Volume 8, Issue 34 - November 16, 2016
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
On Nov. 8, voters gave a huge show of support by approving bond packages that allocated billions of dollars in funding for major public transportation projects across the country. Front and center in many of the bond referendums were transit projects of all types. 

Contractors, engineers, planning firms, environmental companies and consultants will be monitoring the hundreds of transportation opportunities. New light-rail projects as well as rapid transit lines and construction of transit stations are all shovel-ready. And, planning has already been done for bike lanes, bike-sharing stations and alternative fueling stations. Additionally, some communities will purchase new buses. 
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Trillion-dollar plan laid out by economic advisors


President-elect Donald Trump has promised to make a $1 trillion in infrastructure investments a top priority for him as president. He reaffirmed that pledge in his Nov. 9 speech and signs point to public-private partnerships (P3/PPP) as a significant component to his infrastructure plan.


"We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We're going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it," said Trump in his victory speech.

Some of the infrastructure policies laid out by Trump include:

  • a deficit-neutral plan for new infrastructure investments;
  • supporting investment in transportation, clean water, a modern and reliable electricity grid, telecommunications, security infrastructure, and other pressing domestic infrastructure needs;
  • offering maximum flexibility to the states;
  • creating thousands of new jobs in construction, steel manufacturing and other sectors;
  • leveraging new revenues and working with financing authorities, P3s and other prudent funding opportunities;
  • implementing a bold, visionary plan for a cost-effective system of roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, railroads, ports and waterways and pipelines in the tradition of President Dwight D. Eisenhower;
  • linking increases in spending to reforms that streamline permitting and approvals; and
  • linking increased investments with positive reforms to infrastructure programs that reduce waste and cut costs.

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From Wikimedia Commons by Danrok
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it is adding a sound requirement for all newly manufactured hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to help protect pedestrians. The new federal
safety standard will help pedestrians, especially those who are blind or have low vision, detect the presence, direction and location of these vehicles when they are traveling at low speeds. Officials expect the new standard will help prevent about 2,400 pedestrian injuries each year once all hybrids in the fleet are properly equipped.

"We all depend on our senses to alert us to possible danger," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  "With more, quieter hybrid and electrical cars on the road, the ability for all pedestrians to hear as well as see the cars becomes an important factor of reducing the risk of possible crashes and improving safety."

Hybrid and electric light vehicles with four wheels and a weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less will be required to make audible noise when traveling at speeds up to 30 kilometers per hour (about 19 miles per hour).  The sound alert is not required at higher speeds because tire and wind noise typically provide adequate warning.

U.S. Department of Transportation officials named 25 members to the new National Advisory Committee on Travel and Tourism Infrastructure (NACTTI).  The committee will consist of public and private sector stakeholders involved in the transportation, travel and tourism industries. The group will advise the department on current and emerging priorities, issues, projects and funding needs related to the use of the intermodal transportation network of the U.S. to facilitate travel and tourism. NACTTI was established pursuant to the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was signed into law in December 2015. Click here for the full announcement and a list of NACTTI members.

Upcoming contracting opportunities

California voters approved a $9 billion bond to finance school construction projects statewide. Proposition 51 authorized $9 billion in general obligation bonds. The  measure allows the state to match local funding for school construction and repairs. The state will allocate to K-12 public schools $3 billion for new construction and $3 billion for modernization of facilities. Charter schools and vocational education facilities will receive $1 billion. California Community Colleges facilities were allocated $2 billion.


New York City transportation officials recently discussed a $1.7 billion overhaul of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), the city's only interstate highway. Construction on a 1.25-mile portion of the BQE and the overhanging Brooklyn Heights Promenade is expected to take place between 2020 and 2023. Repairs to the BQE have been cited by some officials as the city's top infrastructure priority. The renovation area contains 21 bridges, three of which make up the base of the promenade.


California officials are considering a $4.4 billion reservoir project near Maxwell. The Sites Reservoir would enhance water supplies for the rice farms of the Sacramento Valley as well as cities in Southern California. Half of the funding for the project will come from Sacramento Valley's major farm-irrigation districts. The other half is being requested from bond money supported by Proposition 1. Alternative financing from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is also being considered. Agencies may be more likely to invest in the project if the state also funds the $15.5 billion Delta tunnels project. The Sites Reservoir project will run an underground pipeline 14 miles from the Sacramento River to the reservoir's proposed location, a mountain valley that straddles Glenn and Colusa counties.


Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority officials are planning $2.1 billion in construction on the Gordie Howe International Bridge across the Detroit River at the U.S.-Canadian border connecting Michigan to Ontario. The construction of the six-lane bridge will be funded by Canada. An additional $250 million customs plaza is expected to be constructed on the U.S. side of the bridge. The customs plaza will collect toll revenues that will be used to fund the portion of the project to be paid by the U.S. The project entails the 1.5-mile bridge, the customs plazas, a connection to I-75 in Michigan and Canadian and American ports of entry. Click here for details.


Chicago Department of Aviation officials are seeking developers interested in the construction of a new hotel and the renovation of another pre-existing hotel. The project is slated to cost $350 million, which will be financed by taxes from airlines and travelers. The project is intended to provide for economic development in the city as well as social development with developers demonstrating plans to hire employees from socio-economically disadvantaged areas throughout the city. The new hotel, with 300 to 400 rooms, would be built near the international terminal, Terminal 5. Renovations are planned for the O'Hare Hilton to allow the facility to accommodate large-scale trade shows and events and allow for restaurants and boutiques to open at the iconic hotel. Click here for details.


Rhode Island voters approved bond measures totaling $142.5 million for construction on a veterans' home, state university and two ports. About $27 million will be used to complete a veterans home in Bristol. The project was initiated with money from a previous election and is slated for completion next year. The University of Rhode Island will use $45.5 million to expand, with $25.5 million going towards the completion of an engineering complex and the remaining $20 million used to create a research and development campus. The Port of Providence and Port of Davisville have been allocated $70 million. Providence will use $20 million to expand its port by 25 acres. Davisville will use $50 million to rebuild a key pier at its port.


Dorchester County, S.C., voters approved a $43 million bond issue for libraries and recreational facilities. Libraries will utilize $30 million. Plans include replacing the George H. Seago Jr. library in Summerville, building a new library in North Charleston and purchasing land for another library in Ridgeville. For recreation, $13 million will be used to build three parks. Construction will take place on the Ashley River Park and the Pine Trace Natural Area in Summerville. Another park will be built adjacent to the Dorchester County Courthouse in St. George.


The National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration have approved a proposed D.C. Metro station to be built in the Potomac Yard community of Alexandria, Va. The project is expected to cost $268 million. The D.C. Metro authority will monitor the construction and implementation of the facility, while the city of Alexandria will finance the project. The station will serve the Yellow and Blue lines of the D.C. Metro. The transit agency is expected to award a contract next summer with construction slated for late 2017. The station is expected to open in 2020.


Englewood, Colo., voters approved a $97.5 million bond for new elementary facilities. The bond will fund replacing four elementary school buildings and the Early Childhood Education Center that were all built more than 60 years ago. Construction is expected to begin on the Hay and Clayton elementary schools in summer 2017. Construction on the Early Childhood Education Center and Cherrelyn and Bishop elementary schools is expected to begin in summer 2018.

Fort Wayne, Ind., park commissioners approved a $5 million bond issue to improve parks. Officials want to complete the west side of the Franklin School Park. The size of the learning center at Salomon Farm Park would be tripled and include a teaching kitchen. Upgrades are also planned at the Reservoir Park, Foellinger Outdoor Theatre in Franke Park, McMillen Park Community Center and Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. The bond issue must still be approved by the Fort Wayne City Council.


News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

The Arizona Coyotes are seeking partnerships with government agencies to help build a $400 million arena in Tempe. The Coyotes announced a proposal to build a 16,000-seat arena near Arizona State University's main campus by 2019. The announcement follows the deterioration of a previous agreement with the City of Glendale. Officials for the Coyotes said the hockey club is expecting to pay about 50 percent of the costs for the arena. The current proposal is to build the arena on a 58-acre parcel within Arizona State's Athletic Facilities District. The NHL arena will include an attached 4,000-seat multi-sport arena that would be used for Coyotes practices as well as by ASU athletics and youth hockey teams.

Miami Beach officials are considering a plan for a South Beach streetcar line utilizing a public-private partnership (P3/PPP). The estimated cost of the project is $244 million. Officials originally planned for a loop around the center of South Beach, stretching from Beach High west on Dade Boulevard and south on Alton Road. Last month, that loop was cut in half because of rising costs and logistical issues. Commissioners are hearing public comments on the proposed line before a December meeting in which they may enter into a P3 agreement with contractors.


Alabama voters passed an amendment to the state constitution allowing the legislature to create authorities to build toll roads and bridges for cities in Baldwin County. Orange Beach, Ala., could be one of the beneficiaries of the passage of Amendment 12. Officials are considering a partnership with a toll bridge company to build a span over the Intracoastal Waterway or a bridge over Wolf Bay. Officials said a revised version of the toll authority amendment could reappear on the ballot in 2018.


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment has endorsed two options to help fund state transportation plans. The state has identified $13.1 billion of deferred work needed on roads and bridges as well as $16 billion in proposed projects including a $1 billion bridge over the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge. One of task force's resolutions calls for state involvement in initiating public-private partnerships (P3/PPP) to help finance the plans. The other resolution is to implement tolls, which have been rarely used in Louisiana. Both options are intended to supplement a possible increase in the state gasoline tax to address the state's transportation needs. The task force will consider increasing the gasoline tax and other proposals at a Dec. 1 meeting and present recommendations to the state legislature.

Georgia transportation officials broke ground on an $800 million interchange improvement project in the Sandy Springs suburb north of Atlanta. The Transform 285/400 Improvement Project  is a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) to revamp the Interstate 285/State Route 400 interchange, using private partners under a design-build-partial financing agreement. The project will include new flyover ramps and new lanes to aid east-west travel on that part of I-285, and north-south travel along SR 400. A diverging diamond interchange will be built at Abernathy Road at SR 400.


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