Volume 8, Issue 11 - June 8, 2016
Not all PPPs related to infrastructure ... some more creative than costly
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Population growth is good for cities in so many ways. More jobs and economic vitality - public officials tend to love growth. But, there are detriments as well.

With more citizens to serve, infrastructure and resources get stretched very quickly. There is rarely enough revenue to cover the need for increased resources and services. That is especially true in the area of fire department services.

The city of Conroe, Texas, has experienced enough growth to warrant new fire stations and additional resources.

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NASCIO report finds states lag on Internet of Things
Survey responses indicate that cities ahead in implementing policy for connected world
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) tomorrow will host the mayors of the seven finalist cities in the USDOT's Smart City Challenge. Those municipalities aren't alone in implementing technology in new and innovative ways to better serve their residents. But, what about state governments?

"Cities and municipalities have been working toward the designation of 'smart city' for a while now," said Darryl Ackley, secretary of New Mexico's Department of Information Technology and president of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). "The more organized and methodical states can be about implementing IoT (Internet of Things), the more successful and useful the outcomes."

NASCIO last year surveyed state CIOs about their efforts to address and make use of the Internet of Things, a term used to describe the network of devices connected digitally. Those devices can range from thermostats to smartphones to vehicles to health care monitoring equipment. The survey's results were published last month in a report called "Value and Vulnerability: The Internet of Things in a Connected State Government." It found that most states have yet to advance very far at all in terms of incorporating the IoT into policy planning.

Almost a quarter of respondents reported that there has been no discussion of the Internet of Things at all, while just more than half of the CIOs said their agencies are still in the informal discussions stage. Only 6 percent of the respondents have included the topic of the IoT in their state strategic plans, and not one state has developed a roadmap that would guide implementation of the Internet of Things into state operations, much less devised a formal IoT policy.

Still, that does not mean that states are being left behind completely. The NASCIO report includes examples of how states are using IoT-connected technology to improve the quality and efficiency of state services.

For instance, both Illinois and Texas mandate the use of electronic visit verification for home health services. Home health providers are required to use GPS systems when making home visits, which ensures that patients receive the care they need and reduces fraudulently documented visits.

Congress reviews policies regarding surplus buildings
House bill would create board to recommend property, buildings to divest
The federal government is the largest owner of real estate in the nation. Most of this property is land in western states, and the total value of all of that land has been estimated to be about $230 billion. The Obama Administration has begun efforts to divest the government of some of this land that has been deemed excess.

But, in addition to the hundreds of millions of acres of land that, by some estimates, takes up about 30 percent of the nation's surface, the federal government also owns tens of thousands of buildings that are either empty or have been declared underutilized. Congress has begun to act on those properties, too.

The U.S. House last month passed a bill dealing with the surplus buildings owned by the federal government. Among other policy changes, the bill would form the Public Buildings Reform Board, which would identify "opportunities for the government to reduce significantly its inventory of civilian real property and reduce costs to the government." The board's chairman would be appointed by the president and its members by the White House and congressional leadership.

The bill would require every federal agency to report to the board an inventory of all federal civilian property with data containing age, square footage, operating costs and condition. The information would be used to create a database of all property owned by the federal government. Such a resource does not currently exist, so any reference to the amount or value of property owned by the U.S. government is necessarily an estimate.

The board would submit a report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with recommendations of properties that could be sold. The first round of recommendations would not exceed $2.5 billion in value, and the second report would be submitted a year later. The maximum value of recommended properties for that report would not exceed $4.75 billion.

The congressional action follows on the heels of White House policy. In 2013, the Obama Administration initiated a program called "Freeze the Footprint," which was designed to maintain the size of federal property ownership. David Mader, the chief financial officer of the OMB, issued a real estate management policy memo in March 2015 that installed a stepped-up program called "Reduce the Footprint." It required agency CFOs to set annual targets for reducing the total square footage occupied by the agencies, with those reductions to begin in 2016.
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Wake County approves $1.98B construction program
The Wake County, N.C., Board of Education last week approved a $1.98 billion school construction program that would cover the school district's capital requirements through 2023. The seven-year building program would construct 14 new schools and includes 11 major campus renovation projects. The new schools would include 10 elementary campuses, in addition to two middle and high schools. Many of the new campuses are projected for the southwestern region of the county, an area that is undergoing an expansion project that will complete the Interstate 540 loop around Raleigh. "This is a program that moves us forward in terms of dealing with some long-overdue capital needs," said Bill Fletcher (pictured), chairman of the school board's facilities committee. A bond election is being considered to pay for the construction and renovations, but county commissioners have not yet decided whether to call the election for November 2016 or 2018. If the latter date is chosen, the county would issue already approved bonds to pay for the earliest scheduled projects.
Iowa regents report reviews sites for joint campus
The Board of Regents for the state of Iowa commissioned a report to identify a location suited to build a joint campus for the state's three regent universities: the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. That report was submitted at the end of last month with a determination that Downtown Des Moines would be the best location for such a campus. The search was prompted by the University of Iowa's acquisition last year of the AIB College of Business in Des Moines, and the report's writers researched that location, as well as four others. They determined the downtown area would make the most sense, though the location could be cost-prohibitive considering land and construction costs in the city's urban core. While no funding plan has been secured for the project, the report is among the first steps toward locating a campus in Des Moines. The consulting firm that devised the report will present it to the regents at their next meeting, June 9.
ConnDOT, Metro-North agree to replace Walk Bridge
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and the Metro-North Railroad of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) have reached an agreement to replace a 118-year-old railroad bridge over the Norwalk River. The bridge consists of four tracks across the river and carries more than 165 commuter and freight trains daily. Called the Walk Bridge, it is a swing bridge that opens for river traffic by rotating on a central pivot. It is owned by ConnDOT and maintained by Metro-North Railroad. Preliminary design work on the bridge replacement has begun, and the new bridge will include two independent movable spans to incorporate a redundancy into the system. Currently, when the swing mechanism malfunctions, the bridge is disabled and the entire Metro-North line is halted. Construction is projected to start on the $465 million project sometime in mid-2018 after three preparatory construction projects are completed. It will be procured using the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) delivery method. The new bridge is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2020.
Officials issue design RFP for Fort Wayne arena
The Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board of Managers has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking to identify an architectural and engineering firm to design an arena for the city of Fort Wayne, Ind. The arena will seat between 5,000 and 6,000 people and feature sporting, entertainment and cultural events. It will be constructed immediately west of the Grand Wayne Convention Center, and planners intend for the arena to be used in conjunction with the convention center. Proposals will need to include a timeline of the design phase, as well as cost estimates for the project. The Board of Managers will use those projections to determine if the project is feasible to pursue. The procurement process will be a short one. Proposals are due June 22, a short list will be released a week later, and the contract will be awarded by July 22.
COTA gets federal grant for Columbus bus rapid transit
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has received a $37.4 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) that will allow the agency to implement a bus rapid transit system. Called CMAX, the transit system will reduce travel times by more than 20 percent, according to projections, when it begins operations in January 2018. COTA will cover the remaining costs of the system, $11.2 million. Bus rapid transit stops will feature illuminated 18-foot pylons that will be visible in the dark and will have digital screens that display real-time bus arrival information. COTA first began to study the system about five years ago, and it is a key component of the city's application for the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart Cities Challenge. The line will run along Cleveland Avenue, primarily, supplementing the transit agency's busiest bus route, and it will use a dedicated bus lane to make stops in the downtown area.
Sea Bright council approves funding for construction
The borough council in Sea Bright, N.J., last week voted to fund two major municipal building projects. The first is an 8,690-square-foot community center and beach pavilion that will feature a library, lifeguard station, rental space and bathrooms. Council members also approved the construction of a municipal building to house the police and fire departments, as well as the borough's office of emergency management and parking space for Department of Public Works vehicles. A substantial portion of the projects will be paid for with money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and from insurance funds provided after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The borough will cover the rest through bond funds and its beach access fund.
Asheville High School requires $25 million roof repair
Asheville High School in Asheville, N.C., is nearly 90 years old and serves 1,500 students. Its roof leaks, which has caused extensive water damage to the school, Asheville City Schools Superintendent Pamela Baldwin (pictured) told members of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners last week. The county is responsible for funding repairs to Asheville City Schools. The high school requires about $25 million in renovations and repairs, including a replacement for the leaking roof. "I think we have done as much as we can do in the form of patchwork," Baldwin said. "Because we have so much internal leaking at this point, it will be very difficult to stop any other leaking with patchwork." Officials have said they hope to begin the project by the end of the summer.
Detroit region transit master plan to cost $4.6 billion
The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan last week released a long-term master plan for a four-county region around Detroit. If the RTA's board members offer their formal approval, voters in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties will vote in November on a tax increase that would fund the $4.6 billion plan. The tax increase would pay for multiple bus rapid transit lines and a new commuter rail line. Those are the largest projects in the master plan, but several other transportation and transit projects are included, as well. Among them would be express service to Detroit Metro Airport along five separate lines, connecting Downtown Detroit and Ann Arbor, among other localities, to the airport. The master plan also includes upgrades to the region's transit centers and maintenance facilities, as well as a new system to pay transit fares for various transit providers through a unified fare card.
Plans to build tennis facility in Florence progress
Veterans Memorial Park in Florence, Ala., will get a makeover in the coming years that will include a new amphitheater, walking trails and other additions. More immediately, the park will be the site of a new tennis center. The Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Center has hired an architect to design the complex, which has been in the works for several years. Plans call for a 31-court facility that would serve the community and as a home to regional tournaments. "I think the tennis facility does several things for the community. It certainly offers a facility for our residents. It's a quality-of-life anchor for our community and the opportunity to create junior programs and then to create tournaments in our area," said Rob Carnegie (pictured), president and chief executive officer of the tourist board. Currently, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) owns Veterans Park and leases it to the city, though city officials are discussing a possible purchase of the park. When the design process is completed, officials will put the construction out to bid.
County, city approve funding for sheriff's station
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department will soon get a new facility to serve as the Santa Clarita Valley Station. Members of the Santa Clarita City Council last month agreed to provide $36 million for the project, and Los Angeles County supervisors last week voted to contribute $15 million of county funds. The new 4,339-square-foot sheriff's station will replace the current facility, which was built in 1972. The current station opened before Santa Clarita was incorporated and contains just 2,500 square feet of space. "It was originally built to house 90 people, and today it's doing about three times that many," City Councilman Dante Acosta said. "Two hundred and fifty people are working there, and it's quite a burden on the staff that's there." The new station will include a 4,000-square-foot service garage and a helipad. The city will own the property and the building. The project's $51 million cost is composed of $38.5 million for construction, $11.5 million for design and project management and $1 million for equipment and furniture.
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Pennsylvania legislature working on PPP bill
The state of Pennsylvania has been home to public-private partnerships (PPPs/P3s) for several years, many of them innovative such as the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project. But, most of these projects have come in the area of transportation. Members of the state legislature are seeking to change that with a bill that would allow the use of PPPs to develop other types of infrastructure. The kinds of projects that would be eligible under House Bill 2113's pilot program are water, wastewater and stormwater; schools and other educational infrastructure; government buildings; telecommunications infrastructure; and utility projects. The legislation divides the state into six regions and limits eligible projects to two in each of them. Additionally, the projects must be valued at more than $25 million. The pilot program would run until the last project developed under it is completed. The bill's author is Rep. Eli Evankovich (pictured).
Washington, D.C.'s OP3 soliciting for consulting firm
Officials with Washington, D.C.'s Office of Public-Private Partnerships (OP3) have issued a draft version of a request for proposals (RFP) seeking to identify consulting firms to aid the office. The goal of the procurement process is to develop a pool of contractors who would be eligible to respond to task orders for individual projects. The firms would advise OP3 staff members in matters of business management, financing decisions and legal services. The OP3 will host a pre-solicitation conference June 20, and the formal RFP is expected to be released by the end of the month. Bidders will need to register with the district's Office of Contracting and Procurement in order to participate in the procurement process. The municipal government of Washington, D.C., established the OP3 in November 2015 to lead the district's efforts to build collaborations between the private sector and government on large-scale infrastructure development projects.
Easton officials finishing work on development plan
City leaders in Easton, Pa., are preparing to host the final public meetings to discuss the city's 20-year comprehensive development plan. The document will guide officials' decisions as they plan for development, infrastructure projects and transportation projects. The last time the comprehensive plan was updated was 1997. The revised plan includes a proposal to build a pedestrian bridge over the Lehigh River to reconnect two neighborhoods. Other priorities include the development future of the city's waterfront area, which officials hope will receive more tourism business. City leaders, too, will use the planning process to establish guidelines for how the municipality seeks out and utilizes public-private partnerships (PPPs/P3s). The plan identifies PPPs as a method that will help the city's waterfront area reach its potential. The authors of the comprehensive plan have called for coordinating the city's tourism and development efforts with neighboring cities' leaders, as well.
Port Authority closes deal for LaGuardia lease
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is the agency overseeing the major construction projects at New York City's LaGuardia Airport. Last week, Port Authority officials reached financial close on a 34-year lease with LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the consortium managing the public-private partnership (PPP/P3) project. The deal calls for the group to design, build, operate and maintain the facility. It will include renovation and expansion of LaGuardia's central terminal, doubling its size to about 1.3 million square feet and 35 gates. The project will also construct two pedestrian bridges over aircraft taxi lanes, a new entrance hall and a new parking garage connected to the terminal by a pedestrian walkway. The renovated airport will serve 17.5 million passengers annually and offer new restaurants and improved baggage and screening areas. The renovated facilities will begin to open in 2018, and the entire project will be completed by the end of 2021.
Charleston officials consider parking garage PPP
Officials in Charleston, W.Va., are conducting an assessment of the city's parking needs in the downtown area. City staff members are collecting data from a parking inventory earlier in the spring and will conduct another survey in the summer. They will pull together the research and prepare a report to present to the city council before the end of the year. "We'll be able to look at charts, so we can see what we have and how it's actually being used on a given day and at a given time," said Sherry Risk (pictured), a project manager with the city manager's office. Her staff also will host public meetings to gather public input on the parking needs of the city. Among the options being considered to create more parking in Charleston is a public-private partnership (PPP/P3) that would finance the construction of a parking garage on city-owned property. The project was pitched by a local developer who wants to convert an office building adjacent to the city-owned property into residential condos. The developer has said a municipally owned public parking garage would be essential to his redevelopment of the property. City Manager David Molgaard has said that city staff will consider the proposition.

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