Volume 9, Issue 38- September 27, 2017
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
The very recent Equifax data breach was another ominous "wake-up call." Americans were reminded once again that our data networks are very vulnerable. More significant, though, is the fact that cyberattacks don't just involve data breaches. Critical infrastructure can be compromised just as easily - water systems, electrical grids, airports and public transportation. Lives can be lost just as quickly as critical information and data. 

Currently, the National Infrastructure Advisory Council has warned of a "watershed, cyber-attack" and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has called for government officials to explore new ways to combat cyberattacks through public-private collaborations. 

Consider this: 
* In 2016, an Iranian national was indicted for taking control of New York State's Bowman Dam; 
* Autonomous vehicles are controlled through technology networks; 
* Public transportation relies on technology networks; 
* Only half of IT Managers in government say they have ever even recommended cybersecurity changes; 
* Even if changes were recommended, most governmental entities lack the funding that would be required to implement major changes; 
* Russians were recently able to hack into some of America's voting system networks; 

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There are many different kinds, or classes, of government units with an annual budget, including counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, fire districts, hospital districts and other special districts. All of them have deadlines for their balanced, fiscal year budget that will outline revenue and spending categories and totals for the various funds. A budget contains several important parts, and one worth noting is the budget for capital improvements. The time frame for these improvements can be within a year or part of a multi-year plan. It's a great resource for information on upcoming projects and funding that is available.

In Florida, Orange County School Board members authorized the adoption of the 2018 budget intended to keep the district operating smoothly for the following fiscal year. The $2.1 billion operating budget includes projected expenditures of $2 million on the addition of rubberized tracks at high schools over the next four years, $102.2 million for the expansion of the digital curriculum program, $65.2 million for the purchase of land for future schools, $25.1 million for school bus replacements over the next 10 years, $22.2 million for the moving and leasing of portables and $6.4 million on capital funding for charter schools.

In Pennsylvania, the city of Pittsburgh submitted a $555 million operating budget and $105 million capital spending plan to the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA), the city's state financial overseer. Capital projects include $16 million for repaving 65 miles of city streets, $2.25 million for surveillance cameras, $5 million on equipment and vehicles, $2.6 million on transportation improvements and $4 million to reconstruct Smallman Street, which runs through Downtown and the Strip District. Pittsburgh met Friday's state-mandated deadline to submit the budgets to the ICA. The authority's board of directors has 30 days to review and vote on the plans, which then go to council for approval before the year's end.


Pennsylvania-  Some major projects have the potential to improve Philadelphia's infrastructure. Amtrak is in search of a master developer to take on a $6.5 billion project to transform both 30th Street Station and the surrounding area into an innovative transportation hub and mixed-use neighborhood. Creating more public space and addressing traffic issues will be other planned changes directly involving the 30th Street Station. 

A feasibility study is underway to extend the Broad Street subway line from the final stop at the stadiums to the Navy Yard. The study results are expected to be released this year. The estimated $500 million project could turn the Navy Yard campus into a livable place with housing. Another project is the capping of Interstate 95 and Penn's Landing. 

A $225 million project will put a park over the interstate between Chestnut and Walnut streets, and slope down over Penn's Landing, which is currently a heavy-concrete public space on the Delaware River. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is waiting for an environmental impact study on an effort to connect King of Prussia rail (KOP) with the Norris High Speed Line. The KOP could see an operational train by 2025.
South Carolina-  Last week, Cherokee County School trustees authorized funding for several construction projects. Among the authorized projects is $3.75 million for Blacksburg High stadium, with an energy company contributing another $250,000. Visitor seating at the current field had to be moved because it was in the energy company's right-of-way, causing traffic issues. 

The current plan is to demolish the existing stadium after this year's football season and build a new one for the 2018 season. Other projects include $1.5 million for a weight room addition to be built at Gaffney High School, $750,000 for heating and air system work throughout the district and another $1.5 million for a land purchase for future projects.
California-  University of California (UC) Davis is preparing its 2017 Long Range Development plan. The plan is expected to include the University's most ambitious housing plan ever. With growing housing problems in the area, UC Davis is committed to making their housing proposal both ambitious and viable. The plan includes a new 500-seat dining hall, a retail dining venue and a study to help locate the site for a future residential complex. The $32 million project is expected to be completed by Fall 2019.  

Also opening that fall will be a 400-bed new residence hall to replace the demolished Webster Hall. A 200 bed Orchard Park apartment building is expected to open the year after. This spring a request for proposals is expected to be issued for a new West Village Transfer Student Housing project. Of the 1,875 beds, 1,200 are expected to be leased back to UC Davis.
North Carolina-  The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) that oversees the Greensboro area approved $565 million last week for local projects for the city's highway, rail, aviation, bike and pedestrian assets between budget years 2020 and 2029. Among the proposed projects are road and interchange improvements to United States 29, U.S. 70, the Greensboro Urban Loop and North Carolina 68. The most ambitious project aims at detangling Battleground Avenue's intersection with Lawndale Drive and Westover Terrace north of downtown. 

The funding package also includes nearly $20 million in pedestrian and bicycle projects, $19 million for rail and $2 million for aviation. The MPO approved $300,000 for 2018 to improve safety at Interstate 40's Elm-Eugene Street interchange in south Greensboro to eliminate free-flow right turns on one of its exit ramps.
Louisiana-  Louisiana's State Bond Commission approved $477 million for statewide projects last week. Some of the higher dollar projects include Calcasieu Parish that will receive $30 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds for the Calcasieu Parish Public Trust Authority (Le Jolliet Development Project) for the acquisition, construction and equipping of a residential rental facility containing 264 living units. 

The Louisiana Community Development Authority will receive $15 million in Revenue Bonds for the Louisiana Community Development Authority (Terrebonne Port Commission Project) for the acquisition, construction, improvement and renovation of the Terrebonne Port Commission. Terrebonne Parish will receive $10 million in Revenue Bonds for the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District for hurricane risk reduction projects. 

Tangipahoa Parish will receive $10.5 million in Revenue and Refunding Bonds for the Sewerage District No. 1 to acquire, construct, extend and improve the sewerage system and refinance United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Bonds, saving $71,249. Allen Parish will receive $5.7 million in Revenue Bonds for the Allen Parish Law Enforcement District for acquiring, constructing and improving the current jail facility.
California-  The California Department of Transportation wants feedback on a plan to ease the traffic bottleneck on a section of the Capital City Freeway in Sacramento. The bottleneck stretches from K Street to north of Arden Way. Caltrans launched a new website with details about the plan and a section for people to add their comments. State Highway Operation and Protection Program funding of $141 million will pay for repairs, and the remaining amount, when added to overall costs, will be $575 million. 

The project calls for widening the freeway and the American River Bridge to accommodate a bus and carpool lane, an auxiliary lane and a Class 1 bike path. Caltrans will be holding several public meetings about the future project, scheduled to begin construction in  2023. 

Larry Hogan
Maryland- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan proposed a $9 billion public-private partnership (P3) to add four new traffic lanes to Interstate 495 and four lanes to Interstate 270. Intended to decrease congestion in the U.S. capital region, Hogan wants private developers to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the added lanes. Hogan also wants to build toll lanes on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Interior, and transfer ownership of the roadways to Maryland. 

After the ownership is transferred, the Maryland Transportation Authority would be responsible for building and maintaining the roadways. Hogan's plan was announced just a few months after signing an agreement with the U.S Department of Transportation to build a $2 billion, 16-mile light rail project in the Maryland suburbs near Washington. The Purple Line project is being constructed through a P3, and the federal government is contributing nearly $900 million.
Michigan- Whitmore Lake has 23 acres of downtown space that may soon be transformed into an assortment of amenities. For the past year, the Downtown Planning Group has been working with the Planning Commission and public to gather input on exactly which amenities should be added. 

A large public space with restaurants, businesses, a community garden, marina, fishing dock and pavilion have been suggested. One option under consideration is a public-private partnership. The plan is to release a request for proposals (RFP). The Planning Commission board is going to vote on Oct. 24 on whether to send out an RFP.
California- A power plant in Redondo Beach will be retired by 2020 because of state regulations targeting coastal power plants that use ocean water to cool steam turbines. In 2018 California Voters will likely get an opportunity to vote on a parks bond measure that would turn the power plant site into an open space. If passed, the measure would allow Redondo Beach to purchase the 51-acre property. In addition to the bond measure, Redondo Beach is considering a public-private partnership to fund the project. 

Senate Bill 5, which calls for $4 billion for a variety of parks and water projects throughout the state, was passed by the state Legislature late last week and is expected to be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. It would be designated for the June 2018 ballot.
Wyoming- After the closure of the Hitching Post Inn, the city of Cheyenne is moving forward with plans to revitalize the land. City council members are considering a public-private partnership to develop it into a retail, dining and recreation area. 

The city recently discussed options to assist the owner of the property in making it marketable and vital again, including helping pay for the building to be demolished in exchange for land of an equal cost. Demolishing the old Inn is estimated to cost $300,000. City council members hope the development will help revitalize the entire area.
The United States Air Force is working to recruit civilian pilots. Enlistment has fallen over the past few years, and the Air Force is working to recruit, train and retain new pilots. Air Force leaders have been meeting with major airlines to find ways to deal with the worldwide pilot shortage. 

The airline industry is looking to double globally over the next 20 years, but they are short on pilots. To train recruits, the Air Force has considered creating a new training academy run through a public-private partnership (P3). The academy would be funded by airlines, creating a pipeline of civilian and military pilots. The Air Force hopes to produce 1,600 pilots a year.
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