Volume 8, Issue 19 - August 3, 2016
Here's an easy way to create economic stimulus
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Innovative cities and economic development organizations are collaborating to stimulate growth, improve public health and enhance tax revenue.  And, they are doing it at very little cost. Sounds almost too good to be true...but it's all happening when urban parks and green spaces are developed and maintained.

Studies show that urban parks and green spaces improve public health by encouraging physical activity and increasing the amount of time citizens spend outdoors. Parks also foster community involvement, promote arts and cultural programs and reduce crime. But, perhaps the most immediately noticeable benefit is the positive economic impact that green spaces provide.

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TIGER grants provide $500 million for transportation
Economic development and safety emphasized
Transportation projects across the country were funded last week with nearly $500 million in federal grants. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the winners of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program at the White House.

TIGER grants are highly competitive and support projects that are typically more difficult to fund through traditional federal programs, such as multi-modal or multi-jurisdictional projects. This year's grants focused on projects that generate economic development as well as improve safety. Visit www.transportation.gov/tiger-2016-project-fact-sheets for details.

"For the eighth year running, TIGER will inject critical infrastructure dollars into communities across the country," said Secretary Foxx. "This unique program rewards innovative thinking and collaborative solutions to difficult and sometimes dangerous transportation problems. A great TIGER program doesn't just improve transportation; it expands economic opportunity and transforms a community."

Among the awarded projects, the I-579 Cap Urban Connector Project in Pennsylvania received $19 million in TIGER funds to help construct a $32 million cap connector structure over crosstown highway in downtown Pittsburgh. The project is meant to promote pedestrian safety in a high crash rate area and will include a new bus stop, bike sharing station, pedestrian signals, improved crosswalks and sidewalks.

New York provides $39 million for smart schools
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state will invest $39 million in education technology as part of the $2 billion Smart School Bond Act. The initiative is meant to help close the digital divide among students by providing access to technology and high-speed broadband in hundreds of schools.

"The tools and resources schools will be able to attain with this funding will help equip the next generation of New Yorkers to lead this state into the future," said Cuomo.

The 30 recently-approved plans include $9.3 million for classroom technology purchases, $21.4 million for school connectivity projects and $7.9 million for high-tech security projects. Additionally, the first Special Education Smart Schools Investment plan will support $32,000 in classroom technology. Some of the technologies that will be incorporated are computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity.

Among the approved recipients, the city school district of New Rochelle will receive $3.4 million. About $400,000 will be spent on high-tech security and the remaining funds will be divided between school connectivity and classroom technology.

The Clarkstown Central School District will receive $2.8 million, primarily for school connectivity. About $200,000 will be used for new classroom technology.

The Island Trees school district in Levittown will receive $1.5 million, primarily for community-connectivity. About $340,000 will be used for classroom technology upgrades.

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New Mexico school district could get $60 million

New Mexico's Rio Rancho Public Schools will build a new elementary school and preschool if a $60 bond issue passes election Aug. 30. Joe Harris Elementary will be constructed with $24.5 million and a new Shining Stars preschool will cost $15.5 million. Additional funding will go to technology and security upgrades, real estate acquisition and renovations.
California schools could get $9 billion for construction
California's Proposition 51, if it passes in November, will provide a $9 billion bond for school construction and modernization projects. Elementary and secondary schools would benefit from $6 billion, community colleges would get $2 billion and $1 billion would go toward career technical education and charter school facilities. 
Bryant to hold special election for $23M bond issue 
Bryant, Ark., citizens will vote in a special election Aug. 9 on a $23 million bond issue. If approved, the funding would include $14 million for the construction of a north-south roadway extending from the I-30 overpass, $5 million for two new fire stations and $4 million for parks and recreation improvements, including sports fields and a new park.
Miami releases details of $275 million bond initiative
Miami commissioners are considering a $275 million bond initiative to fund projects proposed by Mayor Tomás Regalado's administration. If commissioners decide to support the proposal, it will be included on the November ballot. Projects include $26 million to replace an emergency radio system, $30 million for new and improved pump stations, $20 million for roadway improvements and $20 million for workforce housing incentives. 
Minnesota Power issues RFP for 300 MW wind energy
Minnesota Power has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to supply 300 megawatts of wind energy as part of its Energy Forward initiative. Responses are due by Sept. 7. Additional RFPs will be issued soon for 300 megawatts of solar generation and for customer and utility-scale demand response and on-site generation resources.
New York MTA issues RFP for subway cars
New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for 1,025 new and redesigned subway cars. The RFP stipulates the proposal must include a plan detailing the number of U.S. jobs the applicant will create and retain. Mayor Andrew Cuomo presented designs with wider doors and other features which would reduce wait times and increase capacity. The project is part of a $27 billion, five-year MTA Capital Program to renew and expand the MTA network. "The MTA is the one of the busiest transportation networks in the country and we're taking the next step toward rebuilding and modernizing New York's subway system," Cuomo said. "This action will increase capacity, reduce overcrowding and enhance the customer experience while creating jobs and building for the future."
Hospital to be redeveloped into light commercial
The city of Greer, S.C., has issued a request for proposals to redevelop a former hospital property. The city will sell the 10-acre property for no less than $2 million and has designated it for multipurpose use. The city prefers the property be used for retail, offices or hospitality, but will consider other uses. Proposals are due by Oct. 4.
Tolland considering $9.6M bond
The Town Council of Tolland, Conn. is considering a $9.6 million bond for a series of educational facility improvements. A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9. Town Manager Steve Werbner said 38 percent of the project cost would be eligible for reimbursement under the State School Construction Grant Program if certain criteria are met.
Denver issues first RPPs for stock show redevelopment
The city of Denver, Colo., has issued two of the seven requests for proposals (RFP) it plans for redevelopment of its 270-acre National Western Stock Show site. The new National Western Center will host events and include office buildings and a research and medical center for horses. The first two phases of the redevelopment are expected to cost about $856.4 million and take more than a decade to complete. Current RFPs are for project reporting and communications and marketing. Visit www.denvergov.org/ndcc for details.
Commuter railroads eligible for $199M grant program
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it will accept applications until Sept. 28 for $199 million in competitive grant funding for Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation on commuter railroads. "With more passengers depending on rail for transportation, Positive Train Control is needed more than ever," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "I encourage all commuter railroads to take full advantage of this opportunity to invest in the most important rail safety technology in more than a century." PTC technology can prevent certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zones and trains routed to the wrong tracks because a switch was left in the wrong position. Eligible applicants include any entity that is eligible to receive grants from the Federal Transit Administration, such as commuter railroads, operators and state and local governments.
News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

Dayton approves $5M wellness clinic for employees
The city of Dayton, Ohio, approved a $5 million contract with a health management solutions provider to operate and manage a wellness clinic for members of the city's health care plan. The city has approved a three-year contract, with renewal options, to offer medical services at an off-site clinic at a discounted rate. Officials hope employees without a primary care physician will utilize the clinic instead of an emergency room, thereby cutting costs. The city's plan covers 1,821 employees, 1,016 spouses and partners and 1,962 children.
Texas P3 to build $34 million housing complex
The city of Pharr, Texas, has engaged a developer for a public-private partnership (P3/PPP) to build a $34 million multi-family housing complex. The 288-unit facility will help address a critical need for housing in the Rio Grande Valley, which has experienced substantial growth. 
Port to pilot $27 million micro-grid project
The Port of Los Angeles will pilot a $27 million carbon free energy project that could scale to 26 other terminals. A rooftop solar array, battery system and electric vehicles and cargo handling equipment will be integrated into terminal operations. The project is partially funded by the California Air Resources Board. The engineering firm selected for the project has already executed several micro-grid projects. Construction is scheduled to begin in October.
Airport partners with city, developer on solar farm
The Tallahassee International Airport has moved one step closer to building a $33.2 million solar panel farm after receiving approval for the project from the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport will lease 120 acres on adjacent property for a solar developer to erect 90,000 solar modules that will produce up to 20 megawatts of electricity. The project also helps meet the city's goals to diversify energy sources, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce its carbon footprint. Construction is scheduled to last six months and be complete by next spring or summer. 
North Minneapolis P3 to revitalize area
Hennepin County, Minn., has entered into a public-private partnership to revitalize a north Minneapolis commercial area. The developer will build a $67 million health and wellness campus for the county and an additional building with 76,000 square feet of office space, 16,000 square feet of street-level retail and a parking deck. The building will cost $35 million -- about $14 million of which will be repaid by the county in exchange for more than 400 parking stalls for the medical campus. The development coincides with other projects that could reshape the area. Metro Transit is planning a rapid bus line through the area that may begin construction in 2018.
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