Volume 11, Issue 41 - Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Transportation congestion is surging. Demand for roadway access exceeds capacity, and something must be done. Time is lost, air quality is compromised, and motorists are frustrated to the point of exhaustion.

Messages delivered by public officials in the past have fallen on deaf ears in many parts of the country. Americans continue to resist all attempts to reduce their reliance on cars. That objective will be pushed even harder in 2020.

Motorists who dislike public transit want free roadways. Some taxpayers are not happy about public funding flowing to mass transit projects. But, as population growth continues, transportation leaders will eventually win the battle. That will initiate big changes throughout the country, and thousands of contracting opportunities will result. Here's a quick look at what is happening.

Some cities - New York and others - are turning to congestion pricing. Beginning in 2021, motorists will have to pay to enter those cities. Fees have not been determined, but current discussions center on $11 to $14 per automobile and about $25 per truck during prime business hours. Fees will fluctuate depending on the time of day.

As elected officials monitor this option, other congestion reducing options will also be considered. In a 2019 Urban Mobility Report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, researchers suggest congestion relief options such as new or expanded public transportation facilities and larger bus and rail fleets. Although those options are not popular with most Texans, other states are testing them and Texas leaders appear ready to do the same.

Efforts to improve public transit in Atlanta took a step forward as the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority released a tentative list of 76 projects in a transit plan. Projects include linking the Clifton Corridor and the Beltline in Atlanta, a MARTA extension to Norcross, and a commuter rail project in Clayton County. The plan also includes increasing bus rapid transit services along various routes and other improvements across a 12-county area. A number of projects will require hundreds of millions of dollars from federal funding, local sales taxes, or other revenue sources.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack testify in support of the administration's proposed legislation seeking $18 billion for the state's transportation system.
Massachusetts - Gov. Charlie Baker continues to urge legislators to proceed with an $18 billion bond bill that aims to improve transportation infrastructure across the state.

Baker anticipates the bill will accelerate initiatives and modernize transportation, improve infrastructure resiliency, decrease traffic congestion, and address barriers to innovation.

The bill was first announced in July and addresses issues such as road and bridge repair, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) funding, tax incentives, and an initiative to decrease emissions.

Hundreds of millions would go toward repairing roads and bridges, and more than $5 billion would go to the MBTA for overhauling bus routes and purchasing low-emission vehicles. Other improvements would be made such as repairing bridges and upgrading traffic signaling technology.

Also part of the plan are tax incentives that promote telecommuting, and the Transportation Climate Initiative, an effort to decrease carbon emissions from vehicles.
Interstate 44 near Tulsa
Oklahoma - State transportation commissioners approved an updated $6.5 billion Eight-year Construction Work Plan on October 14 for Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) projects as well as two additional infrastructure plan revisions.

The Eight-year Plan focuses on replacing failing highway bridges and proactively maintaining older bridges before they fall into disrepair. The state will address two-lane highways with minimal shoulders and improve roadway pavement conditions.

Nearly 1,400 projects are included in the plan that contains 657 bridge replacements or major rehabilitations, 780 miles of shoulder improvements on two-lane highways, and 3,131 lane mile improvements.

Commissioners also approved a $482 million Asset Preservation Plan for FY 2020-2023 to work in tandem with the Eight-year Plan to extend the life of highway infrastructure by improving the surface condition of existing infrastructure, rehabilitating bridges, and improving accessibility. Almost 400 projects will improve 2,500 lane miles of pavement and rehabilitate 85 at-risk bridges.

The County Improvements for Roads and Bridges Plan for FY 2020-2024 also earned approval from commissioners. The revamped plan will address 375 county bridges and more than 800 miles of county roads.
Rendering of 'Grand Central Station' concept
California - The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) released a report detailing plans to improve transit to and from the San Diego International Airport. Four separate options are outlined and range in cost from $1.8 billion to $4.7 billion.

Officials are in favor of the most expensive option: building a multi-level Grand Central Station and an underground people mover connecting to the airport. Cost estimates range from $3.9 billion to $4.7 billion to develop the concept. The station would sit on Navy property north of the airport. The underground people mover would run 80 feet below ground and take travelers directly to the airport via a one-mile tunnel.

Daily ridership could total 40,000 passengers and reduce airport traffic by as much as 30 percent, with a travel time of about three minutes. The other options under consideration include an elevated people mover from the Navy property, an elevated people mover from the proposed transit hub near the Rental Car Center, and an extension of the existing trolley system. 

The SANDAG board will vote in October on a request to spend $50 million on further planning work and a two-year study. Officials will also explore potential funding sources, including federal grants.
Rendering of new Soo Locks expansion
Michigan - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is preparing to build a second lock at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie for a total project cost of $922.4 million.

The new lock would be 1,200 feet long by 110 feet wide to accommodate 1,000-foot freighters navigating the waterway. Seventy-seven percent of the iron ore used by the country's steel industry travels through the Soo Locks, which is the largest waterway traffic system in the U.S.

To date, $116.4 million of the project has been funded with Congress approving more than $75 million this year for preliminary construction and design. A contract for upstream channel deepening work is expected to be awarded this fall. Upon receipt of further funding, the Corps will award a contract for construction of upstream approach walls. According to the state of Michigan, Congress originally approved the upgrade in 1986, but funding was never secured.
Florida - The Central Florida Expressway Authority approved two recommended expressway routes that could cost a total of $700 million.

For nearly 20 years, discussions have focused on the Lake-Orange connector concept. This 4-mile span of highway would intersect U.S. Highway 27 near Lake Louisa State Park and State Road 429 near Orange County National Golf Center, ultimately connecting Lake and Orange counties.

Land purchases for the Lake-Orange connector would cost $102 million, while construction would cost an estimated $317 million. The road would cross a non-residential area of wetlands and agriculture.

The second recommended route focuses on extending Poinciana Parkway nearly 3 miles along the border of Osceola and Polk counties. The project would include a full interchange at U.S. Highway 17-92, and end at County Road 532. In total, the project is estimated to cost $281 million.

To encourage drivers to use electronic transponders at toll plazas, the toll-road authority is also revamping rates for "pay-by-plate" tolls. Next year, pay-by-plate rates will be twice the amount of transponder rates.
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) updated a century-old rule regarding which products or services can be used on federally funded highway projects.

The FHWA formally rescinded 23 CFR 635.411, also known as the "proprietary products rule," which prohibits state and local governments from using patented or proprietary products on highway and bridge projects that receive federal funding.

When the rule goes into effect on October 28, 2019, states will be able to improve safety and efficiency on highways and bridges by using proprietary technologies.

Some of these technologies include reflective lane dividers to help drivers from drifting into oncoming traffic, traffic signs that collapse more easily to minimize collision injuries, and wheeled road barriers that can provide protection to construction workers.

The new rule should also help to encourage innovation and foster development of new technologies that will save lives and improve the nation's highways.
Capitol Reef National Park in Utah
Utah - State transit authority board members approved a $463 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for 2020-2034 on October 9 that will fund 82 percent of the authority's capital requests.

The five-year plan proposes $169.76 million for new vehicles, $91.97 million for a new Ogden-Weber State University bus rapid transit line, $74.24 million for rail maintenance, $52.39 million for vehicle rehabilitation and repair, and $48.63 million for the construction of the Depot District which is a new maintenance and fueling station in Salt Lake City already underway.

Other CIP projects in the plan are $29.8 million for information technology, $18.55 million to relocate the rail station at Salt Lake City International Airport, and $15.5 million for facilities and safety projects. Almost $124 million is scheduled for other capital projects.
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced $48 million in disaster relief and resiliency grants for Texas and $7.3 million for California.

More than $13 million will be matched in local funds in Texas to help create 7,487 jobs, retain 225 jobs, and generate $6 billion in private investment. California will contribute $1 million in matching funds to create or retain 500 jobs.

Some of the grant recipients in Texas are:
  • City of West Orange - $5 million, design and construction of a new wastewater treatment plant;
  • Urban Partnerships Community Development Corporation - $5 million, renovation of a facility to serve as a community fabrication space and incubator hub in Houston;
  • Lamar State College Port Arthur - $4.8 million, renovation of industrial training center to meet industry demand for trained commercial drivers;
  • City of Dayton - Gulf Inland Logistics Park - $4.8 million to support infrastructure improvement, including construction of a utility extension, road expansion, and signal installation; and,
  • Kleberg County - $4.3 million, construction of a regional public safety training facility and emergency operations and command center.
In California, Mariposa County will receive $6.29 million to repair and improve road, water, and sewer infrastructure in a commercial area, and a business alliance will receive $980,753 to purchase equipment for training students in machining, manufacturing, and other skills at Modesto Junior College and a trade school.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which appropriated $600 million to the EDA in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance Program funds for disaster relief and recovery, is the source of the grants.
Tunnel construction under Indianapolis
Indiana - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding a $436 million loan to Indiana for projects that will bring cleaner water to residents throughout the state.

The loan is part of the EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and will be added to the Indiana Finance Authority's (IFA) revolving fund. In total, nearly $900 million will be available to go toward improving the state's water infrastructure.

Indiana has more than 20 water infrastructure projects across the state, including the DigIndy tunnel system, a $547.5 million project to construct an underground tunnel system through downtown Indianapolis that will prevent raw sewage from being dumped into the White River.

Other projects include improving water treatment plants, storage tanks, distribution systems, wells, and pump stations, along with upgrading systems to be more resilient and efficient. The state is also focusing on wastewater projects such as increasing the capacity for treatment plants and constructing tunnels to divert sewage away from waterways.

Some of the loan recipients are the cities of Lawrence, Evansville, Greenwood, Crown Point, and Delphi. Nearly half of the projects will be in small or rural communities, and more than 1.2 million people will benefit from the water infrastructure improvements.
Rendering of Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is awarding a $40.4 million grant to the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County for the Virginia Street Bus RAPID Transit (BRT) Extension project in Reno, Nevada.

The grant is provided through the FTA's capital investment grants (CIG) program, which helps fund major transit infrastructure projects across the nation.

Included in the Virginia Street BRT Extension project are plans to expand rapid transit service by 1.8 miles from downtown Reno to the University of Nevada, Reno, as well as upgrade 1.4 miles of the existing BRT system from downtown Reno to the Midtown District. The federal funding is included in the project's total cost of $114.9 million.

The project aims to improve the Virginia Street corridor by offering better mobility and transit service, along with more safe and convenient access to stations.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives
Washington, D.C. - Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is focusing on protecting the nation's critical infrastructure by making cybersecurity training a top priority.

According to the agency, one of the leading threats to national cybersecurity is the lack of security professionals in the U.S., in both government and private sectors. This massive shortage of employees is expected to grow, however Homeland Security is addressing the issue by developing training, including a K-12 curriculum and a workforce training program for recruiting and retaining individuals.

Because costs of technologies are decreasing, the most vulnerable institutions and companies can now protect themselves. Close collaboration is crucial between government agencies and the broader tech community in order to build secure solutions and protect the nation's assets.
Iowa - Officials in Iowa released findings of a study to determine economic opportunities of the state's education technology (EdTech) sector.  
The Iowa Innovation Council (IIC), an advisory group made up of business leaders who advise the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), guided the report and provided feedback on the roadmap.  
According to the findings, Iowa is uniquely positioned in the EdTech space with four areas holding promise for economic development: assessment and testing; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) content; content visualization and virtual reality systems; and adaptive learning systems. 
Iowa's EdTech industry consists of 28 companies, including a mix of large, mature companies, as well recent startups. More than 3,100 employees work in the industry, and $22.7 million in venture capital and angel investments has been raised since 2010. 
The report also outlines how to grow Iowa's EdTech industry with four strategic imperatives: collaboration facilitation and cluster networking; piloting and adoption environment; entrepreneurial ecosystem development; and workforce development and access. These imperatives can help add up to 1,000 EdTech jobs over the next five years.
Tulsa Port of Catoosa
Oklahoma - Tulsa Port Authority officials acquired land in Inola to develop a new port on the site of the former Black Fox Nuclear Power Plant.

The port authority plans to develop the site for barge unloading, and there is currently a facility that can accommodate barge traffic. But for now, officials want to establish rail infrastructure in order to begin development of the site. 

Seventy companies employ more than 3,200 people at the authority's Tulsa Port of Catoosa, and more than $1 billion of private investment is at the port. 

The port authority's new port is expected to generate significant economic impact by adding more jobs and more investment.
Green Lake Community Center
Washington - Seattle Parks and Recreation is seeking to replace its Green Lake community center and pool. The department will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for firms to design a new center complete with indoor pool, which is estimated to cost more than $25 million.

The selected firm will be expected to assess the existing site and determine where to build the new center and pool. After the site analysis and public outreach are complete, more design work and outreach will begin.

The city's proposed 2020-2025 capital improvement program calls for $500,000 for planning and designing the new center and pool, while funding for construction is expected to be included in the 2021-2026 spending plan. The plan, which voters approved in 2014, will be adopted next year.

Green Lake's community center was Seattle's second-busiest center in 2017 with nearly 270,000 visits counted.
The P3 Higher Education Summit program presents a series of keynotes, case studies, panels, workshops, and diverse networking opportunities designed for attendees to deepen their understanding on alternative project models, innovations in project delivery, the value proposition of public-private partnerships (P3s), and the role they can play in the delivery of essential campus infrastructure.

This year's Summit will be from October 24-25 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, in San Diego, California. Early check-in is available October 23.

The two-day agenda has been programmed to help you plan and procure successful projects, understand best practices in selecting and negotiating with prospective partners, and take steps to ensure project success.
More than 125 leading practitioners, including Strategic Partnerships, Inc. President and CEO Mary Scott Nabers, will present their firsthand observations of higher education P3 projects of all sizes in different markets around the country. The Summit also will offer in-depth roundtable discussions for delegates with interest in discussing specific P3 issues in a more candid and interactive forum.

With over 850 participating delegates, attendees find the Summit to be one of the most effective places on their event schedule to cultivate relationships and network with the industry's most active and influential professionals.

Join more than 850 public representatives, design-build leaders, and P3 experts at the P3 Government Conference for two days of transportation, water, energy, and social infrastructure project delivery. 

The conference is scheduled from December 3-4 at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.

The P3 Government Conference invites local, state, and federal project representatives evaluating upgrades and new developments for two days of P3 education and networking.

This year's program provides the essential tools and know-how to successfully plan, deliver, and operate P3 projects of all sizes.

Connect with owners who want to better understand how alternative project delivery can be used for their next project, identify partners and procurement opportunities, and meet with other communities and agencies using P3s for their critical infrastructure challenges.

Join other delegates to discover new projects and new partners! To be included in future event updates, receive presentations, and connect with the over 800 delegates who attended last year's conference, please visit the conference website and register today!

California - Michael Jones has been selected as the new deputy general manager of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). He previously served as BART's assistant general manager of administration. Jones succeeds Robert "Bob" Powers who was promoted to general manager in July.

New Hampshire - Portsmouth councilmembers voted to enter contract negotiations with Karen Sawyer Conard to be the next city manager. If the contract is approved, Conard would start in her new position on December 16 and succeed City Manager John Bohenko who will retire in January 2020. She is currently the executive director of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission.

Arizona - Gov. Doug Ducey announced David Shinn as director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, effective October 21. Shinn currently serves as the assistant director for the program review division of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C.

Florida - Santa Fe College District trustees appointed Dr. Paul Broadie to be the next president of Santa Fe College. Brodie currently serves as president at both Gateway Community College and Housatonic Community College in Connecticut. He will transition into the position that will be vacated when Dr. Jackson Sasser retires February 1, 2020.

Colorado - Mayor Michael Hancock named Laura Aldrete as the city of Denver's new executive director of community planning and development. She succeeds interim executive director Evelyn Baker who will resume her role as deputy executive director. Aldrete most recently served as senior vice president for real estate at Denver International Airport.

Vermont - Gov. Phil Scott appointed Mike Smith as the state's next secretary of the Agency Human Services. Smith takes over for acting secretary Martha Maksym who held the position after former Secretary Al Gobeille stepped down in June. Smith most recently served as interim president and CEO of a Vermont technology company.
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