Volume 8, Issue 2 - April 6, 2016
Counties lead the way with collaboration
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
In election years, especially this one, it's easy to focus only on national politics. The media could easily lead us to believe that everything important is happening nationally. But, that is definitely not true! In fact, it appears that more good things are happening at the local levels of government.

Counties have particularly been interesting to watch lately because of so many diverse initiatives that have proved successful. Some of the projects are worthy of national recognition. They may serve as models to other public entities.

It seems that county officials throughout the U.S. saw that public funding was drying up and they bought into the concept of collaboration with private firms.




In This Issue
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity
identification for all 50 states.

Click here for more information.
Government Contracting Pipeline Archives
View our other newsletter, Texas Government Insider
Illinois goes big in move toward IT consolidation
Governor's plan to build out infrastructure, emphasize data use gets legislative OK
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner ran for election in 2014 on his record as a businessman and with promises to streamline government and bring private-sector innovation to the state's business. Among his priorities has been the state government's information technology (IT) services.

"Illinois has been woeful. We've been way behind, decades behind, in use of technology to provide higher-quality services, more efficient services, for the people of Illinois," Rauner has said. "And, unfortunately, we've been spending a lot of money on our technology while providing a low level of service and a low level of modernization."

To combat those issues, Rauner issued an executive order in January creating the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), which combines the state's various IT services and the 1,700 IT employees within one department. The announcement of the consolidation stressed that 29 "other states, the city of Chicago and much of the private sector consolidate technology functions into central departments," leaving little doubt of Rauner's sense of urgency.

In charge of the new department is Illinois Chief Information Officer Hardik Bhatt (pictured), whose remit is to modernize the state's technology systems by 2019. Bhatt has noted that the oldest computer system dated back to 1974. "It's a 45-year journey."

The executive order became effective last week, as the state legislature had 60 days from its issuance to oppose it formally. Bhatt and his staff spent much of the time since then speaking to legislators, convincing them of the merit of the plan.

"We kind of knew about a month ago that we weren't going to get any opposition, but we still didn't want to take anything for granted," Bhatt said. "Fortunately, we spent some good time with legislators on both sides, and all of them were wholeheartedly supportive of those things."

While Bhatt has spent time lobbying in favor of the consolidation and studying the state of the current IT infrastructure, budgets and contracts, he and his staff have begun work on the streamlining initiative already.

They are in the process of implementing a unified enterprise resource planning system across state government, eliminating hundreds of systems various state agencies had used to handle their finances. Rauner has said the move will cut down on "hundreds of millions of dollars in accounting errors" that have dogged the state's audit process. The department also has made it possible for workers to renew professional licenses online, which they had not been able to do beforehand. Another recent switch has been the replacement of the mainframe computer system used by the Department of Corrections with a cloud-based system, which is designed to provide prison staff with inmate information in real time and allow them to measure outcomes in a more efficient manner.

Bhatt is conducting a search to hire the state's first chief data officer, as well. The chosen candidate will help the department transform the state's operations into what Bhatt calls a "data-driven government."

BATIC releases report on transportation P3s
USDOT P3 center outlines best practices, highlights successes from around nation
The Obama Administration in 2014 formed the Build America Transportation Investment Center (BATIC) with the intention of bringing together in one location expertise regarding innovative methods of project financing. The center was a part of the larger Build America Investment Initiative and designed to provide a central source for all levels of government seeking information and advice surrounding public-private partnerships (P3s) for transportation projects.

The BATIC was to be a resource not just for state and local governments but for the private sector, too. It provides assistance to navigate the world of U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) financing mechanisms such as Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.

BATIC also was formed to provide technical assistance by "sharing best practices from states that are leading the way on private investment with states that have not yet adopted innovative financing strategies."

To that end, the center last month published a report called "Successful Practices for P3s." In announcing the report, BATIC Executive Director Andrew Right wrote, "By the end of this decade, the American Society of Civil Engineers predicts we will face a $1 trillion funding gap for transportation. To address this shortfall, we must use every tool available, including public-private partnerships, which offer an opportunity to tap new financing sources, transfer certain project delivery risks and lock in long-term, high-quality performance."

The report offers advice to those unfamiliar with how P3s work or unsure about the efficacy of the model. One part of that advice comes in the form of a strong recommendation to create a centralized P3 unit, staffed by employees with "specialized skills - including expertise in risk allocation, private financing and concession contracting - that are not typically found" in transportation departments.

Another word of caution arises around the subject of project selection. The report advises a P3 project be chosen from a government's long-range transportation plan, as those have been analyzed deeply and studied for their technical feasibility and transportation benefits. "Projects suitable for P3s are typically large and complex, providing opportunities for innovation in delivery. As with any major project, extensive analysis determines economic benefits and financial viability."

"Successful Practices for P3s" is divided into six chapters and runs to about 70 pages. It highlights real-world examples of states and local governments that have developed expertise in P3s and have had success with the model. They include the states of Texas and Virginia, as well as the Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Strategic P3 program.

Upcoming contracting opportunities

NY state budget includes $1.5B for 2nd Avenue subway
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and members of the state legislature last week reached an agreement to fund the next phase of a project to build a subway line on the east side of Manhattan along 2nd Avenue. The project has been discussed for nearly 100 years but met roadblocks continually along the way. The first phase is now under construction and is scheduled to be completed by December. That stretch of rail travels from 63rd Street to 96th Street. Funding for the second phase, which would stretch from 96th Street to 125th Street, had been removed from the budget of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) due to funding concerns. Last week's agreement restored the money and sets the ground for the next phase of construction. MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast called the budget agreement a "monumental win for the people of New York." Of the $1.5 billion allotted for the project, $633 billion will be spent on tunnel boring.
Amtrak plans $50 million renovation of Union Station
Amtrak officials have announced plans to build a new $50 million concourse at Washington, D.C.'s Union Station. The project would double the space for passengers and improve circulation throughout the often cramped station by 2020. The design calls for shifting the concourse's north wall in a move that will add 20,000 square feet of space and provide additional restrooms, boarding gates, seating, an Amtrak police station and a lounge. While work on mechanical systems in that area of the station will begin this summer, construction won't commence until the spring of 2017, with completion scheduled for 2019 or 2020. "This work and other planned improvements will transform Union Station's capacity and performance, befitting the vital regional gateway and civic hub the station has become since its redevelopment in 1988," said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak's executive vice president. The expansion will serve Amtrak passengers, as well as riders of other local and regional transit services, such as Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and Maryland Area Regional Commute (MARC).
Baraka: Newark needs $1 billion to fix water system
The city of Newark, N.J., is like many localities throughout the country in these months since the water crisis in Flint, Mich., hit the news. Mayor Ras Baraka (pictured) last week spoke of the city water system's need of more than $1 billion in infrastructure repairs and replacement. "It's a huge undertaking to just deal with the water systems in the schools, and then the infrastructure problems that we have as a city would be huge, of course," Baraka said. "We don't have the money and the resources to do that." The mayor has worked with his city's state representatives and senators on a bill that would create a 10-cent bottle deposit throughout the state, proceeds from which would be dedicated to updating outdated water systems. Newark's own water system needs wholesale repairs, including pipes, water mains and combined sewer overflows; Baraka said the estimated costs could rise to more than $1 billion.
University of Nebraska Omaha plans expansion
Officials with the University of Nebraska are planning an expansion of the school's Omaha location and have made a deal to acquire an office building adjacent to its Pacific Campus. The 194,000-square-foot building had been owned by a payment processing company. It now will provide additional space for program growth for the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO), specifically in the information technology, national security and business departments. "This is a win for UNO, (the company) and the state," Chancellor John Christensen said. "The building is a tremendous resource for our campus that will set the stage for the next phase of growth at UNO." The building was purchased by the University of Nebraska Foundation, which will transfer ownership to the university. The state legislature has allotted the funding for the building's renovation.
FHWA grant program to test alternative funding
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) last week announced a $15 million grant program, available for states to test alternative revenue collection to help fund transportation projects. The Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) program, established in 2015's highway bill (the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, or FAST), was created to prolong the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. It will fund projects that "test the design, implementation and acceptance of user-based alternative revenue mechanisms." The program will provide $15 million in grants for fiscal year 2016 and $20 million each year from 2017 through 2020. The grants will be available only to states or groups of states and must make up no more than 50 percent of the total proposed project costs. "This program may help us identify new sources of revenue to make sure our transportation infrastructure remains strong," said FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau (pictured). "Now is the time to begin finding new funding solutions to be ready for the expanded travel needs of a growing population." Applications for fiscal year 2016 must be submitted by May 20.
Mapleton bond package to fund new elementary school
Voters in Mapleton, N.D., have approved a $7.2 million bond referendum to build a new elementary school. The referendum needed more than 60 percent of the vote to pass and lost by a narrow margin in October 2015. The new school will replace the existing 92-year-old building, which district officials say has outdated infrastructure and doesn't meet safety standards. The school has problems with the heating system and has no central air conditioning. "The building isn't set up for current educational standards," Kenneth Steiner, the school district's business manager, said. "We think it's time to step into the 21st century with a building that provides the students and the staff with the building they need to be successful in their efforts." Construction will start by the end of summer, and the new school is scheduled to be ready by the fall of 2017. About 85 students currently attend classes at Mapleton Elementary School, and district administrators expect enrollment to climb in the coming years. The school now houses students in pre-kindergarten through the sixth grade, though the new school will include students through the eighth grade.
Tennessee budget includes $2 billion in roads projects
Tennessee Transportation Commissioner John Schroer last week released a $2 billion roads plan that will invest in 79 individual projects in 42 counties, as well as 15 statewide programs. The three-year plan will be included in Gov. Bill Haslam's proposed annual spending plan for Fiscal Year 2016-2017, which still has to be approved by the General Assembly. Officials with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) say the state has a $6.1 billion backlog of previously approved projects and another $6 billion in projects that are awaiting approval. Funding provided through the 2015 congressional highway bill has already increased the state's roads budget. Fiscal 2017's budget will have $965 million available for TDOT projects, versus $660 million in the current year's budget. Among the projects in the proposed $2 billion package will be an estimated $46 million project designed to ease congestion around an Interstate 24 interchange in Chattanooga. The state will purchase right-of-way for a collector distributor road in 2017 and begin construction in 2019. Property acquisition costs are estimated at about $9 million, and the construction estimate is about $37 million.
Shawnee County to rebuild Willard Bridge
Members of the Shawnee County, Kan., Commission last week approved an $8.5 million loan that will fund the replacement of an aging bridge. The project has been in discussions for more than a year, held up by questions of how to pay for it, but last week the commission reached an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for the interest-free loan. The commission decided in November 2015 on a $24.7 million budget to demolish the current bridge and replace it. In addition to the KDOT loan, the county will pay for the project through sales taxes allotted for road construction. The bridge is three miles north of Interstate 70 and was built in 1955. In 2009, it was placed on a list of priority transportation needs, and since that time, county officials have had to lower weight limits on the bridge. For more than a year, the bridge has had a structural safety rating of 23.7 on a scale of 100.
Maricopa County to release RFP for ballpark repairs
Officials with Maricopa County, Ariz., released a request for proposals (RFP) for repairs to Chase Field, the stadium for the Arizona Diamond Backs. However, the RFP was released in error, and the county withdrew it almost immediately. "There are a number of projects the Stadium District needs to complete after the current baseball season," said county spokesman Fields Moseley. "The project schedule takes months of planning, but this RFP was not ready for publication and will be rescheduled soon." The $3.5 million project will conduct structural repairs at the ballpark. It originally called for responses to be due May 21. This project is one small part of a larger construction program, which could require as much as $187 million in repairs and improvements to the baseball stadium.
Oregon allocates $196 million in federal money to STIP
Members of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) last year approved a four-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Last week, the OTC was able to add $196 million to the STIP. The new funding came from the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST), the congressional highway bill passed in 2015. "We're fortunate to be able to make this decision, one where we're adding funds instead of taking them away," said Commission Chair Tammy Baney. "Still, those funds need to be focused, and we decided to continue investments in projects and programs that reduce congestion, make state highways more earthquake-resilient and increase transportation options." The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has already allocated where the money will be spent. The chosen projects include $35 million for the first phase of ODOT's seismic resilience program, which will retrofit bridges on US 97 and state highway 58 to ensure access to Oregon from the north and the south in the aftermath of an earthquake. The largest allocation from FAST Act funding will entail adding $77 million for "Fix-It" programs for bridge, pavement, culvert and other preservation projects.

News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

HART releases RFI for transit center P3
The Board of Directors for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) last week issued a request for information (RFI) seeking to identify vendors interested in building a transit center parking garage in Hawaii's capital city. The project will build the garage to serve transit customers and may include retail or residential development above the parking facility. This is a part of a much larger transit project that will build a 20-mile rail line with 21 stations and has been designed with transit-oriented development projects in mind. According to HART officials, the rail system will substantially increase public transportation service on the island of Oahu, with the rail system providing service equivalent to more than 200 new buses. Responses to the RFI are due May 20.
LaGuardia redevelopment project gets upgraded
The renovation of New York City's LaGuardia Airport has gotten an upgrade well before it's even open to the public. The Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last week approved changes to the redevelopment project at LaGuardia, ensuring that it is now much larger than the simple construction of a new terminal. Originally budgeted at $3.6 billion, the reimagined project now will carry a total price tag of $5.3 billion. The consortium of private companies that will partner with the Port Authority, called LaGuardia Gateway Partners, will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the new terminal as part of a 35-year lease. It now also will build a new central hall that connects the terminal to the rest of the airport, add security screening and retail space and, possibly, build a hotel, too. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer has called for the establishment of a nonprofit partnership that includes the project's stakeholders - the two states, the Port Authority, Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New Jersey Transit - to oversee the design of the several projects that make up the larger Gateway Project.
Michigan university plans $175M in campus upgrades
In the midst of a larger campus redevelopment project, officials with Northern Michigan University are planning a public-private partnership (P3) that will replace an aging campus residence hall. "If you look at our Quad I facilities, they were built in 1964-65. They're 52 years old, and they're nearing end of life," Vice President of Finance Gavin Leach (pictured) said. "So you need to look at ways to begin to replace those." The plan calls for a $100 million investment to build housing and dining facilities that will replace a former married student housing facility known as Quad I. The school will work with a private developer to provide affordable housing as part of an effort to reduce the amount of debt students have to take on, he said. Other projects in the larger redevelopment plan include a $10.5 million business innovation center, a $9.5 million military and veterans education center and a $40 million renovation of the Learning Resource Center.
Kentucky legislature finally approves P3 bill
The Kentucky Legislature last week finally passed a bill allowing public-private partnerships (P3s) to finance transportation projects after four years of trying. The State Senate had already passed an amended version of House Bill 309, and last week the House did the same by a large margin. The bill explicitly forbids the addition of tolled lanes on a replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge between Northern Kentucky and Ohio, a sticking point that had held up the legislation in previous attempts. The replacement project will cost $2.6 billion, and both states would need to enact laws authorizing P3s to allow the project to be built with private money. Ohio did so in 2014.  HB 309, however, will allow P3s to be used to finance road and bridge projects elsewhere in the state. Any project that exceeds $25 million must be authorized by the legislature. The bill has been sent to Gov. Matt Bevin, who is expected to sign it into law.
Company submits proposal for Old Dominion stadium
A Virginia Beach, Va., construction company submitted a proposal last week to build a new football stadium for Old Dominion University. The public university in Norfolk has an enrollment of about 25,000 students, and its 2013 master plan called for a new stadium to be constructed on the site of existing campus student housing. The company's proposal argued that the school's plan is too expensive and that the disruption to campus residences isn't worth the effort. Its plan would build a new 25,000-seat stadium for less than $125 million and which would open in time for the 2018 season. The university's plan would cost more than $245 million and take more than six years to complete, according to the proposal. The unsolicited proposal was submitted under the state's Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA). "We have tried to figure out how much we think they can afford, and we are hoping to show them what we can build for that amount, get their feedback and see if the university likes it," said Stephen B. Ballard, the president and CEO of the company. "Then we'll sit down and see if we can tweak it and make it work. It is really up to Old Dominion to fill in the blanks, to tell us what they want and what they can afford."
Collaboration Nation
About Government Contracting Pipeline

Strategic Partnerships, Inc., 901 S. Mopac Expressway, Ste. 1-100, Austin, TX 78746
Sent by cc@spartnerships.com in collaboration with
Constant Contact