Volume 9, Issue 48- December 13, 2017
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Senators worked until past midnight in early December to pass their version of a federal tax reform bill. Since the House had passed its version earlier, both houses of Congress are now negotiating final compromises. There are plans to get a bill on the president's desk by Christmas.  

Local government leaders, however, are not happy about how that final bill may be structured. Both versions of the bill will make local infrastructure investment more expensive and there is no way to know how the compromise bill will be structured.

The House bill eliminates Private Activity Bonds (PABs) and Low-income Tax Credits, which are critical to the construction of housing developments. Both bills call for eliminating advanced refinancing bonds. These tax-exempt bonds allow cities to refinance debt. Without advance refinancing bonds, many large projects at the state and local levels of government will be immediately jeopardized. Additionally, the tax reform bill, unless changed, increases the federal deficit and that will trigger $150 billion in automatic cuts to vital transportation and infrastructure investments.

Just this week, President Trump again said that he will unveil his long-awaited infrastructure plan at least by March 2018.  However, numerous timelines he has announced in the past have come and gone. 

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For several states, the construction of toll lanes and bridges is a driving force for managing congestion and collecting funding for projects. Many road systems do not have the capacity to handle peak-hour loads and this forces many people to wait in line for that limited road space. If the government accommodated all motorists and built several lanes, this would demolish millions of buildings and trees and would turn metropolitan regions into a giant concrete slab. Those roads would then be grossly underutilized during non-peak hours. It just wouldn't be cost effective. 

Traffic studies have shown that motorists will readjust their driving patterns and more will drive during peak times when free lanes are added. Charging motorists to use these lanes ensures that traffic is moving more swiftly. To reduce congestion on the paid lanes, tolls might fluctuate and be adjusted at higher rates during peak times. Transportation planners foresee more toll connections in the coming years and here are a few of those upcoming projects. 

 According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Stevenson Expressway has about 12 hours of daily congestion and four crashes a day. IDOT has proposed to add two new lanes in each direction from Interstate 90/94 in Chicago to I-294, then one toll lane each way from I-294 to I-355. Costs could reach about $700 million and would likely be financed through a public-private partnership. If the plan moves forward, IDOT could begin looking for contractors in 2019 and the project could be finished by 2021.

UPCOMING CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES

Megan Barry
Tennessee- Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has presented a $5.2 billion plan, called "Let's Move Nashville," to relieve traffic congestion. As Nashville continues to grow, a tunnel for light rail service and rapid buses is being considered to relieve increasing traffic congestion. 

The proposed tunnel would be 1.8 miles long and have three underground rail stops between Music City Central and a new South of Broadway transit center estimated to cost $936 million. The plan also proposes expanding bus services, building a light rail system that travels to five major corridors, provide 25 miles of rapid bus service and build 24 neighborhood transit centers. If approved, the plan will go before voters in May.
Nebraska- A consulting group has been hired by the city of Lincoln to perform an economic development study to find the best use of the land that lies in the path of the Cornhusker Highway corridor. The project, which includes moving railroad tracks and streets, is expected to cost $70 million to $80 million and may start by 2026. 

The city has formed the Northeast Lincoln Advisory Committee, to hold a series of public meetings, meet privately with business owners and community leaders and residents, and present information to community groups as it develops recommendations for the city and the Railroad Transportation Safety District (RTSD). The city is committing to pay about one-third of the $932,250 cost of the yearlong study. Last year, the RTSD picked two potential alternatives for the project. Both would displace some businesses, but no homes. The alternatives generally shift 33rd Street to the west and extend it over railroad tracks. Each includes different plans for traffic on Adams Street.
New York- New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has pledged to close Rikers Island within the next decade. The administration is looking to hire a consultant to study spots for new and expanded jails. The city put out a request for proposals for a firm to figure out how much expansion space for additional prisoners is available at existing jails in Manhattan and Brooklyn and a shuttered jail in Queens. The chosen firm would also suggest sites for new, smaller jails, and where they'd propose potential building designs and programs for prisoners. 

Closing Rikers will require cutting the city's inmate population of 9,200 to almost half. De Blasio believes there is a moral obligation to close down Rikers Island and transition to a smaller, safer and fairer jail system. Proposals will be due in December and the city expects to pick a consultant early next year.
Pennsylvania- The city of Wilkes-Barre has issued an updated request for proposals (RFP) for a mixed-use residential and commercial project to be in the 2-acre site where the former Hotel Sterling stood downtown. The city condemned the building and had it demolished in 2013 when the not-for-profit who owned the building, failed to keep up with renovations and repairs. 

The city has issued proposals for a mixed-use, commercial and residential project for land along the city's riverfront. The proposal is an updated version of one from June 2015, and state and local tax breaks are offered through 2024 since the property is in a Keystone Opportunity Zone. From 2012 to the present day, there has been $75 million in private investment in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Developers must submit a notice of intent to propose by Jan. 15 and an RFP by Feb. 1. The city followed the same two-step process two years ago.
Louisiana- LA SAFE, or Louisiana's Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments, was created to help six parishes, including Terrebonne and Lafourche, come up with plans to adapt to Louisiana's changing landscape and complement the state's Coastal Master Plan. After months of research, planning and drafting, LA SAFE representatives returned to the parish with six project proposals that residents could vote on. The projects ranged from a wetland park to a seafood market to coastal protection improvements. 

Among the projects, is a proposed Bayou La Cache wetland park, a $5.4-million project that would transform an existing borrow pit site into a public park with educational and recreational programming. Other proposals include mitigation for Lake Boudreaux, which will create over 300 acres of terraces and marshland, a monthly Houma seafood market and harbor of refuge for boats during extreme weather. The selected projects will be announced in early next year, and funding will be announced by the end of 2018.
New Jersey- Rutgers University approved a resolution to invest $7.5 million toward the $15 million redevelopment of Campbell's Field in Camden that would convert the field into a multi-purpose athletic facility open to Rutgers' students and the public. The project would be partially paid for by Rutgers University, with another $7.5 million invested by the city of Camden. 

The new complex would be owned by the city of Camden, but operated by Rutgers. The current plan would see Campbell's Field demolished and replaced with athletic facilities that could house fields for baseball, lacrosse and field hockey. The city plans to begin construction as soon as possible, but the Rutgers' baseball team intends to still use the field through the spring of 2018.
NEWS ABOUT NATIONAL P3s

MichiganOakland County is moving forward with plans to create a connected vehicle infrastructure for nearly 5,600 miles of roadways. This month, the county issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a project it intends to turn into a public-private partnership (P3). The goal is to create a system of short-range communication technology for county infrastructure such as stoplights. 

Installing connected infrastructure, such as sensors, would cost the county $10,000 per intersection and about $40,000 per mile. The county wants to control and own the system created by a private sector partner, where the county uses the connected infrastructure bandwidth to improve roadway safety, while allowing the third-party partner to create its own revenue streams. The County intends to award a contract by the end of January.
IowaWork to clear concrete and parking lots where a casino used to dock recently finished up on the Davenport riverfront as the city begins planning for the next phase of Main Street Landing. By summer of 2018, the city plans to begin construction on the first phase of the project, installing a flex lot. This parking lot will include landscaping, seating and room for food trucks. As for the remaining area, design teams have released images showing an amphitheater at the foot of the skybridge, as well as an event lawn and playground. 

The entire project could cost tens of millions of dollars, so the city council will have to decide which parts to implement over the next several years. The city has not yet decided on a final plan but is considering a public-private partnership, which could include commercial space or a restaurant.
KentuckyThe Louisville Metro Government plans to assess the city's current and future needs including future use of the Louisville Metro Police Department headquarters, the Fiscal Court building and potential new construction on the parking lot South of Market Street. 

The Metro Council approved $100,000 for a study on the future usage and new construction of these projects. A request for proposals (RFP) will be released no later than Jan. 2018 to hire a consultant to conduct the study. The RFP will also seek a public-private partnership to construct a new office or mixed-use building behind city hall.
CaliforniaBerkley Unified School District (BUSD) is considering building district employee housing. A vote last week allowed the district to pursue a 2020 facilities bond. The board is considering using a public-private partnership (P3) for the project. The district is also considering four potential sites for the project which range from 50 to 200 units and costs between $32 and $74 million. 

Funding for the project would be separate from the BUSD budget and would be funded through state tax credits, an Alameda County Affordable Housing bond, the Berkley Housing Trust Fund and a possible BUSD housing bond. The proposed sites would take up to four or five years to develop. BUSD currently does not have a timeline for the project.
MichiganGrand Rapids may soon get a new parking structure in the city's central business district. The proposed structure would add up to 360 spaces and is expected to cost between $12.25 and 15 million with financing coming from either a sale of public bonds or a public-private partnership. 

The city is also considering a green roof element which would add additional $3 million-$4 million to the total cost. In addition to the new parking structure, the city is also exploring either a land purchase or partnership with Kent County to potentially redevelop the parking lot at the county-owned building at 82 Ionia Ave. NW.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Feb. 26-28
The Public-Private Partnership Conference & Expo 2018 will be held Feb. 26-28 in the Downtown Dallas Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, 400 N. Olive Street. The conference will present a series of keynote speakers, case studies, panels, workshops and networking opportunities. Attendees with little experience in the development and operation of the P3 model will benefit from industry experts presenting their knowledge, and valuable insights into market trends crucial for business decisions. 

Over 125 leading practitioners will present firsthand observations of P3 projects of all sizes in different markets from around the country. There will be in-depth roundtable discussions for public sector delegates who want to discuss P3 issues in a more candid and interactive forum. The P3 conference attracts senior management from firms in the construction, engineering, architecture, legal and consulting industries as well as public leaders, higher education officers and development agency officials at the municipal, state and federal levels of government. Registration is open for the conference here. View some details of the events here
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