Volume 8, Issue 37 - December 14, 2016
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
America's airports no longer compete well on a global scale. Not a single one is currently ranked in the top 10 worldwide. That must change.

Funding has simply not been available and cities have been forced to "make do" for entirely too long. Change is coming though, as city leaders find innovative and collaborative ways to renovate, expand and upgrade their airport facilities.

Major U.S. airport hubs such as Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Atlanta are working hard to keep pace with new trends in the ever-evolving airline industry. To reduce labor and fuel costs, airlines now use larger airplanes that hold many more passengers. This has resulted in fewer and less frequent flights, and it forces more people to crowd into terminals that were never designed to accommodate such traffic. Most terminals were built to handle mid-sized planes - not the towering Boeing 787s that have become the norm. The airports are short on space, restrooms, guest seating and restaurant capacity. Security is problematic and crowding creates stress for everyone.
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The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the cities of Birmingham, Charlotte, Albuquerque, Omaha and Tacoma will receive support in planning development near transit systems as part of its Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Technical Assistance Initiative. The initiative supports efforts to create mixed-use, walkable communities near transit with a focus on economically disadvantaged populations.

"The Department of Transportation places a high priority on investing in transportation projects that improve the prosperity of low- and moderate-income communities and stimulate economic development in areas that need it," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We are pleased to provide this technical assistance to help local leaders create practical, equitable, community-sensitive development plans."

The five communities will receive in-depth, long-term technical assistance as they plan TOD strategies. FTA will work with the nonprofit Smart Growth America to provide a variety of planning and analysis tools tailored to the needs of each community.
Alabama's Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority will receive technical assistance to support an area plan around a new bus rapid transit (BRT) station. The project will develop a plan to maximize TOD potential around the transit center and created a set of tools that can be replicated around other BRT stations.

The House and Senate have approved a comprehensive water resources infrastructure bill, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. If signed by the president, the legislation will authorize $170 million to help Flint, Mich., officials continue to address the city's contaminated water supply. Nearly $12 billion will be authorized for ports, dams and waterways projects.


The legislation includes $300 million for small and disadvantaged communities to meet Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act mandates; $515 million in new funding for water recycling, water resource and water storage projects; $50 million in new funding to advance water infrastructure research in the use of innovation water technologies; $300 million to replace lead drinking water infrastructure in communities and schools; $100 million for drinking water infrastructure emergencies identified by the president; improvement of the existing Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act; reauthorization of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative providing $1.5 billion for clean water infrastructure and habitat improvement projects; and reauthorization of the Water Desalination Act of 1996.


U.S. Department of Transportation officials are seeking proposals for entities wishing to become designated Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers. Designated centers will be recognized for their capability in finding solutions to the challenges identified in the Beyond Traffic report through research, curriculum, outreach and other activities. The centers will form a community of researchers, students and thought leaders who can help drive U.S. transportation systems forward.


Eligible entities include non-profit organizations and non-profit higher educational institutions. The deadline for proposals is Dec. 21. Click here for more information.

U.S. Department of Transportation officials announced a new resource for communities, cities, regions and states to train emerging transportation leaders: the Every Place Counts Leadership Academy Transportation Toolkit. The toolkit is part of a package of educational materials that are downloadable and free.


"If you have a transportation idea, concern or challenge on your mind, or if you want to participate in the process of making decisions about transportation, this toolkit is for you," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "As we worked on the Design Challenge, it was clear that communities have important feedback about the transportation options in their area and that we in the transportation community need to be clear about the process."


The materials released include explanations of how to participate in transportation decision-making using clear design and plain language, a quick guide, video on the Leadership Academy, an online resource library and a facilitator's guide.


For more information about the Every Place Counts Leadership Academy Transportation Toolkit, visit www.transportation.gov/LeadershipAcademy.

Upcoming contracting opportunities

St. Louis officials are moving forward with efforts to help build a new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters in the city. U.S. Department of Defense officials issued the city a land acquisition waiver allowing city leaders to enter into an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a 100-acre site. The city is also now allowed to issue $108 million in bonds to help fund the land acquisition and begin work on the site. The $1.7 billion facility is estimated to be completed in 2021.


Michigan leaders want to build a new lock connecting Lakes Superior and Huron at Sault Ste. Marie. A cost-benefit analysis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the next step in the process. In 2005, the estimate to complete the lock was $580 million. Preliminary work started in 2009, but was stalled. A recent report from a state infrastructure commission has revived interest in completing the project. The report indicated an economic loss of $1.1 trillion could be possible if the existing lock capable of handling the biggest freighters, Poe Lock, breaks down for six months.


Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials announced seven new stations for a planned Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford are now scheduled to open in 2021. The extension is estimated to cost $2.3 billion. The project would build 4.7 miles of track and extend the Green Line from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford. A new team of contractors is expected to be selected by the end of 2017.


Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board members voted to expand the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel to alleviate a traffic bottleneck. The $4 billion project includes adding a third tunnel and expanding 12 miles of Interstate 64 from four to six lanes. The added lanes will likely be high-occupancy toll lanes, which would require that a vehicle carry three people to avoid a toll during peak hours. The Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission is in charge of funding regional projects. Funding for the project comes from bonding, regional gas tax revenue, federal loans and tolls.


Federal officials announced a $1.65 billion facility will be built in eastern Idaho to handle fuel waste from nuclear-powered warships. The new construction will be at the U.S. Energy Department's Naval Reactors facility in southeastern Idaho. The facility is necessary to support the operational needs of the U.S. Navy. Construction is expected to begin in 2019. The facility will include storage spaces to submerge waste in water to cool before transferring to dry storage areas.


San Antonio's CPS Energy is seeking a general contractor for its new $122 million headquarters. The municipally-owned energy utility is accepting bids for a 430,000-square-foot property at Avenue B and McCullough Avenue. The 1980s buildings will be upgraded and renovated for better aesthetics and energy efficiency. The project will include a new 1,200-space parking garage and will likely feature a solar panel array. The utility will seek a LEED Gold certification for the project. Click here for more information.


The Houston area's Metropolitan Transit Authority has issued a request for information for developers interested in investing in a commuter line along US 90A and other unfinished projects. The project would link Harris and Fort Bend counties in Texas, providing access to downtown Houston and the Texas Medical Center from areas of southwest Houston and Missouri City. The project would be about eight miles long. Responses are due by Feb. 7. Click here for more information.


Mississippi Department of Transportation officials have announced the 2017-2020 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program that outlines four years of planned transportation improvement activities and expenditures in Mississippi. This planning tool serves as the framework for the development of the state's transportation system. The updated plan includes $354.6 million for bridge replacement projects, $353.2 million for operation/maintenance/minor reconstruction and $53.6 million for safety projects. The program is updated every two years and does not include some safety projects, most emergency relief projects and most planning or research activities. To view the plan, click here.


Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials are seeking proposals from companies interested in working in accordance with the RhodeWorks Act to create and operate electronic tolling facilities for state's truck-only tolling program. Construction of these tolling facilities will create the funds for the reconstruction of damaged bridges. Rhode Island bridge conditions have been criticized by some as the worst in the nation.  The RhodeWorks legislation allows the state to toll for the purpose of fixing more than 150 structurally deficient bridges and making repairs to another 500 bridges to prevent them from becoming deficient. The tolling facilities will contain all-electronic tolling with no tollbooths and an open-road tolling system with no stopping to pay toll fees. Only large commercial vehicles will be charged a toll. Click here for more information.


A Michigan panel selected by Gov. Rick Snyder has recommended the state spend an additional $4 billion a year on infrastructure. The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission issued a report calling for a unified approach to planning, including the creation of a statewide database of assets such as roads, bridges, sewers, water mains, fiber-optic cables and energy supply lines. Panel members also urged the state lawmakers to create a statewide infrastructure commission to coordinate projects.

News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

Pima County, Ariz., officials are seeking private entities to enter into a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) for the construction of Kino South. The planned $55 million sports facility would be located on 167 acres of land near Kino Parkway and I-10. It would include 21 soccer fields, 14 restaurants, retail space and basketball and volleyball courts. The facility would be an extension of Kino North, the home of a professional soccer team, FC Tucson. Officials plan to issue a request for proposals in mid-2017 that will call for companies with experience in this type of venue.


The U.S. President's Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity released a final report that emphasized public-private partnerships (P3/PPP) as a way to improve cybersecurity. The commissioners assessed the state of our nation's cybersecurity and developed recommendations for securing the digital economy. The recommendations are meant to enhance cybersecurity while at the same time protecting privacy, ensuring public safety and economic and national security and fostering the discovery and development of new technical solutions. Some recommended actions included building a roadmap to improve security of digital networks, creating exchange programs and developing an educated and experienced cyber workforce. Commissioners reported that the joint collaboration between the public and private sectors before, during and after a cyber event must be strengthened.


Seminole State College of Florida trustees voted to move forward on the construction of a second building at the Altamonte Springs Campus. Officials will enter into a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) with a developer who will lease land from the college and construct the building. The college will then lease back about 45 percent of the building. The 178,000-square-foot building will house health sciences facilities as well as office and retail space. Construction is expected to begin by Nov. 1, 2017.


The Cross-Border Trade Enhancement Act could improve trade-related infrastructure on the U.S. border through public-private partnerships (P3/PPP). The legislation has passed both houses of Congress and if signed by the president it would  give the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the General Services Administration greater authority to enter into P3 agreements with entities in local governments and the private sector to make improvements in infrastructure, staffing and traffic flow at U.S. ports of entry. The bill expands P3 pilot programs authorized in 2013 and 2014, and removes some limitations on reimbursable service agreements.


Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad announced a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) to increase broadband connectivity across the state. Through a Blue Ribbon Initiative, $2 million in private funds will be raised to assist with broadband expansion planning in communities. Branstad said getting high-speed broadband to rural communities in Iowa is vital to economic success. Click here for more information.

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