Volume 11, Issue 46 - Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc. 

Government funding continues to shrink for public colleges and universities. At the same time, there is a public outcry for lower tuition, on-line courses, and easy access to education. Education officials seek relief and many are finding it through collaborative initiatives.  

The federal government is encouraging, incentivizing and occasionally directing collaborative initiatives. President Donald Trump signed an executive order called the American AI Initiative. It directs federal agencies to partner with private industry and research universities to prioritize artificial intelligence (AI) programs. University officials are urged to make data and computing resources available to AI researchers and to establish fellowship programs so that students and individuals in the workforce have access to AI-relevant technology skills. 

At the federal level of government, the Department of Defense has launched a Joint AI Center and funded it with $2 billion for research in the AI Next campaign program. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is discussing ways to speed up data analysis and data collection in collaborative ways with partners. The same type of initiatives are happening at the state and local levels of government, particularly on educational campuses. 

A 100-page study may breathe new life into a college that was closed earlier in the year. The former College of St. Joseph (CSJ) in Vermont may become the CSJ Center for Excellence and Innovation by way of a public-private partnership (P3). The plan is to create an innovation hub to offer certificate programs, workforce training, co-working spaces, and support for start-up firms. This effort began after two schools, Southern Vermont College and Green Mountain College, closed. A third, Marlboro College in Vermont, is searching for a partner and another, Goddard College, is struggling. Visionaries in Vermont have committed to help and planning is ongoing for a major collaborative initiative. CSJ is located in the city of Rutland, a designated Opportunity Zone, which will qualify investors for tax benefits.

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New York - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey proposes a total of $7 billion for its 2020 budget. The agency plans to invest in improving the customer experience, safety, and security at its facilities, as well as making major capital improvements to support sustainability and resiliency efforts. A total of $3.4 billion is proposed for the 2020 operating expense budget, and $3.6 billion is proposed for the capital budget. 

Of this, $787 million will go toward providing world-class safety and security at Port Authority facilities, upgrading cybersecurity, and enhancing emergency operations. Another $310 million will go toward projects for rehabilitating Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) substations and tunnels, rehabilitating aviation airfield lighting, and for Holland Tunnel's latent salt damage mitigation program. One of the agency's major priorities is aviation, which will get $2.1 billion from the proposed budget. Of this, $1.5 billion will go toward continuing redevelopment of LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International, and John F. Kennedy International airports. 

Other priorities include projects involving tunnels, bridges, and terminals ($739 million); PATH program improvements ($389 million); and World Trade Center campus improvements ($321 million). Written public comments are being accepted through December 11. Comments can also be made at the Board of Commissioners' December 12 meeting.
Georgia - The mayor of Atlanta announced major transportation changes, including the formation of a new Department of Transportation (DOT) and more than $200 million in mobility infrastructure projects. The new DOT will absorb all transportation-related duties of the departments of Planning and Public Works, the Renew Atlanta Infrastructure Bond program, and the Office of Mobility Planning. 

A major part of the announcement is the One Atlanta Strategic Transportation Plan, which details significant mobility infrastructure improvement projects that will take place over the next three years. Projects include repaving streets, upgrading pedestrian facilities and crosswalks, and improving road capacities and intersections, among others. 

Some specific projects include extending the Atlanta Beltline's Westside Trail to Southside Trail, realigning the intersection of Moreland Avenue and Glenwood Avenue, repaving Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and enhancing streetlighting along Cascade Road. The city plans to have all projects under construction or completed over the next three years.
Check out the latest column from our Texas Government Insider Newsletter!  
Auburn Athletic Complex indoor practice facility
Alabama - A $10 million donation will help to build a new performance center for Auburn University's football program. The donation, one of the largest received for the athletics program, will be added to the $31.5 million in gifts and commitments for the project. 

The Auburn University board of trustees have approved an architectural and consulting team to design the Football Performance Center. The trustees will review and approve the size, scope, and location of the project, as well as its budget, funding plan, and design at a later date. The university's athletic director has stated that the design process typically takes up to one year, with construction on the facility requiring about two years to complete.
Courtesy of New Hampshire Liquor Commission
New Hampshire - The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) is interested in a public-private partnership (P3) along Interstate 95, heading northbound and southbound in Hampton. The commission wants to construct new liquor and wine outlets along this 88-acres of property and is looking to facilitate a sale. The NHLC plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a commercial real estate firm experienced in highway-oriented development. 

The next step is to issue a request for qualifications and RFP for a potential buyer who will develop scenarios that highlight the two planned 20,000-square-foot liquor and wine outlets. More information will be posted here in the coming weeks. The NHLC, which currently has 77 outlets, expects to open the new facilities by 2020.
Rendering of East Side Resiliency project
New York - A full City Council vote is the final step in approving the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project, a $1.45 billion proposal to remake a stretch of Manhattan to protect against flooding. Under the plan, the Parks Department will revamp Waterside Pier and 17 nearby parks, improve open spaces at six public housing complexes, and add protected bike lanes in Alphabet City as an alternative route to the East River Greenway. 

Next year, the city's Department of Transportation will present bike lane study results and proposals for reimagining FDR Drive. Should the council approve the plan, the final designs for flood barriers and park reconstruction must be approved by the Public Design Commission, a step that officials expect will occur in December. Construction is expected to begin in spring of next year and the project is anticipated to be complete by 2025.

California - Orange County (OC) approved a 10-year transportation plan, called the 2019 Measure M2 Next 10 Delivery Plan, which sets transportation priorities through 2026. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) approved the plan, which aims to implement improvements to support a balanced transportation system. 

Improvements will focus on roads and transit services. The plan calls for $4.3 billion in freeway projects, $1 billion in street improvements, and $1 billion in enhanced transit services. This includes operating the OC Streetcar and expanding Metrolink services.
California - In October, the Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) program released $279 million to support infrastructure improvements for new infill housing development. This month, Governor Gavin Newsom announced another $610 million in available funding through the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) and Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) programs. The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) will award funds through the programs, both of which support development in disadvantaged communities. 

The programs will allow for investments in housing, land use, transportation, urban greening, clean energy, and economic development. The SGC opened the application period for AHSC program funding on November 1. This program provides grants and loans for projects involving greenhouse gas emission reduction through land use and housing developments. 

Applications are due by February 11, 2020. On November 4, the SGC opened the application period for TCC program funding. This program provides grants for projects involving integrated housing, clean energy, job training, urban greening, economic development, and clean transportation. Applications are due by February 28, 2020.
American Legion Bridge
Maryland - The governors of Maryland and Virginia announced their states will partner to rebuild and widen the American Legion Bridge. The billion-dollar project aims to relieve congestion at the worst traffic bottleneck in the Washington region. While most of the bridge belongs to Maryland, Virginia will pay for the project. 

Between 2010 and 2017, the region's population increase resulted in a 40 percent increase in traffic delays on the bridge. To address this and other gridlock issues, the new bridge will include eight free lanes as well as four express toll lanes. 

Based on congestion, toll lanes will open in order to keep traffic flowing. Both states plan to build the bridge through public-private partnerships. Construction is expected to start in 2022 and cause significant traffic disruptions while underway. The bridge will be open in five or six years.
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Louisiana - The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED) will need contractors when it begins the next phases of its overhaul of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. A contractor has been chosen for the first phase of this $450 million renovation, set to begin in January 2020. The first phase will total $53 million. Funding will be split between the LSED, New Orleans Saints and the state of Louisiana. 

The multi-phase, multi-year projects will include current clubs and suites being expanded, new and improved food and beverage services, new entry gates, and new seating opportunities for disabled guests. 

Details of the future phases of the overall $450 million renovation will be announced as the project progresses on the 44-year-old stadium. The entire project is slated to be completed by 2024 when the city hosts another Super Bowl.
North Carolina - The Charlotte City Council approved a $50 million contract for preliminary design and environmental work to begin on the Silver Line light rail project. The 26-mile line would run east-west, from Matthews to north of uptown, past the airport, and across the Catawba River to Belmont. 

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) hopes to complete the project by 2030. Funding for the contract will come from the transit authority's capital fund, however officials have yet to come up with a plan to completely fund the line, which is estimated to cost a total of $3 to $4 billion. It could take up to five years to create a financing plan.
Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) plans to become the first major U.S. airport to create a self-sufficient energy system, called a microgrid, that uses energy from its own property. The airport expects to implement its microgrid by 2021, which will be able to power the entire airport, airfield, the on-site hotel, and a gas station. Power generation will come via 8,000 solar panels and on-site natural gas wells, all owned by the airport. 

PIT will remain connected to the traditional electrical grid to be able to receive backup or emergency power when needed. In addition to improving its operations resiliency, the microgrid will significantly lower the cost of energy for the airport. 

 As power outages continue to disrupt operations across the country, many airports are considering implementing their own microgrid in order to become self-sufficient and maximize their ability to function. Detroit Metro Airport already has its microgrid in place, while airports in Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, and elsewhere are exploring their own microgrid options.
California - The College Area Community Council has voted to approve the draft proposal for redevelopment in three areas near San Diego State University. The "College Area Community Plan Update Report" will take the place of the 1989 College Area Community Plan. 

The council plans to put the 40-page report, that proposes a vision for growth and development, on its website for public review before sending it to the city of San Diego's Planning Department for possible revisions. College Avenue at El Cajon Boulevard, El Cajon Boulevard at Montezuma Road, and Montezuma Road at College Avenue, have been chosen by the group for a complete makeover. These areas would get more housing, bars, restaurants, retail, green space, and other amenities near the campus.
New Mexico - Santa Fe is planning to build a $20 million pipeline from the city's south-side wastewater treatment plant to the Buckman Direct Diversion on the Rio Grande. The city government is proposing to take more San Juan-Chama water from the Rio Grande and offset these additional withdrawals by sending effluent to the Rio Grande via the proposed pipeline. 

Officials say that this will reduce the need to pump groundwater from the area's wells and will also promote recharging of the area's aquifer. Before the end of the year, the city council is expected to vote on the proposal to build the pipeline.
Courtesy of Kennesaw State University
Georgia - Kennesaw State University (KSU) wants to open a new $37 million dorm by the fall semester of 2022 and wants to fund the project through a public-private partnership. KSU is the third largest in the state with an enrollment of 37,807 students and the current wait list for housing has exceeded 1,500 students. 

The school wants to relieve the shortage by building a 514-bed residence hall for freshman adjacent to the Austin Residence Complex on Kennesaw State University Road. The university enrolled around 6,500 new freshmen for the fall semester, which is a 30 percent increase from last year. The Board of Regents Real Estate Committee plans to review KSU's request at a later date.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives
Missouri - St. Joseph City Council members want to continue exploring public-private partnership (P3) options for the city's sewer system. Choices for the city are to sell the multi-million-dollar sewer system, become involved in the operation, or partner in another way. If the city decided to sell, rates would not be set locally by the City Council as they are now and would instead be set by the Missouri Public Service Commission. 

The city would like to lower rates for its customers and improve its infrastructure without accumulating a lot of debt. Currently, 47 percent of sewer rates go toward debt service, where the city pays off state Revolving Fund loans with the low interest rate of around 1.5 percent. If the city decides to move forward with a potential P3, a procurement will be issued in the coming months.
Florida - The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded Orange County with a $20 million federal grant to expand its autonomous shuttle system at Lake Nona. The funds are made available through the DOT's Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program, which this year saw more than 600 applications across the country. 

Orange County's grant will go toward the Local Alternative Mobility Network Project at Lake Nona, where the money will be used to help create designated lanes for the existing driverless bus system. Currently, the system includes two shuttles that cover a 1.2-mile fixed route between Lake Nona Town Center and the village center in Laureate Park. With the new funding, the route will be expanded to 25 miles of dedicated route lanes. The grant will also allow for the construction of a 21,000-square-foot station, a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Lake Nona Boulevard, and shelters along 44 miles of trails and bike paths in the neighborhood. 
Maine - Saving energy is on the minds of Brooksville town officials and a town hall meeting will be held in the coming weeks to have residents vote on solar power. The local Solar Interest Group of the Climate Action Network has been working with selectmen and the school principal on ways to cut electricity costs. The town has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) and if solar is approved, the project could be designed and in operation before the end of 2020. 

The town is looking at a 200-kilowatt project, which would require about an acre of land. Town officials are considering a power purchase agreement (PPA), a contractual agreement between the town and an investor who puts up the funds to construct and operate the solar array and reaps the benefit of any available tax breaks. Under the contract, the town would have the option to purchase the system after five or six years. In year 20 of the agreement, the town again could purchase the system, end the contract, or extend it for another five years.  
Idaho - The city of Idaho Falls has released a request for qualifications (RFQ) for architectural/engineering firms interested in designing a new police station. The city wants cost estimates for the project and a conceptual plan for a larger facility. Police operations in Idaho Falls are at eight different locations with the main headquarters in a building that is shared with county government employees. 

The city plans to buy the Idaho Livestock Auction Company stockyard, that sits on 8 acres of land, for the new development. Preferences will be given to firms with experience designing or building law enforcement or public safety facilities in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah. The RFQ is due January 10.  
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. Please visit the conference website and register today!

Washington, D.C. - Fransisco Salguero will begin his new position in December as the chief information officer (CIO) for the Federal Communications Commission. He will replace current acting CIO John Skuldarek. Salguero currently serves as the deputy chief information officer for the United States Agriculture Department (USDA). Salguero, who has more than 20 years of IT industry experience, has worked for the USDA for 14 years. He entered federal service in 2005 as a project manager at USDA Food Safety Inspection Service in the Office of the CIO and has been with the agency since. 

Nebraska - The Western Community College Area Board of Governors has announced the hiring of Carmen Simone as the president of Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. Simone is the current and founding vice president and dean at the University of South Dakota Community College for Sioux Falls. Prior to her position in South Dakota, Simone served as president of Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado for five years. She will assume office in January, succeeding interim president John Harms. 

Virginia - The town of Vienna has hired Natalie Monkou as the town's first economic development manager. Monkou worked in Arlington County for four years, serving as a liaison between the county and three business improvement districts. She also worked as the special assistant to Prince George's County's deputy chief of economic development. One of Monkou's first goals is to collaborate with the Fairfax County's economic development office.  

Maryland - Jay A. Perman will be the fifth chancellor of the University System of Maryland, which encompasses the state flagship campus in College Park and 11 other public institutions serving 176,000 students. Perman will succeed Chancellor Robert L. Caret when the incumbent steps down in coming months. Perman's start date has not been determined. A pediatric gastroenterologist, Perman has led the University of Maryland at Baltimore as the veteran president since 2010. 

Florida - The Lynn Haven City Commission has hired Vickie Gainer as its next city manager. Her hiring comes after she served as interim city manager and as second-in-command to former city manager Michael White, who resigned in March. Gainer has worked at the city for two years, serving in the capacity of grant and contract manager, deputy city clerk, interim human resources director, and the director of Administrative Support Services. 

California - San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced Jeffrey Tumlin at the city's new director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Tumlin has 25 years of transit experience, most recently working for a transportation planning and engineering firm. He will still need to be confirmed by the SFMTA board of directors before his scheduled start date of December 16. Tumlin takes the place of Ed Reiskin, who stepped down from his position in August.
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