Volume 9, Issue 26 - June 28, 2017
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
The federal government may not like the Paris Climate Agreement, but state and local elected officials do. This past weekend, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti hosted a large number of mayors who reiterated their commitment to the partnership agreement. These officials visiting Florida for the U.S. Conference of Mayors represent the Climate Mayors, a bipartisan organization that was organized in 2014. The group now boasts 331 mayors representing 65 million Americans. The membership includes mayors from the 10 largest cities in the U.S., including traditional energy hubs such as Houston and Dallas. 

Filling in the climate leadership vacuum left by the new administration, mayors and governors are stepping in to lead the fight against climate change. But, it's not all happening at the local levels of government. The governors of California, New York and Washington have joined forces to create the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of states committed to upholding the goals of the Paris agreement. This is good news for the country and it's great news for companies with services and solutions that will be in high demand. There will be an abundance of contracting opportunities.

Here's a small sampling of the opportunities that have approved funding: 

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Two bills that were introduced June 21 and 22 provide very different outcomes for the future of aviation in the United States. Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster, introduced a six-year draft House bill called the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act (AIRR Act), a revised version from last year's bill. 

The bill includes provisions and reforms to reduce red tape in the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) certification process for aircraft and aviation products, foster innovation in unmanned aircraft systems, fund the Nation's airport infrastructure, and privatize air traffic controllers (ATC). It also would beef up some protections for the flying public. For example, the legislation prohibits airlines from involuntarily bumping a passenger once they have already boarded a plane. The bill also requires airlines to install secondary metal barriers on new planes to prevent terrorists from entering the flight deck. Another provision would prohibit the transportation secretary from approving any foreign airline service to the U.S. if the carrier is established in a country other than its majority owner. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the bill Tuesday. Now the legislation must be considered by the full House and the Senate. 

The second bill, introduced by Sen. John Thune and Sen. Bill Nelson, unveiled the Senate's FAA Reauthorization Act of 2017,which reauthorizes federal aviation programs through fiscal year 2021. 

The Thune-Nelson bill would help manufacturers by reforming certifications, improve certain consumer protections, underpin ATC technology modernization, and boosts unmanned air vehicle enforcement powers at the FAA. The Senate legislation would require FAA to update its "NextGen" technology to replace radar-based air control with a GPS-based system. The bill also directs the Department of Transportation to create a carrier certificate allowing for package deliveries by drones, according to a summary. It also addresses issues with personal drone usage, including criminalizing reckless drone behavior, promoting safety and increasing privacy, as well as developing other innovative uses. The reauthorization act improves requirements for the bulk transfer of lithium batteries and supports contract air traffic control towers. The legislation also allows general aviation airports more flexibility to facilitate infrastructure investment. The senate commerce committee is slated to vote on the Thune-Nelson bill on June 29.
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Government Contracting Pipeline will not publish next week because the offices of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. will be closed on Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. Our offices will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 5. 

The Texas Government Insider newsletter will still be published next week, Friday, July 7. We will resume our regular Wednesday publication dates of Government Contracting Pipeline on July 12. Have a safe and happy 4th of July. 

Arizona- The Arizona State Transportation Board approved the five-year, $260 million per year construction program proposed by the Arizona Department of Transportation that aims to increase the capacity of the major commerce corridors by investing in new and pre-existing infrastructure around the state. 

Major projects detailed in the construction program include widening various interstates, state roads and farm to market roads, improving safety along various roads and putting money towards newly designed projects. Along with this transportation program, projects associated with Maricopa County's five-year transportation program also continue to move forward after the recent update to the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan.
Louisiana- The commercial real estate committee of the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority (NFPAMA), located in New Orleans, met on June 20 to discuss the potential redevelopment of 12.6-acres of land of a former Naval Reserve located between Lakeshore Drive and Leroy Johnson Drive. The property falls within the educational campus districts of the University of New Orleans as well as the Southern University at New Orleans. 

Because the land is owned by the Non-Flood Authority, jurisdiction of the property falls entirely to the authority. Despite this, various proposals for redevelopment have suggested allocating land to the universities. Other plans suggest creating a $58 million science museum and hurricane protection center on the property. Members of the Non-Flood Authority have suggested that the property needs to be divided up before the committee can review bid proposals. More decisions regarding the redevelopment of the Naval site will be reached at the Authority's next meeting on July 20 at 3:30 pm.
California- Army officials have recently posted a request for proposals (RFP) for a 75-year lease and the redevelopment of Orion Park, an army property that previously housed 450 military homes, in North Bayshore. The lot has been vacant since a failed lease deal with a private developer in 2005. The 30-acres of property have the potential to be developed into school campuses to help with the impending overcrowding in both Mountain View Whisman and Mountain View-Los Altos school. 

Both districts are expecting around 3,500 new students in the upcoming years due to the development of new housing units in the area. While the Orion Park property seems to be a solution to the school district's capacity challenges, city officials and school board members alike doubt they will be able to compete with private entities for the property bid. Despite a clause which provides consideration to below market-value school districts bids, the Army is likely leaning towards market-price bids to profit from the property as much as possible. In addition to the costliness of the property, estimated around $15 million per acre, the Orion Park lot has pervasive trichloroethylene contamination in both the soil and groundwater which may prevent it from being a suitable site for school campuses.
New Mexico- A competition for a multibillion-dollar contract to manage the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has been released in a draft request for proposals. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the agency that oversees the eight facilities that make up the U.S. nuclear complex, on Tuesday posted online its intent to conduct a competition for the management and operation contract at this northern New Mexico facility.  

The U.S. Department of Energy and NNSA announced they will conduct a competition for a follow-on management and operating contract consisting of a four-month transition and a five-year base period with options for up to five additional years for LANL. The current contract is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2018.

The LANL is under investigation for violating nuclear shipping regulations. The New Mexico laboratory reported it shipped small quantities of special nuclear material to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina by air last week. The NNSA said the shipments should have been made using commercial ground cargo services, and were packaged to be shipped on the road. Flying the material by commercial aircraft is not authorized by federal nuclear regulations. It was first announced in late 2015 that the current manager of the facility would be losing its $2.2 billion contract since it failed to earn high enough performance reviews.
Indianapolis- The city of Indianapolis is putting out a request for information (RFI) due Aug. 11 to developers for inspiration on how to redevelop old city hall after a proposal to develop the property into a 150-room hotel and contemporary museum fell through due to financing delays on behalf of the city. 

The city is open to proposals by developers that do not involve a hotel and want to keep an open mind to ensure the downtown property is redeveloped in the best way. The city hall building is in the Market East District and successful redevelopment may propel development throughout the district. The city will put out a request for proposals once it has received input on possible development ideas.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was expected to post a contract draft solicitation for the research and development of a high-performance computing and communication infrastructure worth up to $550 million over the next 10 years, but has delayed the posting because the government is still developing a draft for the request for proposals (RFP). 

The draft is now scheduled to be posted in mid-July. In the meantime, the agency has scheduled site visits to several NOAA computing facilities that are likely to share computing and integration services under the contract.
Nevada- On June 15, an estimated 1,300 people gathered at the Green Valley Ranch Resort to learn about the estimated $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed football stadium being built for the Oakland Raiders when they relocate to Las Vegas for the 2020 National Football League season. Details about the project were shared and contractors hope to begin later this year and have the project complete by June 2020. 

The first procurement bidding will be for structural steel and precast, plumbing, electrical, fire protection, elevators, escalators, heating and air conditioning controls and the stadium's lightweight, transparent Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof. ETFE is a co-polymer resin that is pressed into a thin film. Contractors for the Las Vegas stadium project will issue the first of six procurement bid requests July 3 and expect prospective bidders to return proposals by the end of that month.
Michigan- The city of Detroit is purchasing 76-acres of property from railroad company Conrail Inc. for $4.3 million to expand the Inner Circle Greenway that currently runs through five of the seven city council districts and connects neighborhoods to the city center as well as the riverfront. The city will be reimbursed for the purchase with funds from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

In addition to the reimbursements from the state, the project will be funded with the $500,000 to be put forth by Conrail after the sale and funds from an inventory of city land near the Greenway. The city plans to develop the former site of the Detroit Terminal Railroad into a 7.5-mile off-road path similar to the popular Dequindre Cut portion of the Greenway. The design and construction of the Greenway addition is expected to begin in the fall after the sale of the property is approved by Conrail's board and Detroit City Council. A request for proposals will come out later this year to determine a framework for how larger parks could be added along the greenway, helping it connect to the neighborhoods.
Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former mayor of New York City, has announced the American Cities Initiative, a $200-million investment to be made over the next three years to help city governments to innovate and better serve residents with tech. As part of this initiative, $17.5 million in grants and technical assistance will go to participating cities. Innovation experts will be deployed to assist the first 300 participating cities with one-day city hall training sessions and much more. 

The first related investment will be a program called Mayors Challenge, which calls for participation from every city with more than 30,000 residents, aspiring to help governmental leadership tackle the most significant problems they face.

Ohio- Cleveland State University (CSU) officials are discussing whether the institution should privatize parking. University trustees decided to spend $60,000 to hire a consultant to evaluate its parking and develop a partnership agreement if CSU decides to privatize. If the trustees decide to privatize, the request for a parking company would be released in September. CSU currently has seven parking garages and 16 lots, which ends up being 4,131 parking spaces. Annual revenue from parking operations is about $5.6 million and expenditures are $5 million. 

The discussion about the parking privatization has delayed the process of establishing a public-private partnership for additional student housing. CSU issued a request for qualifications a year ago for developers to construct housing for up to 1,000 students on the site of Krenzler Field or Wolstein Center. If the university had chosen the Wolstein Center site, the 13,000-seat arena would have been replaced with a smaller stadium with adjacent housing. CSU has been looking into public-private housing since 2015, following the recommendations of the Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiently in Higher Education which encouraged universities to consider the benefits of the sale, lease or repurposing of non-core university assets. Ohio State - which has 36,000 parking spaces - privatized parking and received an upfront payment of $483 million. The money was reinvested in core university functions. Ohio State estimates that the $483 million will lead to $3.1 billion in investment earnings, as well as a $4.9 billion increase in the long-term investment pool. CSU is expected to reinvest payments from privatized parking into core university functions as well.
Louisiana- The recent failed gas tax increase to fund transportation projects has not derailed discussions for a passenger train service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge according Louisiana officials. The project is currently in the early planning stages and state and local governments will have to find an alternative method to finance the project since the gas tax increase failed. The federal government is expected to cover most of the $260 million cost and public-private partnerships (P3) will pick up the rest. In addition, there would be an annual net operating cost of about $7 million. The state government will provide some funds, but its main responsibility will be coordinating the project. 

The gas tax increase would have raised $510 million and $30 million would have been allocated to multimodal transportation, including rail service. State officials must also agree to a deal with the Kansas City Southern Railway Company and Amtrak to authorize the project. Advocates have argued that a passenger rail service - with stops in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, Laplace, the New Orleans airport, Jefferson and Union Passenger Terminal in New Orleans - would lead to economic development in the region and relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 10. The service would run along existing freight railroads that would be renovated to support high-speed service. Even if everything goes to plan, it will be years before the high-speed service will be operating. The Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority was granted $250,000 from the federal government and the city-parish matched funds to design a train station for the project. It is expected that a request for proposals will be issued in the next two months.
Maine- The state of Maine recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a privately run, state psychiatric residence in Bangor. The facility would house people who have been through the judicial system, but courts have determined they aren't responsible for crimes because of mental illness. The 21-bed facility is expected to be completed by March 19 with the developer chosen by mid-August. The private operator would agree to a 10-year contract. 

Advocates for those with mental illnesses are examining the plan, making sure that staffing is adequate, and there are clauses included in the contract such as performance standards, a grievance process, and a prohibition on the use of seclusion and restraint on residents. The development of a psychiatric residence has been caught up in a political controversy. Gov. Paul LePage originally sought to proceed with a facility in Augusta, but later changed location to Bangor to avoid lawmakers' oversight of buildings constructed in a special zone in Augusta. A bill recently proposed by a state lawmaker would direct the state to construct and operate the facility near the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta like originally planned.
Rhode Island- The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is considering a stretch of lawn east of the State House as the site of a new bus hub. Agency officials are seeking to connect the train station nearby to the new bus station. Another site under consideration is the large area of grass at Francis and Gaspee streets. The final decision may end up combining the two sites, which would require moving Gaspee Street closer to the State House. Something that agency officials are keeping in mind is preserving existing view corridors of the State House. 

The state is seeking a public-private partnership to build the bus hub with the state ready to provide up to $35 million in mass transit funds. The ultimate goal is to connect the new bus hub to the Providence Train Station. Construction of the bus hub would also have to include shops, residential and commercial space. However, the Capital Center Commission, the planning entity for the land around the State House, has expressed reservations about developing the bus hub on the lawn. Current regulations do not allow for building on the lawn and rules would have to be altered if building were to occur there.
Idaho-The city of Ketchum approved the issuing of a request for proposals (RFP) seeking private developers to transform a city-owned parking lot on Leadville Avenue and Sixth Street into a parking facility with affordable housing units on top. It is expected that the development will have bottom-floor parking and top-floor residential with the possibility of ground-floor retail spaces. There are various opinions among city officials with some councilmen seeking more parking than housing. 

Some are seeking market-rate residential units, while others do not want to sacrifice affordable housing units. In addition, some officials are looking to allow flexibility in the RFP so developers may present their own ideas, while others have expressed that specific RFPs are needed in order to analyze the bids easily. Ketchum plans to follow a public-private partnership model used by the city of Boise for similar projects. Ketchum city officials will spend the next 30 to 45 days discussing these conditions before issuing a final RFP.
North Dakota-The Fargo-Moorhead Flood Diversion Authority has chosen three finalists for the position of executive director: Scott Higeebee, Jay Neider, and Melodee Loyer. The finalists are engineers with experience in major public works projects and public-private partnerships (P3). The finalists were chosen from about 1,000 candidates. The finalist selected will assist in leading a $2.2 billion project to protect the Fargo-Moorhead metro area from flooding. 

A big part of the project will be P3-funded and a single vendor will be contracted to finance, build and maintain it. Higbee was previously a project manager for a Denver-area engineering firm now providing the staff to manage the project. His experience is primarily in dealing with sewer projects. Neider works for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in Herndon, Va. as the project director for a commuter rail line. Loyer is the water administrator for the city of Tucson, Ariz.

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