Volume 10, Issue 9- Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
As the fight over funding rages on in Washington, Congress is suggesting new ways to scoop up revenue that could have a very negative impact on America's airports. A Senate proposal to nearly double the passage facility charge, which is known as the airport tax, has executives of six airlines urging Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to reject the proposal and help them fight this latest attack on airports. In a letter to Chao, those major airline leaders pointed out that 17 existing federal fees on airports, totaling more than $24 billion, now account for nearly 21 percent of the cost of a round-trip ticket for citizen travelers. 

The Airports Council International estimates the United States needs $100 billion in infrastructure funding over the next four years just for critical repairs and expansions at U.S. airports. Congress is not going to help with that kind of funding.  

As a result, some cities such as Mt. Pleasant, Utah, have announced a decision to abandon plans for new airports. That's because they have no funding. Other airports are more aggressive and many are turning to alternative funding options and plan to move forward without federal funding assistance. Airport needs are great and also diverse. While a large majority of airports in Europe and other countries are privatized, American airports are not...but they are suffering because very little public funding is available to them. 

Although airports generate a huge percentage of the country's GDP and create thousands of jobs, the last major airport in the U.S. was built in 1995 - 23 years ago. The majority of federal funding over the past decade has primarily gone to small airports for small projects.

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Oklahoma- Oklahoma City officials are requesting bids for a $300 million convention center that are due by April 25. The design for the complex at 500 South Robinson Ave. includes a 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 45,000 square feet of high-tech meeting rooms on three levels and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom, with a balcony overlooking the park. 

Additional projects to be added if bids are favorable include a $3.5 million parking garage to accommodate 750 cars, a $2 million skyway linking the parking garage to the convention center and a $1.2 million skyway that will link the new hotel to the convention center. Proceeds of a sales tax approved by voters in 2009 will fully fund the convention center. Construction could begin in June and the building could be ready by mid-2020.
Ohio- Students and staff at Kent State University were given a glimpse into the new University Master Plan. The 10-year plan is divided into three phases to ensure projects are completed on time and is estimated to cost $1.2 billion. The master plan includes a $72 million plan for a new College of Business Administration Building that the university intends to develop through a public-private partnership. 

The university will host a design competition open to the public in April, where four design firms will present ideas for the building. This will be narrowed down to two firms, and Kent State officials involved in the Master Plan process hope to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees in May. Updates on the plan are available here.
Tennessee- The 102-year-old Memphis Brooks Museum of Art building in Overton Park needs a makeover. The city of Memphis has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) that seeks developers to rehabilitate, reuse and manage the facility at 1934 Poplar Avenue. The Brooks Museum is relocating to a new riverfront site on a block of Front Street between Union and Monroe avenues. 

The current facility can be reused as a conference and event space or commercial use that includes research and development. The building can't be used for residential or industrial purposes. The developer must also have a sustainable concept that does not rely on the city for ongoing financial support. The deadline for the RFQ is April 6.
Indiana- The Anderson Community School Corporation is seeking approval of a $41 million bond to upgrade facilities and a $1.8 million bond to cover operating expenses. Funding from the Anderson facilities bond will be used to upgrade secure entrances at all schools, for construction of a field house at Anderson High School, transforming Eastside Elementary into an intermediate school and closing Killbuck Elementary and returning all kindergarten students to their home schools. 

The Alexandria Community School Corporation wants approval of a $19.3 million bond to make repairs at the high school and build space at the intermediate school, so all elementary students could be transferred there. About $11.2 million of the proposed referendum is earmarked for the construction of a kindergarten through second-grade wing at the intermediate school and an auxiliary gym and additional classrooms at the high school.
Utah- Utah Lake needs to be restored and a lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow for the state, which owns the lake bed, to transfer state land in and around Utah Lake to private entities in exchange for projects that would offer significant restoration benefits to the lake. Estimated to cost between $6 billion and $7 billion, the project would include building islands on Utah Lake by first dredging the lake, then rehabilitating and building it over the course of 10 to 15 years. 

There are ongoing projects to remove carp, an invasive species, from the lake to enable the regrowth of native vegetation and protect the endangered June sucker fish. The bill passed out of a House committee last Wednesday with a favorable recommendation, and heads to the Utah House of Representatives for a full vote. If approved, it would then head on to the Utah Senate.
Maryland- Properties that are located in Baltimore's Market Center National Historic District are for sale and development. The city is seeking a developer to buy and make over the following vacant properties:

-114 W. Lexington Street with land area of 1,793 square feet and a 3-story structure.
-116-120 W. Lexington Street with land area of 4,027 square feet and a 3-story structure. 
-207-209 Park Ave. with land area of 912 square feet and a 4-story structure. 

The Baltimore Development Corporation's (BDC) request for proposals (RFP) states that respondents may bid on the entire offering or parcels on an individual basis, but redevelopment of all properties by a single team is preferred. The site is eligible for the 10-year High Performance Tax Credit for market-rate rental housing and is located within the city's Enterprise Zone. The properties may also be eligible for the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation tax credit for historic rehabilitations and restorations, as well as for several state and federal tax credits. The BDC will hold a pre-proposal conference on-site at 114 W. Lexington Street at 10 a.m. on March 13.
Tennessee- A study released last year shows that Williamson County needs additional facilities to meet the growth of youth sports in the area. The county's sports authority board this week issued a request for qualifications for a consultant that is familiar with sports authorities, marketing and funding. 

The study suggested that the county could meet the needs of youth sports and boost the county's hospitality and tourism industry by building a premier multisport complex. One suggestion called for a $65.93 million indoor facility with 10 basketball courts, 20 volleyball courts, two ice sheets, two indoor turf fields and 1,200 parking spaces. The second option was for a $60.96 million outdoor facility with 21 multipurpose fields, 12 baseball and softball diamonds and 3,600 parking spaces. The complex could be open for sports tournaments on the weekends and to local leagues during the workweek. The board will review qualifications from potential consultants in about 30 days.
Pennsylvania- The Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission and Connected Nation completed a study that identifies Erie County as providing the lowest access to high-speed internet in the region. County executives are reviewing the report that shows access at 7.6 percent and recommends forming a team to oversee and implement actions. 

To counter this low access rate, the Northwest Regional Commission also suggests developing a public-private partnership (P3) to make broadband more available. Exact plans for the project have not yet been released, but the county's information technology director is meeting with internet providers to look at ways to increase local internet access.
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Nebraska- The Columbus City Council unanimously approved to add a bond issue to the May primary election ballot. If approved, $16 million of sales tax money will go towards building a new police station on 14th St. and a new fire station just off Howard Blvd. 

The bond issuance would also go towards the demolition of the existing fire station, as well as demolishing a building on the property where the police station will be built. There will be no raised taxes for the residents of Columbus and the city has already spent money on the design phase of the projects. The city also hopes to increase response time by adding living space and a full-time staff to the Charlie Louis Fire Station. That would be funded separately from the bonds.
California- The city of Vallejo purchased properties last year for future development of permanent supportive housing units. The city released a request for qualifications (RFQ) for responses from developers experienced in affordable housing and supportive services providers for the development, construction and operational management of two city-owned properties. 

The city has about $4 million in additional one-time funds available to contribute toward the rehabilitation, construction or other hard costs associated with development of new units. Qualifications are due by March 30.
Georgia- The New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam was deauthorized by federal legislation at the end of 2016. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is considering plans to turn the dam into a passageway for spawning fish and is expected to release draft recommendations by the summer. The concrete, lock wall has developed large cracks, but the pumps can still function, and a group called the Savannah Riverkeeper is interested in making the area a whitewater park. 

Advocates for the park want the Augusta Commission to put up $10,000 to perform a study on the possibilities. The group has been approached by private investors and has suggested a public-private partnership for the area. The USACE still owns the park, but it would be turned over to the city after construction is completed on a chosen project.
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New York- Officials in Riverhead are planning to turn 30 acres of undeveloped park land into a new indoor sports and recreation center. The town intends to release a request for proposals in the coming weeks for the development, which will be built using a public-private partnership. 

Any private development would be required to provide special benefits to Riverhead town residents. Those benefits could include recreational opportunities and special resident rates. Residents have expressed interest in indoor soccer and lacrosse fields, hockey rinks and a swimming pool.
California- The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) plans to spend $10 million to conduct a feasibility study on how a second tube beneath the bay would work, where it would be located, what markets it would serve and who would govern it. The study will also look at the bigger picture of possibly having other transit agencies use the new tube, like high speed rail, Capitol Corridor or Caltrain. 

There has been talk of a second Transbay tube for years, but BART is now seriously looking into it. The project is estimated to cost anywhere from $12 billion to $15 billion. Building a second Transbay tube would double the agency's capacity and provide the option to run trains 24-hours a day. Ridership is expected to reach capacity in the current tunnel by the year 2030.
Colorado- The Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority has looked at several options for an unfinished building that has cost them $4.1 million. Since the project was abandoned in 2014, ideas for the unfinished building have included demolishing the structure or simply completing it with no plan for its use. 

The regional airport authority has devised a new plan to turn the structure into a public-private partnership and is open to modifying the design and purpose of the building. Last week, the airport authority issued a request for information (RFI) for a partner to design, build and maintain the structure. Interested companies have until May 31 to respond.
Washington D.C.- The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is overseeing a lighting project that will transition all streetlights in the district, about 75,000, to light-emitting diode (LED) lights. 

About 5,500 streetlights have already been converted to LEDs and the DDOT is considering a public-private partnership (P3) for the remainder of the project. A P3 would allow the city to contract with a private company to install and maintain the streetlights.
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

March 1
Grant Thornton will host "The Changing Nature of Personal Transit" webinar at 1 p.m. on March 1. Automobile companies and tech leaders are investing heavily in the driverless car, but are they missing the target? Examine how autonomous vehicles and related technologies are impacting transit systems around the country and discuss how public transit agencies can embrace new technologies like autonomous vehicles to increase ridership, recover lost transportation revenue, and improve service. Register here

Speakers include: Brien Desilets, Head of Infrastructure Advisory, Grant Thornton; Sven Hackmann, Managing Partner, Rapid Venture Partners & Board Advisor NEXT Future Transportation; and Naveen Lamba, Smart Cities Lead, Grant Thornton.
April 9-10
The P3 Hub Midwest Conference of 2018 will be held April 9-10 in the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile at 505 Michigan Avenue. The conference will present a series of roundtable sessions, interactive panel discussions, presentations and networking opportunities while focusing on public-private partnership (P3) opportunities in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota and many other states in the Midwest. 

The event will bring together U.S. procurers, mayors, governors, investors, contractors and advisers to debate the future of P3s. Senior public officials and private sector delegates will be on hand to discuss the latest opportunities to build and manage public assets through P3s on both sides of the Mississippi. This is your chance to hear all the information on where the latest project activity is emerging. Registration is open for the conference here. View some details of the events here.
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

- California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. has announced the appointment of Laurie Berman to serve as the new director for the Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The current Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty announced his departure from public service to pursue other opportunities in the private sector. Berman has been serving as Caltrans Acting Chief Deputy Director since October 2017. She has a 34-year history with Caltrans serving in multiple roles in the department including district director in the San Diego region. Berman will lead the $8.5 billion organization with nearly 20,000 employees, effective March 3, 2018. 
- Yasmin Beers has been promoted to Glendale's city manager. In November, Beers, then Glendale's assistant city manager, was appointed interim city manager after Scott Ochoa announced his resignation the previous month to accept a position with the city of Ontario. Beers began as a part-time employee for the city's library department in 1987 which attending high school and then college. Since then she has served multiple positions for the city. 
- George Buenik, former executive assistant chief in the Houston Police Department (HPD) will oversee Houston's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. He retired in March 2017 after spending 34 years in the HPD. The office assists the city in its preparedness activities to prevent, protect from, respond to and recover from man-made and natural disasters or major emergencies. 
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) acting deputy administrator, Mike Flynn, will retire in April. Before taking on the deputy job on an acting basis, Flynn was associate deputy administrator at the EPA. Flynn joined the EPA in 1980 and served in several of its program offices - including its solid waste, environmental information and air offices - before heading to the administrator's office at the agency. President Trump has nominated Andrew Wheeler for the deputy administrator job at EPA. 
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the Homeland Security Department will name Bill McElhaney as its new chief information officer. He will replace Mark Schwartz who left as USCIS' CIO in July to join an online retailer. McElhaney spent eight years working at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement directorate, and 13 years at the old Immigration and Naturalization Service. McElhaney will start March 5. 
- Brunswick Community College (BCC) president Susanne Adams will be retiring in January 2019. She has served as BCC's president in North Carolina for seven years. Adams began her tenure as BCC president in 2011 following 25 years with Sandhills Community College in Moore County, four years with Danville Community College in Virginia and four years teaching high-risk students reading and English.  
- John D. Small was appointed commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources (DNR), Energy and Environment. Small, who previously spent 38 years in management positions in the coal mining industry, has been in the Cabinet since 2016, first as director of the Division of Mine Safety and as deputy commissioner of DNR. His appointment is effective March 1, 2018. Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely announced the resignation of DNR Commissioner Allen Luttrell in January. 
- Bowling Green State University's (BGSU) Board of Trustees has named Rodney Rogers the university's 12th president. Rogers, who has served as the interim university president, will replace Mary Ellen Mazey who stepped down Jan. 1, despite her contract running through June 30, 2019. Before he was named interim president, he was senior vice president and provost and had been with BGSU for 11 years. He has worked at Portland State University, Case Western, and the Ecole de Management at EuroMed-Marseille in France. 
- Gov. John Bel Edwards has appointed attorney Lisa Freeman as executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. Freeman worked in the Baton Rouge City Prosecutor's Office as an assistant prosecutor for 24 years, then as first assistant prosecutor and then as chief prosecutor in Baton Rouge City Court. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is part of the Department of Public Safety and administers the state's highway safety grant program. 
- Former Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Gorman has been named the new executive director of the Illinois Tollway, effective March 1. As executive director, Gorman will lead the Illinois Tollway, which oversees the state's 294-mile tollway system and the agency's $1.45 billion annual budget. Gorman most recently worked as the director of state and local government for a tax and advisory company. Her public service includes 13 years as a Cook County commissioner and Forest Preserve District commissioner.
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