Volume 11, Issue 49 - Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Levee damaged by Hurricane Katrina storm surge
Louisiana - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recommends a 50-year, $3.2 billion plan to protect New Orleans from flooding.

The USACE plan would keep levees and floodwalls high enough to reduce flooding caused by storm surges from 100-year storms. This plan would call for crews to elevate hurricane-protection levee systems on both sides of the Mississippi River as well as several miles of river levees.

In 2023, the existing system must be recertified as meeting height requirements, though USACE engineers say some levees might already be below the required height.

The largest portion of improvements would be made on the east bank and cost $2.6 billion to reduce storm surge flooding. This would include 50 miles of levee lifts and 19 miles of floodwall modifications and replacements. Levee lifts would occur every decade, with 11 between 2023 and 2033, four between 2034 and 2043, 15 between 2044 and 2053, and three between 2045 and 2065.

Improvements to the west bank would cost $613 million and include seven levee lifts between 2023 and 2033, 11 between 2034 and 2043, four between 2044 and 2053, 13 between 2054 and 2064, and two between 2065 and 2073.

The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority will sponsor the east and west bank projects, but construction costs will be shared by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authorities.
Rendering of Federal Way station area
Washington - More than $1.41 billion in federal funding is going toward the 7.8-mile Federal Way light rail extension in the Seattle area.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) sent a $790 million grant agreement to Congress notifying them of the funding for the Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) project. USDOT also will provide a $629 million loan for the extension.

Sound Transit is extending the Link light rail from the Angle Lake Station in the city of SeaTac through the cities of Kent, Des Moines, and Federal Way and terminating near the existing Federal Way Transit Center. The project includes construction of three new stations as well as the purchase of 20 vehicles.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 on the estimated $2.45 billion project that is set to start service in 2024 to relieve congestion on Interstate 5 and State Route 99.
Friant-Kern Canal
California - The Friant-Kern Canal repair project has almost 30 percent of engineering work completed, and it's possible that a construction contract could be awarded on the southern Central Valley project as soon as late 2020.

Cost estimates range from $200 million to $700 million, but a more accurate cost won't be identified until the project's four-part feasibility study is completed. The study will examine the project's technical, environmental, financial, and economic aspects.

The canal stretches for 152 miles and serves seven municipalities and 18,000 family farms. Decades of overpumping groundwater has caused the canal to sink. Restoring the canal would support farmers with an increased water supply and also would help to recharge the area's aquifers.

The most recent plan for repairing the Friant Water Authority's canal consists of two parts. One part of the project calls for raising 10 miles of the northernmost and southernmost segments of the canal's banks with a 4-foot-tall concrete liner. This would add resiliency in case of further subsidence. The other part of the project involves building a 23-mile conveyance east of the canal, which would require new infrastructure and the acquisition of 510 acres of new right-of-way.

A scoping meeting is scheduled for December 18 to begin formally assessing the proposal's potential impacts.
Illinois - Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she plans to resume her efforts this spring to lobby for amendments to Illinois' gaming laws to reduce or eliminate taxes and fees to facilitate the construction and operation of a Las Vegas-style casino in the city.

Lightfoot presented her Chicago casino plan in November to the General Assembly, but the session concluded before a vote could be held. Earlier in the session, the state legalized sports betting and authorized six new casino licenses in six specific cities or regions: Chicago, Waukegan, Rockford, Danville, Downstate Williamson County, and southern Cook County.

Chicago's plan is based on a city-funded feasibility study that analyzed five locations for a potential 4,000-gaming position casino estimated to cost $750 million.

The locations considered in the study are:
  • Harborside Illinois Port Authority Golf Course - 63 acres;
  • Former Michael Reese Hospital site - 49 acres;
  • Pershing Road-State Street site - 19 acres;
  • South Works tract - 440 acres; and,
  • Kostner Avenue site - 23 acres.
The study included a modestly sized mid-tier hotel of up to 500 rooms and space for meetings, conventions, and exhibitions as well as room for entertainment facilities.

Its findings were based on a timeline that begins with completion of a casino licensee request for proposals (RFP) and license issuance by late 2020 and shifts to a two-year construction cycle. The casino would be scheduled to open on or about January 1, 2023.
Ohio - A newly released Great Lakes Hyperloop Feasibility Study is recommending an environmental analysis and getting construction underway by 2023 on a hyperloop line connecting Cleveland to Pittsburgh and Chicago.

Three track alignment options presented in the study range in costs from $24.7 billion to $29.8 billion. The report also estimates that travel between the three cities will increase from 40 million to 50 million trips a year over 25 years. Travel times would be between 32 to 47 minutes at speeds up to 760 mph.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and a private hyperloop company partnered to fund the $1.3 million study. NOACA officials said they will work with that company to seek a $5 million federal grant to pay for a required environmental impact study.

Study results will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation for review prior to the start of an environmental impact study and preliminary engineering.
Interstate 64 in Virginia
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Build America Bureau (the Bureau) announced a $502.9 million loan to fund several infrastructure projects in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The loan is part of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program and will go to the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) for several regional priority projects.

All of HRTAC's regional priority projects are on Interstate 64 and are expected to have a large impact on reducing congestion in the Hampton Roads area. Projects include increasing capacity, adding high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, updating designs to current standards, and improving the vehicular level of service to address long-term safety and efficiency.

HRTAC was created in 2014 and collaborates with the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) to set priorities for transportation funding.

The Bureau was created to streamline credit opportunities, provide technical assistance, and encourage innovation in project planning, financing, delivery, and monitoring.
Rendering of Kingsbrook Estates
New York - The governor of New York plans to transform the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center North Campus into the Kingsbrook Estates, a 266-unit affordable housing development. 
 
The 102,000-square-foot medical center will be demolished, and two new apartment buildings will be constructed. An existing building, the Leviton Building, will be converted from hospital use into housing units. In total, 266 units will be available for seniors and disabled veterans, and the campus will offer access to on-site amenities including a therapeutic garden, outdoor exercise equipment, walkways, children's play areas, outdoor kitchens with grills, and an indoor teaching kitchen. Also available will be an on-site nurse's station, laundry rooms, bike storage, community rooms, and fitness and activity spaces. 
 
Additionally, the development will put in place energy efficiency strategies by including solar photo voltaic panels and green roof systems on the buildings. 
 
The development is part of the governor's $578 million plan to create 4,000 affordable housing units in Central Brooklyn.
City of Tucson
Arizona - The city of Tucson is seeking a federal grant to fund studies for a 15-mile, high-capacity transit line that would take residents from Tucson International Airport to the Tucson Mall area.

Officials are seeking about $2 million in Transit-Oriented Development Program grants offered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The Tucson Department of Transportation plans to build infrastructure dedicated to streetcars or bus rapid transit. Two portions of the route would run through South Sixth Avenue and Oracle Road, pass downtown and head north to the mall. Stops would be placed every mile or half-mile.

The line also would link three regional transit centers: Tohono T'adai, Roy Laos, and Ronstadt.

If awarded grant funding, the city would study the housing and business opportunities that could potentially arise from the proposed line. This could include mixed-use, transit-oriented developments.

Extending the existing, 4-mile streetcar is one option for the new transit line. Though likely the more expensive option, streetcars can each carry 148 passengers, and the existing line is located only a half-mile away from about 100,000 Tucson residents.

Another option is to add a bus rapid transit line, which would increase capacity and accessibility.
Lincoln Public Schools facilities advisory committee meeting
Nebraska - The Lincoln Public Schools board passed a $290 million bond issue, which will go to voters in February. The resolution calls for building two new high schools, district athletic complexes, and a new elementary school.

Other major projects included in the resolution call for classroom additions at Scott Middle School, and Wysong and Arnold elementary schools; renovations at Park Middle School and Everett Elementary; land purchases; and renovations and updates to existing schools.

Construction of the two new high schools would address overcrowding in the district, as each school would be built to hold 1,000 students. One school would be built on a 118-acre site northwest of the city and would include a football-track stadium and baseball fields. The other school would be built on a 144-acre site southeast of the city and would include fields for soccer and softball. Two athletic and activities complexes also would be built on these sites.
Design for Interstate 270-Lindbergh interchange
Missouri - The state's transportation department plans to rebuild Interstate 270 in north St. Louis County. The $250 million project calls for new interchanges, overpasses, and outer roads between Lindbergh and past Route 367.

By making the outer roads one-way only, the 'braided ramps' along Dunn Road will also be eliminated. During peak drive times, three lanes will remain open in each direction on I-270. 

Work is expected to begin in spring 2020 and be finished in November 2023.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives
Rendering of Sacramento River bridge
California - The cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento are planning a new bridge to serve traffic over the Sacramento River. The total cost is estimated to be between $188 million and $210 million.

In 2011, both cities recognized the need for new crossings over the river, and a study concluded that a replacement for the more than 100-year-old I Street Bridge was needed. Currently, the bridge serves automobile traffic on its upper deck and rail traffic on its lower deck. However, its lanes are too narrow to serve buses, the bridge does not have bicycle lanes, and its sidewalks are too narrow to meet accessibility standards.

The new bridge will be constructed upstream of the I Street Bridge, and will carry automobile, bicycle, transit, and pedestrian traffic. It will span the river between the Sacramento Railyards and the West Sacramento Washington Neighborhood planned developments; the existing bridge will continue to serve as a rail crossing, and its upper deck is being planned for use by pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Aside from constructing the new bridge, work will include demolishing the approach viaducts to the existing bridge. Both cities will share local expenses for constructing and delivering the project, while approximately $158 million in state and local funding has already been identified.

Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and be completed in 2023.
Iowa - The Des Moines City Council voted to proceed with construction of a $25 million railroad facility on the city's east side.

The transload facility, which would be used to load products from trucks to trains and vice versa, would be located at East MLK Jr. Parkway and Southeast 15th Street. In total, the 40-acre facility would feature a 115,000-square-foot warehouse and 37,000-square-feet of additional bulk mineral storage.

The facility also would have access to three major railroads that operate from coast to coast.

Funding for the project would come from a mix of sources. Nearly half would come from a federal grant and an Iowa Department of Transportation loan, and the rest would come from private sources.
Rendering of Camp Randall Stadium south end zone
Wisconsin - The University of Wisconsin (UW) released its latest renderings of proposed renovations to its Camp Randall Stadium. The renderings show a multi-level design for premium seating and club spaces behind the stadium's south end zone.

Officials at UW say that the concept is not a final plan, and they are seeking a firm to serve as architect and contractor for the project.

The renderings show field-level loge boxes and terrace space behind the goal post with high-top tables leading to an indoor club; rows of seating with drink rails; a second level of standing space with entry to a concourse; rows of seating in front of tiered loge boxes and an entrance to another indoor club; and an upper level with seating and a bar around a terrace.

The university's 2019-2021 budget request includes more than $77 million for stadium renovations including updates to the press box, new field turf, and other infrastructure upgrades. Cost estimates for the south end zone project have not been disclosed.

Construction is tentatively set to begin as soon as the next football season ends in November 2020 and be significantly completed before the 2021 football season starts.
Yadkin River with bridge in background
North Carolina - The state's department of transportation announced it is finalizing the designs to replace a 75-year-old bridge on N.C. 67 over the Yadkin River.

Department officials said they plan to open the project for bidding in summer 2020 and begin construction several weeks later.

Plans call for wider lanes, increased weight limits, and additional safety features on the new bridge, which will be built just north of the existing bridge.

The project also includes realigning the N.C. 67 and Donnaha Road intersection.
March 2-4, 2020 / Dallas, Texas
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The P3 Conference is designed for all levels in the market including those beginning to explore P3s and seeking to better understand where alternative and accelerated project delivery methods can be applicable.

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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE


Oregon - Trustees at Oregon State University voted unanimously on December 13 to appoint F. King Alexander as the next president of Oregon State University, effective July 1, 2020. He will succeed Ed Ray who is set to step down June 30 to teach economics. King is currently the president and chancellor of Louisiana State University.

New Mexico - Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Maggie Hart Stebbins as the New Mexico natural resources trustee. The Office of Natural Resources Trustee is a state agency attached to the Environment Department. Stebbins is currently the full-time chair of the Bernalillo County Commission. She previously worked at the Mid-Region Council of Governments. She will take over for acting Natural Resources Trustee James Kenney.

New York - The city of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Jessica Tisch as the commission of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications on December 5. She previously served as deputy commissioner of information technology for the New York Police Department.

Maryland - Gov. Larry Hogan announced the appointment of Gregory Slater as the secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation. Slater's appointment is subject to Maryland Senate confirmation. He currently serves as administrator of the State Highway Administration. If confirmed, he will succeed Pete Rahn who stepped down to move back to his native New Mexico.

West Virginia - The city of Huntington Mayor Steve Williams named Hank Dial as the new city manager. Dial succeeds former City Manager Cathy Burns who accepted a position as executive director of the Huntington Municipal Development Authority. Dial is currently Huntington's police chief.

Kentucky - Mayor Greg Fischer announced Amy Hess as the city of Louisville's new chief of public services, effective February 1, 2020. In her new role, Hess will oversee public works, emergency services, corrections, fleet and facilities, and animal services departments. She currently serves as executive assistant director of the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. She previously served as special agent in charge of the FBI's field office in Louisville.
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