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Volume 8, Issue 21 - August 17, 2016
These visionary public officials producing incredible results
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
A few visionary government leaders, in collaboration with private-sector partners, have launched sustainability projects that are producing incredible results. One has to wonder why all governmental entities are not as aggressive. 

Here's a shocking statistic. The city of New York produces 33 million tons of trash each year.  That's so much refuse that landfills can't be built fast enough to contain it all.  So Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a "Zero Waste Challenge" and asked 30 large businesses in the city to reduce their production of waste by half by June. In the five months since the challenge was issued, the city has trimmed its waste production by 50 percent. 

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Federal Railroad agency grants $25 million for PTC
Positive Train Control System implementations keep railroads on track
Photo By I, LooiNL, CC BY-SA 3.0
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded $25 million to projects implementing systems to monitor and control training movements. The systems, known as Positive Train Control (PTC), are designed to increase safety by helping prevent collisions and derailments, enforcing speed restrictions and improving wayside safety.

"Every dollar we invest in implementing Positive Train Control as quickly as possible is money well spent because ultimately it means fewer accidents and fewer fatalities," said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg.

Congress mandated PTC implementation on the main lines of Class I railroads and certain other entities providing intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation. The original implementation deadline for PTC was in December, but legislation was passed last year to extend the deadline through 2018.

Eleven projects in six states and the District of Columbia were selected in this round of funding. 
The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association in Washington, D.C., will receive $2.5 million to develop a crew initialization back office server system. The system will make a back-office product that delivers PTC available to all short line and regional railroads.
The Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company in Minnesota will receive $1.1 million to implement and test PTC systems. The project includes a contract with a back office service and interoperability message software provider, initial activation and licensing fees of hosted back office systems and two PTC equipped locomotives.

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Texas will receive $3 million to implement Enhanced Automatic Train Control. The system will overlay the existing wayside signal system and enhance onboard, wayside and control office equipment and software to create a functional PTC system in the Austin area.

For details on all the projects awarded, visit

Nabers to speak at North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum

Mary Scott Nabers, president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. and co-founder of the Gemini Global Group, will be among the speakers for the CG/LA Infrastructure-sponsored 8th North American Infrastructure Leadership Forum on Oct. 25-27 in Denver.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Mexico City, CG/LA works with both public- and private-sector organizations and can point to 25 years of experience covering all infrastructure sectors in the developed and developing world.

Nabers, a nationally recognized expert in public-private partnerships (P3s/PPPs), was a participant in last year's forum, moderating a panel on P3s that included private-sector experts from the legal, financial, transportation and infrastructure fields as well as from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This year's forum will present North America's top 50 infrastructure projects that offer high-dollar contracting opportunities for financial, equipment and technology, engineering and construction firms as well as for the public sector through collaborative efforts and public-private partnerships. The projects include surface transportation, water and wastewater, new and traditional energy, urban mass transportation, oil and energy, ports and logistics and digital infrastructure. The forum will include private meetings with project presenters and event sponsors, workshops and round tables discussions and multiple networking opportunities. Registration is now open.
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PA transportation agency updates 12-year plan
The Pennsylvania Transportation Commission updated its 12-Year Transportation Program to include $61.9 billion for improvements to roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and railroads. State law requires the commission to review and update the program every two years and no capital project can move forward unless it is included in the 12-Year program. Some of the key projects in the updated plan include a $3.3 billion reconstruction of the Interstate 95 corridor in southeastern Pennsylvania, a $647 million reconstruction of Interstate 83 in the Harrisburg region, a $491 million reconstruction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington counties and a $331 million Central Susquehanna Valley transportation project. More information is available at
Massachusetts bridge to be replaced
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has scheduled the replacement of a troublesome bridge on Interstate 495 for 2018, said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini. He called the bridge a traffic nightmare that has caused several accidents due to surface problems. The $50 million project will replace the 600-foot span of I-495 over the Merrimack River. 
NOLA airport access project receives $10M for design
A project to improve access to the Louis Armstrong International Airport near New Orleans, La., has received an additional $10 million in funding for design and other preconstruction activities. Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state was able to reallocate financial resources to fund this phase of the project after being awarded a $60 million FASTLANE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The project will be designed to improve access to the airport from Interstate 10 and Loyola Avenue in Kenner.
Washington school district plans $144.7M project
Washington's Moses Lake School District will ask voters to approve a bond to construct a new high school and new elementary school and to upgrade the existing high school in a Feb. 14 election. The bond proposal includes $111.4 million for the new high school, $19.5 million for a new elementary school and $13.8 million in upgrades to Moses Lake High School. The district is eligible for about $9.4 million from the state school construction fund. 
NC county approves $170M bond referendum
Durham County, N.C., residents will cast votes on $170 million in bond issues. The county board of commissioners approved four bond referendums for the November ballot. A school bond for $90.0 million includes plans to replace a high school and other projects. About $20 million is proposed for Durham Technical Community College to expand and improve facilities. The Durham Public Library is asking for $44.7 million to enlarge and improve library facilities. The Museum of Life and Science is seeking $14.2 million for a parking deck and improvements. 
Illinois DOT seeking private partners for toll lanes
The Illinois Department of Transportation is enlisting private partners to help develop a managed lane project for Interstate 55 with toll lanes from Bolingbrook to Chicago. "This is an important step for a project that can serve as a model for how to rebuild our roads and bridges," Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said in a news release. "Working together with the private sector, we can learn about best practices for projects like this, potentially saving taxpayers time and money."  The project has an estimated cost of $425 million. Private firms should submit their ideas for designing, building, operating and managing the toll lanes by Sept. 8. 
Watershed project launches in Maryland
Anne Arundel County, Md., officials are seeking partners for a watershed improvement project. The county has a budget of $5 million to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the county's waterways this year. Plans could include upgrading stormwater drains, converting some properties from septic systems to public water and sewer or an entirely new approach. This project is only a small part of a six-year $235 million watershed improvement plan.
Brooklyn Bridge may be expanded
New York's Brooklyn Bridge may receive a makeover. City transportation officials are beginning an engineering study to assess options for expansion to improve pedestrian access and safety. These options could include widening the existing promenade or building decks over vehicle lanes.
Arizona DEQ awards $1.9M to improve water quality
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality awarded grants to four counties to reduce water pollutants. Cochise, Coconino, Greenlee and Yavapai counties have received $1.9 million for projects designed to improve water quality through the Water Quality Improvement Grant Program. More information is available at
New Jersey to fund microgrid studies
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities is launching a community microgrid project in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. The board is accepting requests for feasibility study funding with a budget of $1 million for the first round of the microgrid program. With the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the board has identified 24 town centers in which microgrids might be beneficial. More information is available at
News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

Texas P3 plans for hotel, conference center  
The Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in Texas announced a $6.5 million bond will be issued to help construct a hotel/conference center adjacent to a city park as part of a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) with developers. The total cost of the project will be $27 to $28 million. "The EDC's investment will be through a performance agreement where they commit to constructing a conference center and hotel to our standards, hiring a certain number of people and tying into the public realm improvements that we have planned for the parks," said EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher. EDC officials plan to work with the parks and recreation department to launch interconnected amenities linked to existing park space.
Los Angeles P3 to use $10.5M to revitalize Koreatown 
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved $10.5 million for the first phase of a plan to revitalize a blighted area of Koreatown. Pre-development will begin for a proposed 400,000-square-foot headquarters for the Department of Mental Health, 72 units of senior housing and a community center. Additional plans call for new offices for the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Community and Senior Services. The project is a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) that includes the developer and a nonprofit service provider. 
Knoxville P3s to join $45M greenway plan 
Knoxville, Tenn., officials have a $45 million plan to build 24 miles of greenways that would connect the city's existing trail system. The city's existing 90 miles of trails have been used largely for recreation, but the 13 planned corridors would help runners, walkers and cyclists to use the greenways to reach downtown, parks and other destinations, said Park Director Joe Walsh. City officials hope to leverage public-private partnerships (P3/PPP) to complete certain sections of the project. 
Maryland county may create P3 for liquor control
A Maryland state senator has proposed a plan to replace the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) with a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) that would warehouse, distribute and market alcohol. The county nets about $30 million in annual profit from the department. The only other entities allowed to distribute alcohol in the county are small breweries.  A working group was formed to study the DLC after an attempt last year to pass reforms through the state legislature.
HART considers P3s for station projects
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) is considering a plan to use public-private partnerships (P3/PPP) to build mixed-use projects adjacent to planned rail stations. The option is part of HART's plan to build a 20-mile, 21-station elevated rail line across the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The total project estimate is $8 billion.
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