Volume 8, Issue 28 - October 5, 2016
Solar power coming on strong; taxpayers reaping benefits!
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
People often think of government as a slow-moving bureaucracy that is usually behind the newest technology advances. That is not always true. Many government officials today are moving quicker to solar technology than private-sector companies.

Many government officials are launching solar projects and because of that, their efforts may delay an impending energy crisis. Their endeavors will also help with clean air initiatives, cut costs for taxpayers and move the country toward sustainability.

While most people think of renewable energy as solar panels on a roof, it is definitely more. Now, solar powered technology is being used in many ways. The country can even boast solar technology in roads. Such roads produce energy by capturing natural, clean power from the sun, and this type of technology is becoming more common than the average taxpayer can imagine.




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Federal agencies, nonprofit set 30 year goal for zero fatalities

 

Federal agencies have partnered with the nonprofit National Safety Council to launch a program with a mission to end traffic fatalities within 30 years. The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have created the Road to Zero coalition with $1 million per year in funding from the Department of Transportation.

 

"Our vision is simple - zero fatalities on our roads," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We know that setting the bar for safety to the highest possible standard requires commitment from everyone to think differently about safety- from drivers to industry, safety organizations and government at all levels."

 

 Agencies report that 2015 had the largest increase in traffic deaths since 1966 and the estimates for 2016 are already on track to surpass 2015. The coalition will promote proven strategies as well as develop a new vision on how to achieve their mission of zero fatalities.

 

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America's Transportation Awards finalists have been announced by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Twelve finalists from 10 state departments of transportation have been selected in three categories: Quality of Life/Community Development, Best Use of Innovation and Under Budget. A  national Grand Prize and the People's Choice Award will also be awarded.

 

"From a record 84 nominated projects last spring, we're down to 12 finalists competing to be called the very best transportation project in America," said Bud Wright, AASHTO executive director. "This competition shows the excellence in project delivery we see, year after year across the country and it demonstrates why the real winners are the American people.  These multimodal projects are reducing congestion, improving safety and stimulating economic growth."

 

Online voting for the People's Choice Award will take place through Oct. 31. Awards will be presented Nov. 14 at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Boston. Colorado and Idaho DOTs each have two projects in the top 12. Other states include Connecticut, Florida, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. For details on each project, click here

 

The White House has announced $80 million in funding for technology-driven projects as part of its Smart Cities Initiative. More than 70 cities and communities are participating in the Smart Cities Initiative.

 

The federal government intends to invest nearly $15 million helping participants address energy and climate challenges.  More than $15 million will be used for grants and funding to help evolve transportation options. An additional $10 million in grants and funding will be available for public safety, resilience and disaster response projects.

 

As part of the initiative, the MetroLab Network, has also launched a new program to help transform city services. The city-university collaborative will help cities adopt promising innovations in social programs and collaborate on long-term challenges. 


The top 50 North American infrastructure projects that can ensure global competitiveness and create jobs represent a combined value of billions of dollars. Those projects and the contracting opportunities and prospects for public-private partnerships they can create will be discussed at the eighth CG/LA Infrastructure-sponsored North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum on Oct. 24-27. Scheduled in Denver, the event features dozens of elected officials, government agency representatives, private-sector professionals and industry CEOs who will share their experiences and expertise with public- and private-sector parties contemplating major infrastructure projects.

 

Among the presenters will be Mary Scott Nabers, president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., who will serve on two panels during the four-day event. Nabers, a nationally recognized expert on public-private partnerships (P3s), will serve as the discussion leader on a panel of professionals who will discuss the importance of building trust between the public and private sectors that can lead to collaborative efforts on much-needed infrastructure projects. She will also be part of a panel that will address the significance of bringing infrastructure users into the equation early in a project and incorporating their input into decision-making and problem-solving.

 

The forum will also feature analysis and discussion of North America's top five strategic infrastructure projects, considered significant because of either their size or ability to be replicated and the impact they have had on increasing national and/or regional competitiveness. Private meetings with project presenters and event sponsors are scheduled, as well as workshops, round-table discussions and multiple networking opportunities. Registration is now open for the event..

Upcoming contracting opportunities

U.S. Representative John B. Larson of Connecticut has proposed a $10 billion project that would include two tunnels designed to improve traffic conditions at Interstates 84 and 91 in Hartford. Under the plan, the tunnels would utilize tolls. Larson said the project could increase riverfront development if the highway did not block access to the river. State transportation officials previously studied building a tunnel to replace the I-84 viaduct in Hartford but rejected the idea as too costly. Larson proposed funding options to include bonds, an increased gasoline tax and an infrastructure bank.

 

The Navy and U.S. Department of Energy have plans to build a $1.6 billion nuclear waste facility in Idaho at the energy department's site where the Idaho National Laboratory is located. The facility would handle fuel waste from nuclear-powered warships. The new facility would handle a new type of spent-fuel shipping container, which the current facility cannot accommodate.

 

The Florida Department of Transportation and Florida Polytechnic University will partner to create the SunTrax transportation technology testing facility in Polk County. The 400-acre site will include a 2.25-mile oval track and function as a high-tech hub for research, development and testing of emerging transportation technologies. Florida's Turnpike has funded about $41 million for the first phase - the track which will be used to test high-speed toll technology. The second phase includes the development of the infield of the track to simulate a city center and building other transportation scenarios.

 

The city of Chicago will request proposals to redevelop the Michael Reese Hospital property. The site is located on 49 acres with lake views and includes 6.5 million square feet of space. The city purchased the property as part of its unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. It was intended to function as an athlete's village. Pending approval from the Chicago Community Development Commission, a request for proposals will be issued Oct. 12 for a mixed-use development which may include one or more projects involving commercial, institutional, residential and recreational uses.

 

Miami officials are seeking designers for a flex-park next to the Miami Marine Stadium. A request for qualifications is being prepared for urban design and landscape architecture firms to develop a flexible space that can be used for the Miami International Boat Show and other special events. A public workshop is scheduled for Oct. 29, but the draft RFQ calls for the development of flexible open space, public waterfront access, active and passive family recreational opportunities and development of a bay walk along the edge of the stadium's water basin.

 

The city of Grand Junction, Colo., is seeking a developer to revitalize the Two Rivers Convention Center. The city has issued a request for proposals regarding the 23,000-square-foot facility. Officials hope to see comprehensive plans to incorporate the convention center with a hotel and other amenities. The convention center is valued between $5 million and $12 million, said city officials, but it needs significant upgrades. Proposals are due by Nov. 8.

 

The Chicago Transit Authority is considering a $2.3 billion expansion of the Red Line rail. The agency announced it will release a draft environmental impact study on Oct. 6. The study is necessary to apply for federal funding. The project would extend the line south from 95th Street to 130th Street. The agency will begin accepting public comments on the proposed project this month.

 

Over the next five years, the University of Massachusetts plans to spend $2.5 billion to upgrade the system's five campuses. The university's board of trustees approved $212 million in projects this month, including renovations at the Isenberg School of Management in Amherst and improvements at the Clark Athletic Center, McCormack Hall and Wheatly Hall in Boston. A new garage and dining hall were also approved.

 

The city council members of Hopkins, Minn., plan to reconstruct and extend Eight Avenue in a way that combines a community art gallery with a bicycle path. The $4.88 million project would include interactive art incorporated with the infrastructure to form 10-feet by 30-feet art rooms. The council plans to finalize plans in December and award a contract in February. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring.

 

State transportation officials plan to upgrade Wyoming's Interstate 80 corridor with new connected vehicle technology to prevent crashes. The $5.7 million project will be largely funded by a $4.4 million federal grant received by the Wyoming Department of Transportation. The connected vehicle technology system will enable truck drivers and DOT personnel to communicate regarding road infrastructure and share information on road hazards. The system will be integrated with the Transportation Management Center and include 75 roadside units. DOT will equip about 400 vehicles with the technology and plans to allow commercial vehicle access in 2018.

Collaboration Nation
News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

 Arizona Department of Transportation officials are considering a toll road as an alternative to Interstate 10 in the Phoenix area. They intend to conduct a study to determine if a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) with a tolling component would provide enough revenue to advance the State Route 30 project. The project is a proposed six-lane freeway that has been a part of the Maricopa Association of Government's regional transportation plan but lacked funding. The study will also consider expanding the project.

 

A public-private partnership (P3/PPP) will provide $3.9 million to upgrade railroad tracks in New Hampshire. The Coos County Rail Project is a partnership between the state department of transportation and the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad. Officials said the project will allow the line to continue moving freight between Portland, Maine, and Montreal as well as increase safety and capacity. More than 7 miles of track will be replaced and five bridges will be repaired and refurbished in Stark, Milan, Gorham and Shelburne.

 

The city of Maryville and Northwest Missouri State University have formed a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) to build a $20 million multipurpose complex. Plans call for a 137,250 square-foot facility with recreation and exhibition space, an indoor flooring system, 100-yard practice turf, 300-meter indoor competition track, spectator seating and tiered meeting rooms. The site will be located on the university campus but will be open to the community. The project will be funded with combined support from the university, community and private sources.

 

Detroit's Wayne State University has entered into a 40-year public-private partnership (p3/PPP) with a developer for a $300 million campus housing plan. The plan includes adding 842 new beds and renovating  existing structures that house 3,100 beds. The new units will be located in the Anthony Wayne Drive Apartment project, which will also include 18,000 square feet of retail space and a campus health center.

 

Arlington County, Va., officials have approved a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) to build a mixed-use urban retail project in Ballston. The Ballston Quarter project - a regional shopping, dining and entertainment center - will utilize more than $110 million in public funding. The county will finance up to $54.33 million for public improvements and the community development authority will fund up to $43.44 million through CDA bonds. Another $10.89 million for infrastructure will be provided by the county. County officials estimate the project will net $150 million in tax revenues over 30 years. 


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