Volume 11, Issue 17- Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

As Congressional leaders in Washington debate an infrastructure bill, elected officials at the state and local levels of government are not waiting...they have been moving ahead for the last two years. In many states, collaborative initiatives have been launched to repair aging infrastructure, install clean energy projects, initiate smart city technology and build social infrastructure. Most of these projects resulted not only through collaboration, but also from private-sector investments.

One particular industry sector that is in the midst of significant transformation is public transit...and that's because mobility is such a critical issue for city leaders. Urban areas are faced with a myriad of transportation issues. Moving people on a daily basis is difficult at best and almost every major city is seeking solutions to traffic congestion. The objective, of course, is to get motorists out of their individual automobiles... but that is a daunting task.

Elected officials are considering many options - electric vehicles, transportation-on- demand, ridesharing programs, bicycles, livable cities where residents can walk to work and autonomous vehicles of all types. This year, the VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio approved a Mobility on Demand project that will be among the first of its kind in the U.S.

City leaders are also doing everything possible to comply with mandates for alternative energy, cleaner air and more efficient power delivery. They have strict sustainability targets to hit and they are launching projects to meet their goals. The electric vehicle market is expanding rapidly but that change requires charging stations which can't be delivered inexpensively. Private-sector investment is providing some of the capital and a few states have allocated grant funding. Interestingly enough, many regions have also adopted requirements for the construction of charging stations in new residential developments.

Check out the latest articles from our Texas Government Insider Newsletter!
New York- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that $280 million of support is available for energy storage projects. This funding is part of a larger $400 million investment to achieve New York's energy storage deployment target of 3,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030. 

It also supports Cuomo's Green New Deal, a clean energy and jobs agenda that puts New York State on a path to a carbon-neutral economy. The new energy storage funding is being administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) Market Acceleration Bridge Incentive Program. The NYSERDA funding will be available in two categories: $150 million for bulk storage projects over 5 MW that primarily provide wholesale market energy and distribution services; and $130 million for customer-sited retail storage projects below 5 MW that can be installed alone or paired with onsite generation.

Along with the $280 million in energy storage incentives, NYSERDA will allocate another $70 million for "opportunities that have the greatest potential to support a self-sustaining storage market." A further $53 million will be available later this year in regional greenhouse gas initiative funds for retail and bulk storage projects on Long Island.

Funds are provided after the project is completed.    
Maryland- Plans to improve parts of Maryland's Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 are ramping up with the state's Board of Public Works scheduled to designate the toll lane and bridge project as a public-private partnership (P3) May 8.

Following the board's action and backing of phased construction, state officials anticipate the quick issuance of a request for qualifications (RFQ) from private companies to carry the project through design, building, finance, operation and maintenance phases of the Beltway toll lanes from the American Legion Bridge to Interstate 95. From the applicants, they hope to generate a short list of firms in July. The state is targeting September 2020 to select a winning bidder for the P3 that Gov. Larry Hogan said would be the largest in the country.

The successful company or companies would be responsible for final design and construction on normal vehicle lanes and addition of the toll lanes. While the state would continue its oversight of maintenance of the normal lanes and offer toll operations assistance, the private companies would operate and maintain the toll lanes via a 50-year agreement and collect all toll revenues after making their required debt payments.

Construction could begin as early as 2021. 

"The proposed P3 delivery will incentivize on-time and on-budget delivery because the developer will not receive toll revenues until it opens the lanes for use," the Board of Public Works documents said. 

Colorado- The Town of Meeker is exploring affordable housing options and possible incentives to meet resident demand in advance of a request for qualifications (RFQ). 

Kelby Bosshardt, chief operating officer, told Meeker's board of trustees that property owners have indicated a preference for housing in the $220,000 to $260,000 range in the Sanderson Hills area. Townhomes, twin homes and patio homes are among the types of residential units under consideration in the town's plan, but they would likely need rezoning and lot line variances. 

In Tulsa, Okla. and Newton, Iowa these cities have offered such homebuyer incentives as down payment, closing cost allowances or welcome packages. In Austin, Texas, the City Council is considering new zoning regulations that would help expedite affordable housing projects by allowing taller buildings and eliminating certain parking requirements if developers adhere to city guidelines.
South Carolina- Horry County Schools, the third-largest school district in the state, recently signed off on the future location of the Horry County Education Center adjacent to the district office land in Conway.

The district's chief financial officer outlined the "pay as you go" model that would fund the estimated $13 million center and take advantage of an additional $37 million available between March 2021 and March 2024. Before then, only $3.2 million would be in the project's budget. 
He told the board of trustees that the district has $25 million in undesignated funds.

Facilities committee members also are seeking to contract with an outside firm to draft an estimate of what it would take to bring the former Myrtle Beach Intermediate School up to code to store records and science kits and offer adult education. 
In addition, the district's facilities committee is contemplating a request for qualifications for a sports design firm to survey land for tennis courts at the district's nine high schools and all of its track facilities, save Myrtle Beach High School, according to Mark Wolfe, executive director of facilities.

The countywide school district encompasses 52 schools in the nine attendance areas of Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest, Conway, Socastee, North Myrtle Beach, Loris, Aynor, Green Sea Floyds and St. James and boasts more than 42,000 students.
New York- A $1.7 million state grant will help refurbish the Village of Stamford's Main Street.

Work is expected to begin next year on various accessibility and aesthetic improvements. 
Ecstatic mayor Robert Schneider outlined the funded amenities that would include new sidewalks and wheelchair-accessible curbs and "historic" lighting that he said would be better suited to the Main Street area. 

The new mayor recognized his predecessors for their design and grant application. In advance of construction, the village will issue a request for proposals and contract an engineering firm. Project construction completion could be as early as fall 2019, but spring 2020 is a more realistic target.

According to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office, this new infrastructure investment is part of a $144.6 million investment statewide that includes $6.5 million in funding for the state's Southern Tier. The state estimates these initiatives will boost additional investment of more than $215 million, including public and private support, in local improvements that will re-energize communities, support tourism and aid regional economic competitiveness. 
Other regional grant projects are: 
  • $535,000 to the Village of Cayuga Heights for the Walking Safe pedestrian accessibility enhancement program;
  • $732,000 to Broome County for new pedestrian accessibility enhancements along Chenango Street in the Town of Fenton;
  • $1.5 million to the Town of Dryden to complete the construction of the Dryden Rail Trail;
  • $850,000 to Chemung County to construct a new north-south bicycle friendly corridor; and,
  • $1.2 million to the City of Ithaca to construct the new Black Diamond Trail Bridge over Flood Control Channel.
Massachusetts- The City of Lynn Off-Street Parking Commission signed off on a request from the city to create three downtown parking lots once a request for information has been issued. 

Prompted by developer interest, city officials are eyeing the RFI as a way to poll them on what they would want included in a future request for proposals to build the lots in the in-demand areas along Buffum, School and Andrew streets.

Mayor Thomas M. McGee said he was excited that Lynn was drawing such interest and identified the city's projects as a scaled down version of similar work in downtown Boston referencing a mixed-use development over the Government Center Garage and plans to add seven stories of condo units above the Dock Center Garage.

City Council President Darren Cyr highlighted the opportunity to partner with a developer that shares the same vision as city leaders to increase revenue, add parking spaces and boost commerce.
Pechanaga Arena
California - The City of San Diego has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to find an operator for the Pechanaga Arena, formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena.

The arena's current operator, an entertainment company based out of Los Angeles, had been negotiating with the city to extend its current contract, but the city has chosen to see what other firms would be interested in taking over business operations.

The current lease expires in May of next year. The closing date of the RFP is May 31. Any agreement with the city would run for a maximum of three years and would call for the prospective operator to maintain similar event types and uses as what the arena currently features.

Though an aging facility, Pechanga Arena remains active for concerts, indoor sports and other events.
Kansas- An inspection of the 60-year-old Millwood Road bridge showed that it had another 10 years of usage, but a harsh winter has caused the bridge to become unusable.

Leavenworth County officials plan to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for firms interested in acting as the construction manager for a proposed project to replace the bridge. The Millwood Road bridge had to be shut down in February before the necessary preparation work could take place.

There is an urgency to get the bridge completed because drivers must detour seven or eight miles due to the closing. Millwood Road, designated as County Road 14, is a major thoroughfare road.

The plan is to have the bridge replaced by the end of the year.
New Jersey- The City of South Amboy, last year, selected a firm to provide the engineering and design plan for its ferry terminal. The future terminal will be located at lower Main Street and can be accessed by the Radford Ferry Bridge.

It will include a parking area, bulkhead, docks and terminal building. Cost of the design phase will be split between the city and state. The current design shows that the 20,000-square-foot ferry terminal building will include a second floor that will feature a restaurant or banquet facility and parking for 750 vehicles. 

The engineering will be the last major milestone before the city can move forward with advertising for construction bids, anticipated to take place in the summer of 2019. The city also plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) in May for a ferry operator. The ferry terminal will allow travel to and from the city to Wall Street and Midtown Manhattan.
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Illinois- A pilot program was launched in March by Metra officials in Lake County to see if riders showed interest in a new, experimental reverse-commute service.

If the ridership continues to increase, Metra will need public-private partnerships (P3) to move forward in making this rail schedule permanent. Officials plan to study the pilot program for a year, but the program will continue to run through March 2021.

The new program adds express service and reverse-commute trains during each morning and evening rush hour period on the Milwaukee District North Line. The trains run from Union Station to Fox Lake and the program is expected to cost $1.4 million.

If the pilot program shows a strong market to support the additional trains, Metra will consider installing a new crossover switch near the Lake Forest Station that would allow trains to be turned around at that location. Funding for the switch likely would need to come via a P3.   
California- The City of San Diego is preparing a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop an area known as Inspiration Point.

The site was once part of the Naval Hospital campus and city officials have said they are open to different cultural, recreational and performing arts concepts for the space such as shops, museums and hotel or restaurant space.

Inspiration Point is a part of the larger Balboa Park and the site is home to hundreds of parking spaces and a storage depot. The park needs a sustainable source of cash for infrastructure repairs and park maintenance and city officials hope the site can be a reliable place for future revenue for the park. 
Illinois- The Kane County Finance and Budget Committee has approved county staff to create a request for proposals (RFP) for the design and construction of a building that will house the coroner's office and morgue.

The new facility will be located on the Judicial Center Campus on land south of Route 38 in St. Charles. County officials plan on issuing $10 million in bonds for the project to provide an immediate funding source. The new morgue and issue of the bonds, targeted to be sold in October, requires full approval from the entire county board.

The current morgue has mold problems, lacks freezer space to store bodies and does not have a private room where bodies could be identified by relatives.
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Pennsylvania- The Carnegie Science Center is putting together a request for proposals (RFP) for ideas on how to maintain existing parking.

The current 450-space parking lot adjacent to the center will no longer be compliant with code requirements after 2023. The area's zoning code caps surface parking at 150 spaces, meaning structured parking must be constructed to go beyond that limit.

The Center receives more than 500,000 visitors a year. Additionally, Center officials say that the lot supports commuters who work downtown or on the North Shore and also supports fans who attend nearby sporting events. A parking garage will likely be needed to meet demand.
Kentucky- Boyle County will issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) seeking design and engineering companies interested in the renovation or construction of a new jail.

Current facilities are dealing with issues of aging and overcrowding. Estimated costs for renovating or rebuilding the jail facility exceed $30 million. County officials stated that they are not committing the county with construction of a new facility and that the RFQ does not commit them.

The county is planning for $243,000 next fiscal year to be put toward jail debt payment and the joint jail budget for next fiscal year is around $4.87 million. 
Washington, D.C.- Metro is expected to issue a request for proposals for ventilation system upgrades. Tunnel ventilation systems will be upgraded to meet current fire safety standards.

The first phase of the upgrades will be on a stretch of the Red Line between Cleveland Park and Woodley Park. Costs for the project are estimated between $20 and $30 million for final designs and construction work that is expected to take 15 months.

The project is the first of an estimated 60 segments to receive ventilation upgrades. Metro officials state their plan is for all ventilation upgrades to be completed by September 2021. 
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California - Jerry Sheehan has been appointed as San Diego State University's (SDSU) new chief information officer (CIO). Sheehan, who currently serves as vice president and CIO at Montana State University, begins his appointment at SDSU on July 1. Prior to Montana State University, Sheehan served as chief of staff at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. He replaces Rick Nornholm, who has served as the interim CIO and chief technology officer. 

Iowa - The Tama County Economic Development Commission has named Katherine Ollendieck as its new economic development director. She began her new position April 9. Ollendieck has spent the past 20 years as an independent consultant and grant writer, assisting Iowa communities to secure grant funds for community development projects. She served as the Benton County economic development director prior to that. Ollendieck replaced former director Heath Kellogg

Georgia - Mark Hoeting resigned April 23 as the vice president for Information Technology (VPIT) and chief information officer (CIO) for Georgia Tech. Hoeting had served as the interim in these leadership roles since September 2016 before accepting the roles on a permanent basis in December 2017. Hoeting previously worked as a CIO in the University System of Georgia. Jim Fortner, the interim executive vice president for Administration and Finance, will be working to name new leadership in the near future. 

California - Sheba Person-Whitley will be considered May 14 by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to replace Sonoma County Economic Development Department Director Ben Stone. Stone, who led the Economic Development Board for more than three decades, is set to retired April 30. Person-Whitley is currently the economic development manager for Stockton in California's Central Valley. Person-Whitley would come to Sonoma County with what's said to be extensive local, state and international experience in economic development. Her background also includes international operations and federal grant administration. 

Minnesota - Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams announced he will be leaving his position to serve as the CEO of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. Adams has served in this position for the past eight years and plans for June 4 to be his last day. Prior to serving as the city manager of Albert Lea, Adams was the city administrator of the city of Medina, Minn. for eight years. 

Idaho - Marlene Tromp was named the seventh president of Boise State University Tromp was formerly the provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Tromp will begin work on July 1. She replaces Bob Kustra, who announced his retirement in November 2017 and left Boise State at the end of the 2017-18 academic year, after being at the helm since 2003. 

Illinois - David Plyman has been selected as the new Streator city manager. The city manager position had been performed by City Engineer Jeremy Palm for the last six weeks in the interim after former City Manager Scot Wrighton left for the same position in Decatur. Plyman recently completed a one-year contract as the village manager of Westchester. Before that he was the city manager of Rochelle for six years. 

California - Kim Hoffmans will become the next president of Ventura College on June 1. Hoffmans is currently the vice president of academic affairs at the college. She replaces Damon Bell, who had been serving as the interim this school year. Hoffmans has been in the community college district for 25 years as part of the nursing faculty, a coordinator and department chair, a dean, a vice president and now the president. The Ventura College president position hasn't been filled permanently since Greg Gillespie left to become chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District in April 2017. 

New York - Rory Fluman has been appointed as the new Schenectady County manager. Fluman, an occupational therapist, has been on the county board for six years. In December, County Manager Kathleen Rooney announced her retirement after 13 years in that position. Fluman will start June 7. Fluman has resigned his seat on the county board and plans to shut down his medical practice. 

Kansas - Julie Hurley has been named director of planning and community development for the city of Leavenworth. Hurley has worked in Leavenworth as the city planner since 2014. The city's previous director of planning and community development left the position vacant in 2011. 

Ohio - Kent State University trustees announced this week that Todd Diacon, the school's executive vice president and provost, will be its next president. Diacon currently holds the second-highest ranking position at Kent State, behind the president. He is responsible for all academic functions of the eight-campus Kent State system. Diacon will be Kent State's 13th president. He will follow President Beverly Warren, who led the university since 2014. She announced her departure in October 2018 and will step down July 1. 

Maryland - Michelle Pourciau, the Baltimore transportation director who was appointed by Mayor Catherine Pugh less than two years ago, resigned last week. Senior Advisor Frank Murphy is serving as acting director. Pourciau previously ran the Washington Transportation Department and later implemented that city's traffic camera system. Pourciau had replaced the former Transportation Director William Johnson who left the position in April 2016.            
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