Volume 9, Issue 6 - February 8, 2017
Recently announced technology modernization projects seem to be multiplying
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
A recent survey that graded states on their tech portfolios revealed something very interesting. The news is good for technology firms - it appears that most levels of government are about to begin upgrading old legacy systems through modernization efforts. Information technology experts have long questioned why government moved so slowly to replace and upgrade technology. The argument that the funding was simply not available did not ring true to those who knew how quickly and significantly technology could reduce costs while creating efficiencies. That claim seems to be true more often than not.

One program that is held in high regard is Michigan's "River of Opportunity" initiative. This project focused on gaining efficiency and thereby cutting costs. And, the system that was developed turned out to be good for both citizens and public officials. The program displays graphical imagery collected by the state and the system can be accessed by 29 counties. The technology initiative has already saved more than $3 million in state revenue. This modernization program feeds data into the system efficiently and with little cost because the state's police, transportation and environmental departments all embraced sensors that are integrated within the Internet of Things. 

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Did viewers notice if the Patriots and the Falcons were well-lit when they took the field Feb. 5? Houston boasted that the field at NRG Stadium was illuminated exclusively by 65,000 light-emitting diode (LED) lights for Super Bowl LI. The stadium's media relations team shared that the new lighting system uses 337 kilowatts when at full power, about 60 percent less energy than the previous system did. They even added that these lights can be dimmed for events that don't require them at full capacity, allowing for further energy savings. 

Saving money on lights can really add up, especially when it means keeping them on from dusk until dawn for drivers. Street lights play an important role in the safety and security of roadways and public places. Street lighting is used on highways and streets in order to illuminate the driving route, which makes it much easier to see if there is debris on the road, water, ice or a crossing pedestrian or animal. There are several different types of street lights that have been used over the years to expand a driver's range of visibility.

Incandescent- These are standard electric light bulbs that were introduced more than 125 years ago by Thomas Edison. They have the lowest initial cost, good color rendering and are notoriously inefficient . They typically have short life spans and more than ninety percent of the energy used by an incandescent light bulb escapes as heat, with less than 10 percent producing light.

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The Common Council of Utica, New York recently unveiled a $75 million paving plan that will impact approximately 210 miles of city roads. While the city charter has historically mandated that $2 million of grant money and supplemental taxes be annually spent on road repairs, this number will increase to an annual expenditure of $5 million under this new plan. This increase in funds will be covered by an issuance of bonds and an annual payment allocation from the Mohawk Valley Water Authority.  

The worst-case scenario for Utica residents is that the plan could bring a potential 0.74 percent tax levy increase per year for a home assessed at $55,000. For now, the project is being sent out in the form of three bids. The first bid will go out sometime in February, and will be for paving work. The second bid will be sent out in mid-March for the rebuilding of damaged streets. The final bid will be sent out in mid-April for additional repairs such as crack sealing and striping.
The Public Works Committee of the Rapid City Council in South Dakota approved a $525,000 project for potable water improvements to the city's Wastewater Reclamation Facility on South Side Drive located just east of the city area. However, that is only one part of a larger $3.3 million water infrastructure plan with projects ready to go to bid. 

One project will include hooking up the plant at 7903 South Side Drive to the city's water system. There are also four other water infrastructure projects that are set to go out to bid pending full city council approval, including a $110,000 Tatanka Road water extension, $1.2 million in Red Rock booster pump station upgrades, a $950,000 expansion to extensions of Valley View and Radar Hill Road North, and a $530,000 water expansion to the Morris Lane pressure-reducing valve facility.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently allocated $1 billion in credit assurance to water infrastructure projects. As part of the EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), the agency will offer long-term, low-cost direct loans and loan guarantees to private entities and state, local, and tribal government entities to help with water projects. 

In order to be eligible for the funds, large projects must be worth at least $20 million in size, while smaller communities with less than 25,000 residents must be working toward a project of at least $5 million. WIFIA mandates that at least 15 percent of the funds be allocated to those smaller communities. This program will hopefully work in tandem with the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, which authorizes $10 billion in federal investments. 

The agency is giving priority to projects that demonstrate geographic and project diversity, extreme climate adaptability, increased energy efficiency, green infrastructure use and repair/replacement of infrastructural systems in the credit assurance grants. Any interested parties must display interest by April 10, 2017.
The General Services Administration has sent out an RFP for the third portion of its government-wide acquisition contract vehicle for charge cards and other payment services. Around 560 agency clients and organizations are expected to use the SmartPay 3 GWAC to acquire chip-based charge cards, virtual accounts and other payment support services. Contracts for the SmartPay 3 program will be open through Nov. 28, 2021, and could be extended further to 2031 if all options are exercised.

In FY 2016, the SmartPay program processed approximately $28 billion in purchase, fleet and travel transactions.The agency will accept proposals for the specific third iteration RFP through March 22.
Ascension Parish in Gonzales, Louisiana recently completed a $6.8 million sewer line installation project along a 3.7 mile stretch of two-lane La. 42 that will tie into a plant located on La. 73. 

With the La. 42 sewer work completed, bids for the project to expand the highway to four and five lanes are expected to go out in the spring with an estimated cost between $20 and $30 million. The construction of the project is projected to be completed in spring 2019.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development widening projects are avoiding additional cost for right of way by eliminating open ditches. A total of $17.9 million was spent on right of way for the expansion of La. 42 which will work in conjunction with the parish's sewer project. Due to the delay caused by the installation of the sewer and other utilities, the La. 42 road widening project has had to be bid in two phases. The first project began in March 2014 and the second is currently going to bid for road work.
NASA has begun to accept proposals from private entities to work together to create commercial space technology systems designed to support future space missions. The agency will select projects worth approximately $10 million combined under the Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity program. 

The project organization will require the individual companies to lead the projects, with NASA team members serving as employees that will provide test facilities, software, hardware and technical support to help advance development work on the commercial space platforms.

NASA expects the partnerships to focus on small launch vehicles, electronics, communication tools and in-space propulsion systems. The agency will begin accepting preliminary proposals on March 15 and will accept final proposals until May 31. The projects are to be awarded to selected industry partners through non-reimbursable Space Act Agreements in September.
A $4.5 million project is in the works to renovate the historic Swift County Courthouse in Benson, Minn. The project will focus on increasing security in courtrooms, reconfiguring some department offices and updating a wide variety of maintenance issues. The Swift County Board of Commissioners directed architects to prepare bidding documents for the project. 

A portion of the project also involves the relocation of Safe Avenues, an advocacy program for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, from the basement of the law enforcement center to the Countryside Public Health building. To accommodate this move an additional $500,000 in renovations for the Public Health building will culminate the total project cost to $5 million. 

Construction on the approved project is expected to begin this summer and last three to four months. At the courthouse, $3 million will be allocated to fixing deferred maintenance projects, including heating and ventilation, plumbing, handicapped accessibility and interior and exterior improvements. The courthouse's outdated steam-heat boiler system will be replaced with a new $1.6 million heating and ventilation system.
Georgia's Columbus city administration is currently working towards building a River Road roundabout, which would remove the existing traffic lights at the four-way intersection between Bradley Park Drive, Green Island Drive, and Cascade Road. The roundabout is expected to smooth the flow of traffic. Project bids on the roundabout have not been released yet, but construction is expected to begin this summer.

Out of the projected $2.7 million cost, the city of Columbus is expecting to pay $1.2 million, with the state paying the remaining $1.5 million.
A $201 million multi-year capital improvement plan was unanimously approved by the Schaumburg Village Board in Illinois. The plan allocates 70 percent of the funds to roadway improvements, 14 percent to water and sewer improvements and the rest towards improvements to village buildings, bikeways, sidewalks, parking lots and other projects.

Funding in the amount of $8 million has been dedicated to residential street improvement in Fiscal Year 2017-2018. Eleven miles of residential streets will be reconstructed and 25 miles of roads will be improved. The village received $1.5 million this year because ten heavier traveled street segments qualified for federal funding. Schaumburg was also allocated $1.2 million for design and construction of bike path improvements along Golf, Higgins, Martingale and Rodenburg roads. The village's share of two Cook County projects has also been budgeted.

In addition, Schaumburg will finalize work on the I-90 Tollway ramps, construct a new 4-lane road on the Motorola campus and complete a bike path and bridge along the west side of Roselle Road connecting to the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve.
The Issaquah City Council in Washington State unanimously voted to approve the 2017-2022 capital improvement plan, which includes improvements in various public works. Revenue sources for 2017 capital improvement projects come from grants, utility operating revenue, impact fees and bonds. 

In technology and network systems, $300,000 has been requested to continue to implement the Munis software and $173,000 has been set aside for Trakit software updates. In public safety projects, two new police vehicles will be purchased for $160,000 total and 43 cameras will be purchased for $150,000 to upgrade the security system. The parks and recreation category has $3.73 million set aside for improvements to Central Park, $1,332,710 for Confluence Park phases II and III and $495,000 for the construction of Skate Park. 

Transportation improvements include $15,567,135 for Southeast 62nd Street extension, $2.1 million for improvements along Newport Way from Northwest Maple Street to West Sunset Way, $900,000 for the Street Overlay Program, and $776,000 for the Complete Streets Program. In water and sewer utilities, $350,000 is allocated for improvements to the South Cove and Greenwood Point system, $756,000 for improvements to the Pickering area sewer and $475,000 to refurbish the Wildwood Reservoir. $309,000 will be used for capital equipment projects like the purchase of replacement trucks, trailers and other equipment.
Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia recently announced in her annual State of the City address that the California city will invest $6.9 million dollars on road improvement projects. 

A road reconstruction and rehabilitation project designed to improve La Mesa and Amethyst Roads, two heavily traveled roadways in Victorville, is gearing up for construction. The project, which will go to bid by the end of February, is part of the city's five-year capital improvement plan. 

The project will improve three miles of La Mesa Road from El Rio to Cantina and four miles of Amethyst Road from Bear Valley to Mojave Drive. The improvements include new bike lanes, upgraded sidewalk ramps, and reinforced storm drains. In addition, a three-mile stretch of bike lanes on Nisqualli Road from Hesperia Road to Interstate 15 will also be installed as a part of the project. Construction is set to start at the end of April and finish by the end of July.
News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

A proposal to build two reversible lanes in the median between the northbound and southbound lanes of I-17 at a cost of $125 million was outlined by Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO) Administrator Chris Bridges in January. Currently, major accidents on I-17, which occur roughly once a week, causes a 320-minute delay for drivers. With reversible lanes, the delay would be only about 80 minutes. 

The reversible lanes would run along an eight-mile stretch from Black Canyon City to Sunset Point. The reversible lanes could ease traffic by adding lanes to whichever direction would be the most advantageous. 

The project is estimated to cost $125 million with roughly ten percent of the funds being dedicated to engineering, which would be the next step. Sources of funding for this project were discussed with the possibly of a public-private partnership. The I-17 reversible lane project will be discussed further at future Arizona Department of Transportation meetings.
A request for proposals has been issued by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey for an engineering firm to lead the preliminary work on an AirTrain connecting western Queens to LaGuardia Airport. The selected firm will be responsible for preliminary work on a new station at Willets Point in Flushing, two new stations at the airport's new terminals, as well as the logistics of the line's path. Financing the construction of the line, a possible public-private partnership, will be examined by the selected firm. The Port Authority currently has allocated $1 billion to constructing the AirTrain in its 10 year capital plan. Construction is projected to begin in 2019 and the line is set to start operating by 2023. 

The two stations at LaGuardia will be located at two new terminals, B and C. Terminal B is a $4.2 billion project on track to finish in 2022 and is currently being built by a group of six companies. The new Terminal C, designed to replace two separated facilities, will be owned and managed by an international airline. The AirTrain station at Willets Point is located between the Flushing and Corona sections of Queens. Construction of these stations, a $46.9 million project, is set to start next year and will be led by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which will also operate the AirTrain itself.
Seattle officials recently announced that the city is looking for smart cities partnerships. The city recently released an RFI in order to measure the interest of private sector entities and nonprofit organizations to partner on wireless broadband, drones and other technologies in the "smart cities ecosystem." The request for information pays special attention to parks and 12 of the city's low-income districts. There is also a renewed interest in new wireless services that are part of an effort to keep the city friendly to broadband investment.

Although the city may be able to provide some capital, Seattle officials have indicated preference to those plans that will require little to no cost to the city. The RFI was sent out after the city discovered that it was $660 million short of building its own fiber to the home network. A great deal of this broadband emphasis is a result of Mayor Ed Murray, who intended on providing equal, affordable, and competitive broadband to city residents when he came into office. 

The city has been successful in reducing regulatory barriers, investing in public-private partnerships, and exploring the city's ability to directly provide broadband access. With a deadline of 2 p.m. on Feb. 28, this RFI will hopefully help the city offer even more services laid out in a 39-page document.
California's South Coast Water District recently proposed a 5-acre facility on 30 acres of district-owned property near San Juan creek that would produce 4 million to 5 million gallons of portable water per day to serve its customers in South Laguna, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente. This project includes nine wells around San Juan Creek's outfall. 

However, recent discoveries at the creek may have increased the possibility of more wells at the location. South Coast's board was informed that an ancient river channel topped with younger sediment, known as a paleo channel, at the mouth of the creek is larger than anticipated. This discovery means that more wells could be built or the original nine could be expanded. 

The project could cost anywhere from $80 million to $90 million in design and construction and has already attracted attention. A Boston based water company expressed interest in pursuing a public-private partnership on the Dana Point facility. The district board is expected to discuss the possibility of a public-private partnership at a workshop in May.
St. Joseph, LaPorte, Porter, and Lake counties have come together to announce a project called "Double Tracking NWI." The four counties, all located between Chicago and South Bend, are hoping that this project will reduce up to an hour off the South Bend to Chicago trip. 

The project proposes that $290 million is used to develop a second parallel track for a 17-mile stretch between Michigan City and Gary, remove the tracks from streets in Michigan City and eliminating a stop there and elevating the boarding platform in Michigan City. The second parallel track would eliminate delays caused by oncoming freight trains. 

Currently, opposing trains are restricted to scheduled times to pass each other and any alterations to the schedule causes delays for all following trains. This project has been discussed for years but for the first time, the potential to gather $290 million from federal, state and local sources seems realistic. The federal government would provide half of the funding, while the state and four counties would split up the other half. Each county would be responsible for providing $18.2 million for construction costs. St. Joseph County has not gathered $18.2 million yet and plans to look into public-private partnerships as a source for funding.
Wyoming state parks officials have been actively pursuing public-private partnerships to provide visitors with services that are not a part of government function. For example, a local paddleboard company has been operating at some of the state park reservoirs as a mobile convenience store, taking food, bait, drinks and other summer necessities around to campgrounds and beaches. 

The Wyoming State Parks director, Domenic Bravo, plans to put out requests for information for new public-private partnership opportunities. Requests for proposals are also being put out as Wyoming state parks seek to provide common park services, such as kayak or paddleboard rentals.
Calendar of Events

Feb 27-March 1
The 2017 Public-Private Partnership Conference & Expo (P3C) will be held Feb. 27 through March 1 at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas. The P3C offers education and networking opportunities to professionals exploring P3s and want to better understand how the model can address their project delivery needs. 

An audience of over 1,200 senior government leaders, higher education officers, and industry development professionals provides a unique opportunity to network with prospective partners and clients in a development focused forum.

The 2017 program will examine trends in P3 delivery, provide granular case studies, host conversations with project owners and stakeholders, and explores best practices and lessons learned. Visit  the website to learn more and to register for the event. 
Feb. 22 and 23
Join CityAge for "Build the Future" on Feb. 22 and 23 at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, FL. 

The conference provides an opportunity to understand and identify key markets and emerging opportunities; meet industry and government leaders; visit key markets and key contacts; and build collaboration and communication among individuals, organizations, professions, sectors and cities around the world.

CityAge is a platform for ideas and business development, designed to enable new partnerships among the business, government and societal decision makers who are building the 21st Century. Register here for the event. 
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