Volume 8, Issue 33 - November 9, 2016
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
There's a new trend emerging that public officials find very appealing. Citizens should like the concept as well.

Charitable foundations and private-sector companies are now partnering with public entities to launch citywide, regional or statewide social impact initiatives of all types. Rather than a public-private partnership (PPP), the new trend is tied to a public-philanthropic private partnership (PPPP). There are a number of examples of astounding success.

King County, Wash., a Seattle-based charitable foundation, helped launch an initiative to improve the quality of life and raise the life expectancy of the city's citizens. The story is quite unique because the foundation and the county initially raised $500,000 to launch the initiative, but now the project is support
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State, local governments buying hundreds of new EVs


White House officials announced 48 national electric vehicle (EV) charging networks will be established on nearly 25,000 miles of highways in 35 states. State officials, utilities, automakers and EV charging companies have partnered on the initiative to jump-start charging station construction on designated corridors. Charging stations are expected to be constructed every 50 miles and Federal Highway Administration officials unveiled new roadside signs to help motorists find the stations.


"Alternative fuels and electric vehicles will play an integral part in the future of America's transportation system," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  "We have a duty to help drivers identify routes that will help them refuel and recharge those vehicles and designating these corridors on our highways is a first step."


A list of Alternative Fuel Corridors, which includes those designated for EVs, can be found here.


Officials said one reason EVs have not been adopted in great numbers is the difficulty in locating charging stations. The number of EV charging stations in service has grown from about 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000. Recently, 24 state and local governments have agreed to buy hundreds of additional EVs for government fleets.


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Voters elected a President-elect who has promised to launch an aggressive initiative to repair the nation's infrastructure. Because of that, public officials, contractors and taxpayers throughout the country are eager to hear a more detailed plan. Public-private partnership engagements are expected to become the norm for large public projects in the US. 

Both candidates had committed to infrastructure reform and with Republicans now controlling all three branches of government, it seems certain that infrastructure reform as well as government spending will be forthcoming. Most believe, however, that public funds will be used to leverage private sector investments in government projects.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announced $3.6 billion in loans to fund 82 electric projects in 31 states. The loans, provided through the Electric Program of the Rural Utilities Service, will be used for projects that upgrade infrastructure, create jobs and improve system operations for rural electric customers.


"For 80 years, rural electric utilities have provided reliable and affordable electricity to help rural communities increase productivity and build stronger economies," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These loans will help them continue to do that. The utilities and cooperatives will use some of the money to finance energy efficiency projects, renewable fuel systems and smart grid technologies to increase our energy independence and improve rural electric infrastructure."


The funds will be used to build or improve 12,500 miles of transmission and distribution lines. About $216 million will be used for smart grid technologies, $35 million for renewable energy, $26 million for environmental improvements and nearly $1.8 million for energy efficiency. 

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) has updated results for more than 40 bond elections in Texas. More than $5.2 billion in bond referendums were on the ballots in cities, school districts, community colleges and special districts throughout the state. SPI's research team has compiled the complete details in the 2016 Texas Bond Package report, which will be ready for delivery today. 

Some highlights include project details for: 

* Eight cities, which passed $1.7 billion in bond issues for projects that include funding for streets, facilities economic development and other projects; 

* Two colleges, which passed $149 million in bond issues for campus improvements; 

* Eight counties, which passed $445 million in measures for new facilities and other projects;

* Eighteen school districts, which passed $2.6 billion for new facilities and improvements; 

* More than $9 million in funding passed for ports and special districts.

Click here to order the 2016 Texas Bond Package.

Upcoming contracting opportunities

New Mexico voters approved $186.15 million in general obligation bonds on four statewide ballot issues. Colleges, universities, special schools and tribal schools will receive $142 million for capital improvements. More than $18 million has been allocated for capital improvements for state police buildings and the National Guard. Senior centers will receive $15.4 million and $10.1 million will be used for libraries. In Santa Fe County, local voters also approved $13.6 million for roads, $7 million for public safety buildings, $4.8 million for water and sewer projects, $4.6 million for parks and trail projects and $5 million for community health centers.
Columbus, Ohio, voters have approved a $950 million bond package to resurface roads, install new water lines and complete other capital projects. About $460 million of the bond package will pay for water and sewer improvements and other public utility upgrades. Public service department projects will receive $310 million, including $160 million for road projects. About $110 million will be used for new recreation centers and other parks projects and $70 million will be used for safety and health projects.

Maine voters approved a $100 million bond for roads, bridges and transportation facilities. The bond will help fund a $2.2 billion work plan for 2016, 2017 and 2018 that was published by state officials in January. Bridge rehabilitation and replacement projects are expected to cost about $52 million. Highway improvements are estimated at $24 million. Facilities, which include ports, harbors, rail and aviation, could see $4 million in improvements.

Voters in Austin, Texas, approved a $720 million transportation bond. The total cost of the Smart Corridor Plan is expected to be about $1.5 billion. The plan includes traffic improvements on South and North Lamar Boulevard, Airport Boulevard, Riverside Drive, Burnet Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard/FM 969 and Guadalupe Street. About $478 million is allocated for corridor plans, $4.5 million for future corridor plans, $101 million for regional mobility projects and $137 million for local mobility projects.

California voters approved Proposition 51, a $9 billion bond for school construction projects. The measure was designed to allocate $3 billion for the construction of new school facilities, $500 million for providing school facilities for charter schools, $3 billion for the modernization of school facilities, $500 million for providing facilities for career technical education programs and $2 billion for acquiring, constructing, renovating and equipping community college facilities.

Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) officials have announced transportation improvements on SR 836, the Dolphin Expressway. An interchange modification is planned on SR 836 which will add a new flyover ramp connecting NW 12 Street to the expressway. Connections will also be completed between the Dolphin and Palmetto expressways. The Dolphin Expressway project is expected to cost $65.9 million.

Photo by Ben Schumin
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials plan to move forward with the $2.3 billion Green Line extension that has been delayed for about a year. The agency hired a new manager for the project that will add 4.7 miles to the Boston light rail line into Medford and Somerville. The authority and the state department of transportation are also renewing a request to the Federal Transit Administration for a $1 billion grant to subsidize the project.

The Rhode Island Division of Planning is seeking a consultant to help develop Rhode Island's Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The LRTP will be an action-oriented plan, outlining recommendations for the state's transportation investments over the next 20 years. As part of the long-range transportation planning process, the state will also develop a stand-alone Bicycle Mobility Plan, a long-term, strategic investment plan for bicycle infrastructure. The request for proposals can be found here. The submission deadline is Dec. 7.

San Jose, Calif., officials will use $2.25 million to make over Chynoweth Avenue into a green street. A $2 million grant awarded to the Association of Bay Area Governments from the state's Department of Water Resources and $250,000 in matching funds from the city of San Jose will pay for the improvements. The new green street will include a bio-retention infrastructure to improve water quality and reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff reaching local creeks. New trees and landscaping, sidewalks, crosswalks and lighting will help complete the transformation.  Construction is expected to start in late March and finish by late July.

The Texas Transportation Commission will receive a $285 million loan to finance the reconstruction and expansion of Interstate 35E in the Dallas metro area. U.S. Department of Transportation officials announced the funding through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and administered by the department's Build America Bureau. The project will be constructed in three phases to expand a 28-mile section of I-35E between I-635 and U.S. 380. The section will help serve the growing areas around southern and central Denton County.

West Virginia state officials have recommended $5.1 million Appalachian Regional Commission grants for 11 economic development and infrastructure projects across the state. About $1.5 million will be used to replace water lines in Welch. Sewage inflow corrections in Reedy will cost about $430,000 and $1.85 million will be used to extend public water service in Flatwoods area. Funds will also be used for sewer mapping, technical assistance and other projects.

News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a public policy think tank, has released a new report in which it recommends the federal government create seven regional public-private partnership (P3/PPP) units. The P3 units would be used to educate the public sector and help agencies use P3s to effectively meet the nation's infrastructure needs. The report, Private Participation in US Infrastructure: The Role of PPP Units, details the country's infrastructure problems and ways in which P3s can be used to address those problems.


An Oklahoma public-private partnership (P3/PPP) has opened a $17 million interchange on Interstate 40 in El Reno, Okla. The P3, which includes the state department of transportation and an energy company, began building the Radio Road interchange about a year ago. The energy company paid the state's part of the construction costs and secured right-of-way to add the interchange. The project included reconstruction and widening of the Radio Road Bridge over I-40 and adding new ramps.


Westchester County, N.Y., officials announced plans to run Westchester County Airport as a public-private partnership (P3/PPP). The P3 agreement will be structured under a 40-year revenue-sharing lease with a management company. The county will receive an upfront payment of $130 million and a revenue sharing agreement is expected to provide an additional $111 million over the course of the lease. The management company will also build a new on-site wastewater treatment facility to capture deicing fluid and spend at least $30 million on capital improvements at the airport in the first five years.


Virginia officials announced a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) contract to build express toll lanes along Interstate 66 outside the Capital Beltway that they say will save $2.5 billion. The state selected a consortium to finance, design, maintain and operate the 22.5-mile toll expressway under a 50-year concession. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2022. The agreement includes a $500 million payment to the state and a commitment for $800 million in public transit improvements and $350 million in other transportation projects along the I-66 corridor.


The District of Columbia's Office of Public-Private Partnerships (DC OP3) officials announced the agency will accept unsolicited proposals during limited time periods each year to spur innovative solutions to the District's infrastructure needs. The next open proposal period will begin on Nov. 28 and close Jan. 26.  Click here for more information on proposal submissions. For a list of some of the projects currently being considered by the District, click here

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