Volume 11, Issue 25 - Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

The American Water Works Association has estimated that $1 trillion will be required to maintain and expand water services over the next 25 years. Here's why: Americans get their water delivered through approximately one million miles of water pipelines. Most of the pipes, however, outlasted their estimated lifespan of 65 to 100 years some time ago. And, while crumbling pipelines are significant issues, concerns about water resources are just as large. Every year, the nation experiences about 240,000 water main breaks, and those occurrences result in the loss of over two trillion gallons of treated drinking water.

Since there's no replacement or substitute for water, the marketplace for contracting opportunities related to water will obviously be exceedingly robust over the next few decades. Government officials, usually with the assistance of private sector partners, must work to upgrade water systems, expand capacity, repair aging pipelines, and find ways to ensure the sustainability of water for American citizens and businesses.

It's the huge water projects that catch the attention of most contractors and private sector investors. Desalination plants often cost $1 billion, and the competition to collaborate with public officials to deliver those projects is great. But, smaller water projects are just as critical. And, interestingly enough, the smaller projects are far more abundant; contracts are awarded quicker, and the end results are extremely significant. In a perfect world, more companies would take note and competition would be greater for the thousands of small to mid-size water projects that emerge on a weekly basis.

Here's a small sampling of some upcoming projects worthy of attention.

The Owasso Public Works Authority in Oklahoma plans a major overhaul of its water and wastewater infrastructure. The first project will likely cost approximately $29 million, but the size of the project does not make it less important to the citizens in Owasso who want clean and adequate water resources. The project will include upgrading a water treatment plant, constructing a new lift station, and installing many miles of new pipelines. The wastewater treatment plant provides water for 32,000 customers, but it cannot accommodate the city's growth rate and more capacity is needed. Bidding for the first phase of work will take place in 2019, and construction will start in 2020.

Check out the latest article from our Texas Government Insider Newsletter!
Michigan - Wayne County's baseline report says more than $3 billion would be needed to fix the county's roads and bridges by 2029. The report will be used to create a 10-year Asset Management Plan (AMP), which will outline the work to be done over the next decade. The goal is to bring 90 percent of the roads and bridges to fair or good condition, but that work doesn't include local subdivision roads.

Estimates come in at $300 million annually to reach this goal, with $70 million urgently needed to fix priority structures such as the Miller/Rotunda Road bridge and Grosse Ile Parkway bridge. Officials said ongoing preventative maintenance will be essential to the AMP. In total, the plan addresses 897 miles of roads and 310 bridges throughout the county, 11 of which will require more than $10 million each.

County leaders expect to have the plan ready in November.
Oregon - TriMet planners are searching for sources of funding for a proposed light rail line in southwest Portland estimated to cost $2.7 billion. The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon's 12-mile MAX rail line would span from downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village.

Thirteen stations are planned for the route that travels through industrial zones and neighborhoods and parallel to railroad tracks at points. The MAX line will be elevated over roads and waterways and meet Interstate 5 twice.

Regional authorities plan to request $1.25 billion from federal agencies with a local match of the same amount. Metro has contributed $60 million to the project that isn't expected to start construction until 2022. TriMet, Washington County, and the city of Portland plan to pay $75 million each. TriMet officials will ask the state to pitch in $150 million. The remaining amount will likely appear in a 2020 Metro bond package subject to voter approval.
David W. Carter High School
Texas - Dallas ISD's Board of Trustees may call a $2.5 billion bond election for the November 2020 election. The funding would help renovate the district's 200-plus schools, many of which are showing signs of aging and becoming inadequate. The average age of schools in the district is 52 years.

Of the proposed amount, $1.5 billion would go toward renovating existing campuses, and another $500 million would go toward building 16 new schools. If approved by voters, the first bond sale would come in August 2022. 

Trustees are set to vote on establishing a bond steering committee during their June 27 board meeting.
Georgia - The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) has teamed up with the city of Atlanta for a major investment in public transit. MARTA's Board of Directors approved the sequencing of the More MARTA Atlanta program's transit projects, which calls for nearly $1.3 billion in improvements and adding new modes to the system.

The transit projects focus on adding 29 miles to light rail service, 22 miles to arterial rapid transit (ART), and 14 miles to bus rapid transit (BRT).

Among the projects are a Capitol Avenue BRT line to link various centers to Atlanta BeltLine's Southside Trail; ART improvements to Cleveland Ave, Metropolitan Parkway, and Peachtree Road; and platform lengthening at Bankhead Station.
By 2025, more than a dozen projects are set to be operational, under construction, or in the planning and design phase. It's estimated that the overall expansion program will be underway for a total of 40 years.
North Dakota - Water authorities will receive $30 million in state funding to start building the $1 billion Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP) pipeline after Gov. Doug Burgum signed SB2020 appropriating the funds.

The project will construct a 72-inch diameter pipeline to transport water from the Missouri River to a Sheyenne River reservoir north of Valley City. The bill also establishes a cost-share requirement of 75 percent state funds and 25 percent local funds.

Thirty-five communities and rural water systems have signed up for the development phase of the project, according to the project's state lead and co-sponsor, Garrison Diversion Conservancy District. The city of Fargo will be the system's largest customer.

SB2020 also includes $13 million in carryover grant funds from the state's 2017-2019 budget for the RRVSWP. Bidding on construction jobs is expected to start this fall with work beginning spring 2020.
New York - New York lawmakers introduced a bill calling for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to conduct a new study that will examine the feasibility of adding a new above-ground Triboro rail line. The line is estimated to cost between $1 billion and $2 billion and take advantage of existing infrastructure.

The new line would serve as a north-south connection traveling from the Bronx, through Queens, to Brooklyn. The plan outlines the need for 22 new stations, with the route connecting to 17 subway lines and four commuter rails.

Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and a private company own the rail right-of-way of the proposed route. Per the bill, the MTA will be required to perform the study from several perspectives. The study will determine whether the line can accommodate both public transit and freight and integrate with existing systems in the area.
Interstate 10 bridge
Louisiana - State transportation leaders are seeking a consultant to help them chart a path toward designing and building an estimated $1 billion bridge in Baton Rouge that would cross the Mississippi River and alleviate traffic congestion on the Interstate 10 bridge.

The state Legislature last year empowered the Capital Area Road and Bridge District to develop a plan to finance the bridge that some officials say could be achieved through a public-private partnership.

On June 17, a seven-member panel began its search for a consulting firm that Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) officials hope to contract with in 2019. Advertisements are expected to be published by the end of June, and three applicants will be selected for interviews.

The successful bidder will be responsible for providing a justification for the new bridge, developing existing plans and cost estimates, researching revenues for other route options, determining necessary state and federal requirements, and conducting an environmental impact analysis.
San Francisco
California - San Francisco has a new, 222-page plan to renovate 7.5 miles of waterfront property. The plan is targeted to be in place by early 2021, with focus on enhancing public spaces, upgrading transportation, and making room for new buildings, among other things.

The plan includes property extending from Fisherman's Wharf to Heron's Head Park, with many recommendations for reviving historic destinations, popular piers, and modern shipping facilities. It will be a huge and costly undertaking for the port city, and funding would likely come from various public and private sources.

Notable interests include making a true piazza out of the paved area behind the Ferry Building, finding a ship repair firm to reopen Pier 70 facilities, and offering Piers 30-32 to private developers. The plan would also offer more accommodating 11-year leases to those restoring historic pier buildings along the Embarcadero.
Ronald Reagan Boulevard
Texas - Williamson County officials are looking to build new roads and parks for an estimated $640.9 million. A citizen committee recommended county commissioners seek a bond at this year's November election, which will go toward funding the projects.

More than $573 million would go toward road projects. Most of these projects would focus on improving safety, such as by widening or extending roads and performing flood mapping. Some top projects would include $24.7 million to widen Ronald Reagan Boulevard, $13.2 million for work on the Liberty Hill bypass, and $27.5 million to improve Sam Bass Road. Another $67.6 million would be set aside for improving parks and major trails in the county. Aside from land acquisitions, much of the funding would go toward extending trails and implementing water control measures.

County commissioners will hold another meeting to decide whether the bond will go on the ballot in November.
Chicago O'Hare International Airport
Washington, D.C. - Airport projects around the country will receive a total of $495 million in Federal Aviation Administration infrastructure (FAA) grants. This is the second allotment in a series of grants from the $3.18 billion Airport Improvement Program (AIP).
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced on Monday that the FAA will award 358 grants to 327 airports in 46 states and the Pacific Islands to help fund runway reconstruction and rehabilitation, construct firefighting facilities, and maintain taxiways, aprons, and terminals.

Some of the airport projects to receive AIP grants are:
  • $65 million - Chicago O'Hare International, runway construction (2);
  • $23.19 million - Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, taxiway rehabilitation;
  • $20 million - Atqasuk Edward Burnell Sr. Memorial Airport in Alaska, runway, taxiway, and apron rehabilitation;
  • $12.2 million - Charleston AFB/International, access road improvement; and,
  • $11.52 million - Eglin AFB/Destin-Fort Walton Beach in Florida, apron and terminal building expansions.
Earlier in June, FAA officials awarded the first round of AIP grants totaling $840 million to apply toward infrastructure improvements at U.S. airports. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers graded the country's airports at a "D" in 2017, which indicates significant deterioration in a majority of the system. Chao said the grants would support high levels of safety in U.S. aviation.

For a complete list of AIP's first and second grant allotments, click here.
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South Carolina - Beaufort County's voters will see a $345 million school bond referendum on their November ballots this year after the school district's board of educators voted in favor of the referendum, which calls for a host of improvements and renovations.
On their ballots, voters will see the referendum in two parts: part one, a $291 million package, and part two, a $54 million package. Voters must pass part one in order for part two to pass.

Part one calls for $88.3 million in renovations, construction, and demolition at Battery Creek High School and Hilton Head Island Middle School. Another $71 million will go to demolishing, constructing, and equipping a replacement for the Robert Smalls International Academy. The remaining $131.2 million will go to renovating Beaufort Elementary School, adding on to May River High School and River Ridge Academy, and updating the safety, security, and technology infrastructure across the district.

Part two calls for $22 million in athletic enhancements at all district high schools. More than $17 million will be put into constructing and renovating Career and Technology Education (CATE) at Battery Creek High School, May River High School, Beaufort High School, and Hilton Head Island High School. The bond package would designate $7.6 million to go to athletic improvements at various district middle schools and $8.7 million to help with playground upgrades at elementary schools across the district.
Missouri - Gov. Mike Parson signed off on a road improvement program to replace 40 bridges across the state after lawmakers set aside $50 million for improvements to address some of the state's growing backlog of road repairs. The bridge work is planned to begin this fall, with most of the work going into bridges in rural parts of the state.

In Creve Coeur, workers will replace the Ladue Road bridge over Hibler Creek. Jefferson County will get funding to replace the Missouri Highway 30 bridge over Saline Creek. Near Winfield, the Highway 79 bridge over McLean's Branch also is scheduled for work.

The improvements are part of a larger plan to replace 220 bridges across Missouri, an initiative that would require an additional $301 million. This funding, however, is contingent on the state being awarded a federal grant. A decision for this funding could be handed down as early as September.
California - San Clemente's schools are getting closer to an upgrade. The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees voted on bond measures expected to yield $113 million, which would go toward renovating San Clemente High School as well as the district's middle and elementary schools. CUSD's Sept. 18 board meeting will determine whether the bond will be placed on the March 2020 Primary Election ballot.

If the bond is approved, San Clemente High School would undergo $87.43 million in renovations and new construction. Other proposed projects include $55 million to build a new student service center, performing arts theater, and pool with a building and bleachers. More than $32 million of the remaining budget would go toward renovating the school's classrooms. The middle and elementary schools would get $28 million to add air conditioning and other upgrades.
Colorado - The 10-acre area between Vail Village and Lionshead is getting plans for revitalization. On the table are projects ranging from $12 million to $100 million, including replacing the Dobson Ice Arena for at least $48 million. Council members are still evaluating parts of the civic area upgrades, as well as funding options. All projects are in the planning phase. The 10 acres host Vail's town hall, public library, the Lionshead parking structure, and Dobson Ice Arena.

Planners are mulling some big moves, including relocating the town hall and police department, providing ample parking space, and building a new plaza and ice arena. The total cost of these projects is estimated at more than $100 million. There also are talks about creating a new meeting facility to host large gatherings and conferences.
Maine - Gov. Janet Mills on June 19 signed legislation to support a university wind project and announced two efforts to advance offshore wind development in the state.

Mills approved LD994 to approve the contract for Maine Aqua Ventus, a University of Maine pilot project supported by a $39.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The program will deploy floating turbines, designed by university students, off the state's coast to provide clean energy to Maine.

She also announced the state will join the Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Regional Task Force on offshore wind with New Hampshire and Massachusetts to explore potential opportunities for renewable energy leasing and development on the Outer Continental Shelf in the gulf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) manages the task force.

In addition, the governor stated she will oversee the formation of the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative to identify offshore wind development opportunities and provide input and inform the state's participation in the BOEM task force. Although the initiative is led by state agencies, it will invite participation by local officials, Maine tribal representatives, marine interests, commercial fishing, energy and environmental organizations, academics, and business and labor leaders. A 2009 report identified significant offshore wind resources off the coast of Maine. Mills said the research would serve as a foundation for further planning efforts.

Alabama - An executive committee of the Auburn University Board of Trustees voted on June 23 to recommend former university president Jay Gogue as Auburn's interim president. Gogue previously served as the university's president from 2007 to 2017. The full board will consider him for the position at a special meeting July 8. Gogue replaces Steven Leath who resigned June 21.

Alaska - Erin Reinders was sworn in as Unalaska's new city manager on June 11. She succeeds City Manager Thomas E. Thomas who resigned in April. Reinders joined the city in 2011 and was promoted to assistant city manager in 2015. Before coming to Unalaska, she held various planning positions with the city of Franklin, Tennessee from 2003 to 2011.

California - Board members of the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) selected Rob Padgette to be the agency's new managing director, effective July 1. He takes over for David Kutrosky who is resigning after 10 years as director. Padgette previously served as CCJPA's deputy managing director since January 2018. Before that, he was the deputy executive director of the Northeast Corridor Commission in Washington, D.C.

Virginia - The George Mason University Board of Visitors named former Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton as the university's interim president June 20, effective in August. She takes over for departing president Angel Cabrera who is leaving to serve as Georgia Tech's president. Holton has served as a visiting professor at George Mason's Schar School of Policy and Government and its College of Education and Human Development since May 2017. She was Virginia's first lady when her husband, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, served as the state's governor from 2006 to 2010. 

Iowa - Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed Jim Kurtenbach director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, effective July 1. He replaces outgoing director Janet Phipps Burkhead. Kurtenbach is a former state representative, vice president and chief information officer of Iowa State University (ISU), associate dean of ISU's College of Engineering, and associate professor of accounting. He also served various industries in corporate leadership roles.

North Carolina - The Randolph County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Board of Directors promoted Kevin Franklin to full-time president of the organization. Franklin was hired as the EDC's existing business and industry coordinator in 2013. He earned a promotion to vice president in 2017. He has served as interim president since April 1. Franklin previously served as town administrator of Ramseur, North Carolina, for more than five years.
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