansion of Staten Island's Curtis High School, a project that has encountered some pushback from residents who want to save a historic wall that could be torn down in the process. Curtis was Staten Island's first high school and was named a historical landmark in 1982, though the wall itself was not so designated. The council voted overwhelmingly to approve a School Construction Authority (SCA) project that is designed to lessen overcrowding at the school, which is at 143 percent capacity, but which will also tear down sections of the century-old stone wall that surrounds it. The SCA plans to build a new 12,000-square-foot annex to Curtis High School that will create 345 seats and move classrooms out of two trailers at the school. If design plans remain unchanged, construction will tear down sections of the wall on St. Mark's Place and add a new entrance to the school in its place. "Overcrowding at Curtis High School has always been a concern of mine," Councilwoman Debi Rose (pictured) said. "This planned annex at Curtis addresses these two concerns and will improve education for students in the coming years. My hope is that the School Construction Authority will return to their design to see if they can save or incorporate more of the wall along St. Mark's Place."
Wichita approves $2 billion capital improvement plan
Wichita, Kan., approved a nearly $2 billion Capital Improvement Program last week that will prioritize city projects for 10 years. While the funding isn't guaranteed for any of the projects, the plan includes millions of dollars for parks, water and sewer improvements, bike paths and public safety. The main focus, though, is improving streets and highways. It calls for spending $255 million over five years to complete the expansion to six lanes of Kellogg Avenue on the east side of the city to state highway 96. About $40 million is marked for street improvements downtown, and another $30 million worth of street improvements near Wichita State University's planned Innovation Campus.
Oakland Park seeks developer for vacant land
Oakland Park, Fla., officials are looking again to entice developers to a 23-acre site that was once home to a flea market. The city is working to sell the parcel at the property's eastern entrance to a developer willing to work with them to take the first step toward redevelopment. "I'm expecting to see at least three to five strong proposals coming in on this property," said Gary Rogers, the city's redevelopment director. "Our preference and the market preference is certainly mixed use." Developers have until Sept. 8 to submit proposals for the property near the southwest corner of Oakland Park Boulevard and Northwest 31st Avenue. A hotel, a restaurant, senior housing and mixed-use apartments are some of the potential uses that have been discussed. Oakland Park's Community Redevelopment Agency bought the property in foreclosure for $5.6 million in 2010. It had sat vacant ever since the flea market closed in 1995. "I want to see something different. I want to see something up-and-coming that will benefit the residents," said Commissioner Patricia Hawkins-Williams (pictured), who heads the city's redevelopment board. The property is part of a larger plan to connect the area between Northwest 31st Avenue and State Road 7. That area includes a library and a formerly stalled housing and commercial development that began preparing for new activity in May. An Urban Land Institute study earlier this year suggested connecting those properties with walkways, bike paths and streets so visitors can get from one section to the other more quickly and safely.
Brainerd City Council approves airport project funding
The Brainerd, Minn., City Council approved its half of an agreement with neighboring Baxter to pay for a water and sewer line project that extends to the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. The project will be funded mostly by an $8 million contribution from the city of Baxter, collected through a local option sales tax. Baxter will make payments to Brainerd as it collects the tax revenue, rather than contributing an $8 million lump sum up front. The agreement extends until 2037 or until $40 million is collected. The remaining $32 million will go toward other water projects and transportation safety improvements. Council President Gary Scheeler said the $8 million would be paid back over a period of 17-18 years. Baxter estimates its annual contributions would be between $400,000 and $420,000. It will begin to collect the local option sales tax by the middle of 2016.
Sedgwick County issues RFP for police training center 
Sedgwick County, Kan., is seeking proposals for the construction of a new home to train local law enforcement and other first responders. The current training center, for Wichita police officers and Sedgwick County sheriff's deputies, is located in a former elementary school that was built in 1958. The county took the lead in writing the request for proposals (RFP), with meetings between city and county staff members during the process. "This is our No. 1 priority, and we're going to move forward and get this issue addressed," said County Commission Chairman Richard Ranzau (pictured). The 2016 budget included $2.65 million for the center, a reduction by $350,000. Since the city of Wichita will also pay for the center, the final cost of the project is unknown. Different options have been proposed with varying price tags, from renovating a soon-to-be-vacated high school at a cost of $7 million to new construction near a Kansas National Guard center, originally estimated at $30 million. The county is also open to a plan to modify the shuttered Judge Riddel Boys Ranch, a residential facility for youth offenders. Sedgwick County closed the ranch last year and still owns the property. The RFP requires the training center to have about 51,000 square feet of space, including conference rooms, classrooms, locker rooms, a gym and training rooms. Replies are due Nov. 24.
Kentucky issues RFPs for state park lodging facilities
The Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet issued two requests for proposal (RFPs) seeking developer-operators for lodging facilities at sites in Pulaski and Bell counties. The Pulaski County site would be located at General Burnside Island State Park, where there have been previous efforts to develop lodging at the park. The new RFP seeks a developmental master plan that will increase the tourist business for General Burnside Island. The developer would have the option of including a restaurant, convention facility, swimming pool and other related amenities. The project could be eligible for state tourism incentives through the state Tourism Development Finance Authority. The Bell County site would be located at Wasioto Winds Golf Course, which is part of Pine Mountain State Resort Park. The selected vendor would have the option of managing the 18-hole golf course in addition to operating the existing lodge at the park. This project is also eligible for state tourism incentives through the state Tourism Development Finance Authority. The deadline for submitting proposals to each request is Sept. 15.
St. George opens former airport site for development
St. George, Utah, officials have begun the process of selling a parcel of land that formerly housed the municipal airport. The property is earmarked for a new technology and research-focused business park. The "Ridgetop Complex," as the area has been called since the airport moved to its current location in 2011, is being reviewed for a site-wide master plan that would outline the types of uses allowed in the area. "We've said we're not selling it until we have the uses decided, and those uses are going to coincide with the business park idea," City Manager Gary Esplin (pictured) said. The plans call for construction of a new $40 million campus planned for the Dixie Applied Technology College, which received state funding this year for the project. The property originally was set to be sold in 2008, with funds to go toward the construction of the new airport. With the onset of the recession, however, those plans were revoked, and the city was able to hold onto the property until prices had returned to their former heights.
Virgin Islands issues RFQ for waste management
The Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority (VIWMA) has released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) soliciting packages from developers who have experience with waste management technologies. The goal is to find a company capable of handling an integrated waste management project (IWMP) using the waste streams currently available and regulated by the VIWMA. The deadline to submit responses is Sept. 15. "The VIWMA will reach their overall landfill capacity limit in the next several years," said a project manager for the project. "This RFQ process is an important step for the VIWMA to transition from a landfill-dependent system to one that is integrated. This gives them great potential to reduce the costs of waste management and disposal on the U.S. Virgin Islands, and to increase sustainable waste handling activities." The VIWMA has operated the Anguilla Landfill on St. Croix, the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas and the Susannaberg Transfer Station on St. John for 11 years. It is currently in the process of closing the St. Croix and St. Thomas landfills, with the final closures scheduled for 2016 and 2019, respectively. The purpose of the RFQ is to develop a short list of qualified developers that can later participate in an RFP process to plan, design, construct and operate the waste management project. The developer may be a single firm or a team of experienced firms. The service contract is expected to include a 20-year operating term.
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News About Public-Private Partnerships (P3)

KCNA created to manage state's broadband network
The state of Kentucky has created the Kentucky Communications Network Authority (KCNA) to manage the KentuckyWired open-access broadband network. The project is designed to bring high-speed Internet connectivity to the entire state and to enhance economic development. "Broadband, like electricity, water and sewer, is now an essential service, but it has been too expensive for private carriers to build out a high-speed, high-capacity network across the entire state," Gov. Steve Beshear (pictured) said. "With KentuckyWired, or the I-Way, an open-access network, the state will be responsible for building out the middle portion of a fiber network, similar to our interstate system of roads." In the next three years, more than 3,000 miles of fiber infrastructure will be built. The members of the KCNA will manage the Next Generation Kentucky Information Highway capital project and the Next Generation Kentucky Information Highway Fund, both authorized by the 2014 General Assembly. The total project is expected to cost approximately $324 million, which will come in the form of $30 million in state bond funds and $23.5 million in federal funds with the remainder of the project, $270.9 million, to come from private investment. The KCNA will be a part of the General Government Cabinet and attached to the Office of the Governor. It will be responsible for overseeing the public-private partnership (P3) master agreement with consortium partners.
Plans for Long Beach Civic Center, park revealed
The Long Beach, Calif., Parks and Recreation Commission is now reviewing plans for a redesigned Lincoln Park. The park is in the center of the current Civic Center and will lead to the new main library. A condition in the city charter requires that the new park be the same size or larger than the current park. The public buildings included in the park design are a new city hall, the new main library and a new Port of Long Beach headquarters. There also are mixed-use residential buildings and a new hotel. In late 2014, the City Council approved an agreement to have a design firm plan the new Civic Center and finance it through a public-private partnership (P3). The firm will design, build and maintain the public components, leasing them back to the city (and the Port of Long Beach) for up to 50 years. Then, the city would take ownership of the public spaces while the private company retains ownership of the mixed-use, residential and hotel components. The port headquarters building would be financed separately.
Virginia keeps options open for I-66 HOT lanes
Virginia state officials are not going to close off any available options when considering the development of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on Interstate 66 in the northern part of the state outside of Washington, D.C. The state will consider both public-private partnerships (P3) and public financing of the $2.1 billion project. The Transportation Public-Private Partnership Advisory Committee voted last week to retain the possibility of using a P3. The committee's role in the planning of I-66 was to approve or deny the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) "Finding of Public Interest," just one step required under state law in developing a public-private partnership. The committee didn't decide to use a P3, it just left that possibility open. "All options are on the table," Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne (pictured) said. "We'll go with the right option that is in the public's best interest." What's clear is that whatever decision the state makes, the private sector likely will play a part in the project. This project would rebuild I-66 between the Beltway and Haymarket. The state plan calls for two HOT lanes in each direction and three non-tolled lanes. VDOT planners hope to begin construction in 2017 and be done by the end of 2021.
TCNJ's new Campus Town set to open for fall semester
The College of New Jersey's Campus Town will open its doors to students for the fall semester. The $120 million mixed-use development is a public-private partnership (P3) between the college and a developer. First announced publicly in 2008, the project has been years in the making. Construction officially began in September 2013. The Campus Town development is home to shops and restaurants on the ground floor and almost 450 one-, two- and four-bedroom apartments on the upper floors. Many national and local retailers have already agreed to lease space, and most of the stores are set to open in September and October. The college also leased the ground floor of one of the buildings for a fitness center and a campus police substation. A second phase, scheduled to open in summer 2016, will include two more residential buildings to accommodate an additional 166 students as well as a redesigned entrance to the college.
Venetian Causeway toll HQ could become restaurant
Miami-Dade County is considering the sale of the building containing the Venetian Causeway's toll-booth offices, with hopes of opening it up to a public-private partnership (P3). Mayor Carlos Gimenez (pictured) released a memo earlier this month that includes the Venetian toll facility in a list of 51 potential projects for private businesses interested in partnering with the county government. "With the conversion to [a digital toll system], the toll plaza office has little usage and can be converted to a restaurant or other facility," Gimenez wrote in the memo. "The property is waterfront and offers views of the Miami skyline." Titled "Update on the Status of Public Private Partnership Progam Plan," the memo lists dozens of possibilities for privatization in Miami-Dade County. Among the ideas in the memo: renovating county jails, redoing the Rickenbacker Causeway's fishing piers and building the Bay Link light-rail system. Within walking distance of downtown Miami, the toll-booth office building faces the water off Watson Island and offers a view of passing boat traffic and the downtown Miami skyline.
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