Volume 11, Issue 39 - Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Strange as it sounds, budget documents are always interesting reading. That's especially true when they come from public entities.

Government officials, at every jurisdictional level of government, are required to prepare and approve budgets. That's not an easy or quick task. In fact, public officials spend months documenting anticipated revenues and planned expenditures.

Because of transparency laws, budget information is available to the public even before final budget votes are taken. And, by examining public information such as budgets, capital planning documents, and expiring contracts, researchers are able to identify upcoming projects long before they are publicly announced. For government contracting firms, this is extremely valuable information.

Here's a quick sampling of some interesting upcoming projects that are documented in new budgets.

The city of Seattle unveiled a $5.9 billion budget with $1.32 billion in general-fund spending. This represents a 10 percent increase over the previous budget. The Seattle Department of Transportation is scheduled to receive $132 million for congestion relief, maintenance and repair on streets and bridges. Another $78.2 million will be invested in affordable housing. The Seattle Police Department will receive $3.2 million to upgrade its computer aided dispatch system.

In Austin, council members approved a $4.2 billion budget which sets aside $1 billion to fund projects in the city's five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Numerous projects are outlined in that plan, but the largest portion revolves around mobility. The new budget allocates $312.3 million for mobility spending in the coming year. The second largest part of mobility CIP spending is for aviation with $1.5 billion allocated to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport's expansion. Austin Energy's five-year plan calls for expenditures of $1.1 billion, which include a new headquarters facility, a cooling station, and a downtown substation.

Kansas - Leavenworth County commissioners were briefed on a study examining a possible outer loop highway for Kansas City. The issue was originally studied in 1995, and the latest proposed loop would include a four-lane highway that would end near Fort Leavenworth.

To the north, the loop would connect U.S. 73 and Kansas 7 Highway, and then stretch south on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area, ending at Interstate 49 in Missouri.

In total, the project is estimated to cost $3.39 billion.

The outer loop would most likely be constructed in segments, and officials are considering the idea of a public-private partnership (P3). Funding sources also are being considered, and the study has already ruled out the use of tolls on the road.

Officials are mulling the idea of constructing an additional Missouri River bridge in Leavenworth County, which could eventually connect to the proposed outer loop highway.
Sound Transit platform
Washington - Sound Transit plans to expand capacity of the Sounder South commuter rail corridor, and it's seeking feedback on its nearly $1 billion plan.

Options include adding more trips, expanding the period of service, increasing frequency of service, and operating larger trains. Any improvements would be implemented on a rolling basis through 2036. An eight-mile extension will be added, as well as two new stations south of Lakewood.

The corridor currently carries 16,000 passengers on weekdays, and ridership is steadily increasing.

Sound Transit is considering three major tradeoffs: capacity and ridership, costs, and reliability. In seeking feedback, Sound Transit wants to identify the public's highest priorities so it can allocate its funding and resources to most effectively meet demand.

Other options include deploying diesel multiple units to run extra service between Lakewood and Tacoma Dome Station, and through-routing to extend service toward Ballard with up to four new stations.
Michigan - The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) released its latest plans to overhaul 6.7 miles of I-94 in Detroit. The stretch of highway lies between I-96 and Conner Avenue, and MDOT estimates $2.8 billion will be needed for the project.

Since 2004, MDOT has been suggesting improvements to I-94. The most recent draft of its environmental impact statement (EIS) calls for less widening than what was laid out in the previous iteration. Overall, the goal of the project is to modernize the highway to address safety standards, traffic congestion, and multi-modal improvements.

One lane will be added in each direction, and the shoulder will be widened. Service drives will also be redesigned to make the total I-94 footprint smaller than previously planned. Some service drives will be converted to two traffic lanes and include a bike lane.

The project will also improve non-motorized bridges, converting them into "complete street" bridges with street-level access for vehicles and pedestrians. Three new bridges will be added as well, including one at Conner Avenue that will be part of Michigan's 2,000-mile non-motorized Iron Belle Trail.

Construction is expected to start in 2023 and finish in 2036.
U.S. Coast Guard
Washington, D.C. - Officials and engineers discussed the Coast Guard's substantial backlog of deferred maintenance and infrastructure repairs, at a recent hearing on the agency's infrastructure needs.

Those at the hearing were calling for a long-term strategy to address the backlog, which is expected to grow due to hurricanes, flooding, and other coastal hazards. Additionally, officials suggest an assessment of critical port infrastructure and its vulnerability to the elements.

A study released earlier this year by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the Coast Guard is in need of at least $2.6 billion to maintain and repair its shoreside infrastructure, housing, and support facilities. However, because this estimate includes only items for which the Coast Guard has affixed a cost estimate, the backlog is likely much higher.

The Coast Guard is responsible for more than 20,000 shore facilities. Experts in coastal engineering, adaptation planning, and risk management are seeking ways to help manage these facilities and ensure the Coast Guard is equipped with a more resilient infrastructure.
Texas - Representatives from the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) updated the Collin County Commissioners Court on the agency's five-year plan that includes more than $1 billion in improvements and construction.

Commissioners welcomed NTTA officials at the court's September 23 meeting where they heard about the plan that would add 200 miles of road lanes including extensions to President George Bush Turnpike (PGBT), Dallas North Tollway (DNT), and Chisholm Trail Parkway.

Plans for DNT are to build an extension north to the Grayson County line in several phases. After completing a four-lane bridge currently under construction at U.S. 380, the NTTA will construct a four-lane tollway section from U.S. 380 to FM 428 in Celina. Once that section is finished, work will begin on another road section that goes to the Grayson County Line. Construction is estimated to cost $500 million.

NTTA officials are preparing two extensions to the east and west sides of the Bush Turnpike. In Grand Prairie, a 5-mile tollway connection is planned between the PGBT and the 360 Tollway. Estimated project cost is $370 million. The other extension will carry the tollway from Interstate 30 south to Interstate 20 for a projected total of $1.2 billion. Chisholm Trail Parkway will undergo $240 million in construction on two additional lanes from the Johnson County line to U.S. 67 and then widening from I-30 in Fort Worth to U.S. 67 in Alvarado.
soil moisture sensor illustration
Connecticut - Researchers at the University of Connecticut (UConn) have engineered a soil moisture sensor that can help with water conservation efforts in the agriculture industry.

The new sensors were developed by environmental, mechanical, and chemical engineers using the university's farm, and can help save an estimated 35 percent of water consumption.

Sensors currently on the market are expensive and difficult to install, ranging in price from $100 to $1,000 each. The sensors developed by UConn are small enough to be easily inserted into the soil and are much less expensive. Researchers say each sensor costs $2.

In comparison to current technologies that suffer from low resolution, UConn's prototype provides high spatio-temporal resolution data that's crucial to developing hydrology models.

Additionally, the UConn researchers are creating a nitrogen sensor similar to the moisture sensor. These types of sensors, though not currently available, would help farmers collect data on soil fertilization.
Rhode Island - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Rhode Island with a $269 million low-interest loan to go toward the state's largest ever public-works project. The loan allows for the completion of a system of underground tunnels in Providence that store and treat tainted stormwater before it washes into Narragansett Bay.

Since 2001, the Combined Sewer Overflow project has made significant improvements, including $360 million for a three-mile long, 26-foot-wide storage tunnel under Providence, and $187 million for ancillary pipes connecting to the tunnel.

The final phase of work involves constructing a 2.2-mile long, 30-foot-wide storage tunnel that will stretch from Bucklin Point in East Providence and into Pawtucket. Including additional necessary components of the project, the phase will cost $755 million and bring the project's total cost to $1.5 billion.

More than 11 billion gallons of untreated stormwater have been captured by the tunnel network since it was implemented. Bacteria levels in the Bay have also decreased by 50 percent.
New Hampshire State House
New Hampshire - New laws went into effect this month, which call for a commuter rail study and requirements for accommodating driverless cars in the future.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) is eager to develop the rail study, which would examine the idea of a commuter rail from Lowell, Mass., to Nashua and Manchester. SB 241 allows the final development study to assess the financial and political feasibility of the rail, and ultimately determine its fate.

Federal highway funds are allowed by SB 241 to go toward the development phase. NHDOT officials met with agencies in Massachusetts to help with materials to develop a request for proposals (RFP) to hire a design consultant. It could take nine months to select a consultant for the two-year contract, but the agency wants to be ready should the state be able to secure funding.

The other law, SB 216, establishes a testing program, deployment requirements, and an advisory commission for driverless cars. A testing program must be developed within 90 days of September 1, and officials are working to schedule the advisory commission's first meeting.
Rendering of Nebraska athletic complex
Nebraska - The University of Nebraska is getting a new athletic complex near its Memorial Stadium. The 350,000-square foot complex is estimated to cost $155 million and will serve the football program as well as student-athletes in all sports.

Construction will begin in summer 2020 and finish in May or June of 2022.

The three-story building will include a new locker room, strength and conditioning center, athletic medicine facility, equipment room, meeting rooms, coaches' offices, and an outdoor practice field. Also included in the plans are the training table and academic support facilities for all student-athletes.

Over the last few months, the school has achieved about 35 percent to 40 percent of the $100 million fundraising goal. All money raised so far comes from private sources, while the school intends to use trust funds and financing to cover the remaining amount.

Next steps include sending the project to the board of trustees in October. After approval, the project will proceed to the design process, which will require final approval from the board in the spring.
Juneau International Airport
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded $157 million in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants on September 27. This is the sixth allotment of the total $3.18 billion in federal funding that will go toward AIP projects this year.

The construction and equipment supported by this funding increase the airports' safety, emergency response capabilities, and capacity, and could support further economic growth and development within each airport's region.

Some of the airports receiving AIP grants are:
  • Juneau International Airport in Alaska - $25.4 million to acquire emergency generator, construct taxiway, and rehabilitate two taxiways;
  • Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Alaska - $18.93 million to construct aircraft rescue and fire-fighting building and three other buildings;
  • Crooked Creek Airport in Alaska - $16.05 million to construct access road, apron, two snow removal equipment buildings, and taxiway and reconstruct three runways;
  • Memphis International Airport in Tennesse - $14.6 million to construct deicing pad and associated facilities;
  • Myrtle Beach International Airport in South Carolina - $12.12 million to reconstruct taxiway;
  • Fayetteville Regional/Grannis Field in North Carolina - $11.5 million to expand terminal building;
  • Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Pennsylvania - $11.14 million to widen runway;
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas - $11.12 million to rehabilitate runway;
  • Southeast Iowa Regional Airport in Iowa - $10.95 million to reconstruct runway; and,
  • Indianapolis International Airport in Indiana - $9.65 million to construct a snow removal equipment building.
For a complete list of AIP grants, click here.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives
Michigan - Economic development leaders are advocating a public-private partnership (P3) to build a publicly owned event center in downtown Kalamazoo.

The CEO of a regional economic development organization estimated the project would cost $110 million, but contributions from the private sector could fund about half that amount. The ideal location is on a five-acre site between North Westnedge Avenue and Park Street near West Kalamazoo Avenue. Previous proposals envisioned a 216,000-square-foot event center.

Plans for the event center have come and gone over more than a decade, but a state representative recently proposed a "regional event center financing act" bill that would allow Kalamazoo County to found a building authority to own the event center and finance the project with bond sales.

The County Commission could vote to increase its local accommodation tax above the 4 percent limit and use that new tax revenue to finance the center, if the state bill were to pass.
Virginia - County officials are gathering public input on a proposed multi-purpose, mixed-use neighborhood in downtown Stafford in advance of publishing a request for proposals (RFP) in spring 2020.

Single-family and multi-family housing, retail shops, restaurants, entertainment and recreation areas, and a county museum are all under consideration to be included in the concept. The neighborhood would be on Courthouse Road across from the county courthouse.

The RFP will solicit design and construction plans for phased sections of the project that take into account the area's history and waterway elements.
Tempe streetcar
Arizona - The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded a $75 million grant to Valley Metro for the Tempe Streetcar project. The project will improve transit between Arizona State University (ASU) and Valley Metro's existing light rail system.

In total, the project costs $192.4 million. The three-mile streetcar includes 14 stations and six vehicles that will connect downtown Tempe, ASU, and Rio Salado Parkway. Ultimately, the project will improve mobility and service through the historic Tempe area, and connect to the existing rail that serves Phoenix, Mesa, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Funding comes from the FTA's Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, which funds major transit infrastructure projects throughout the United States.
electronic voting machines
Washington, D.C. - Hackers participating in the Def Con Voting Village event released a report detailing the vulnerabilities of voting machines that are still used across the United States.

More than 100 machines were on hand at the event and included versions of voting equipment still in use around the country. The event's 35,000 attendees, who were invited to identify issues with the machines, discovered several that are vulnerable to remote attacks. One pollbook included a hidden ethernet cable that could allow it to connect to the internet.

Election equipment vendors have recently been moving away from providing machines that don't produce a paper trail, and are encouraging states to upgrade to machines that use paper ballots. Security experts agree that upgraded machines using paper ballots can tolerate these vulnerabilities and limit risks rather than fail completely.
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-plus 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!

Nebraska - Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced that Tom Casady, the city's retired public safety director, will serve as the city's interim director of Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU). He takes over for Miki Esposito who accepted a position in the private sector. Casady previously served as the city's police chief from 1994 to 2011 and public safety director from 2011 until his retirement in February 2019.

California - Dublin councilmembers named Linda Smith as the new city manager to succeed the retiring City Manager Christopher Foss, effective January 1, 2020. Smith had been serving as assistant city manager for Dublin. Prior to that role, she was assistant to the city manager, economic development director, and public information officer.

Florida - Charlotte County commissioners appointed Hector Flores as county administrator on September 24. His appointment is effective March 2020 when current County Administrator Ray Sandrock retires. Flores became deputy county administrator in 2019 after working in various county positions since 1995.

Oklahoma - Enid Aviation Advisory Board members voted to hire Deirdre Gurry as Enid Woodring Regional Airport's new director. She takes over for retiring director Dan Ohnesorge. Gurry previously commanded the 8th Flying Training Squadron, which is part of the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

Rhode Island - The city of Newport announced Patricia Reynolds as its new director of planning and economic development on September 25. Reynolds previously served as principal planner at the city of Warwick. She will lead Newport's newly established Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Massachusetts - The University of Massachusetts at Lowell recently promoted Joseph Hartman to provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. Hartman previously served as dean of the campus' Francis College of Engineering.
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