Volume 11, Issue 26 - Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

At a time when the U.S. Congress cannot agree on an infrastructure plan and funding at the local levels of government is at an all-time low, it's heartening to see that visionary elected officials continue to find ways to move forward with projects of all types. There are large projects as well as smaller ones, and many of them are related to critical infrastructure needs, economic vitality, or regional competitiveness.

Here's a quick look at the type of diverse projects that have been announced recently.

In Texas, voters in Hidalgo County approved $190 million in funding for 40 drainage projects. The county hopes to have all projects under construction by the end of next year. Many cities are launching water projects that involve water treatment plants and some are considering desalination plants. Although most cities have significant water leak issues, most have not yet addressed that very expensive repair work.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Mississippi River bridge coalition has funding for the environmental work necessary for future development of a new Mississippi River span. A request for qualifications (RFQ) should be released within the next few months to hire a project manager to oversee the environmental process.

Transportation projects of all types are being announced on a weekly basis. Airports in Choteau, Conrad, Lincoln, and Stanford are among 13 Montana airfields receiving federal funding for various types of airport upgrades.

Check out the latest article from our Texas Government Insider Newsletter!
World Trade Center Site 5
New York - Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the state is soliciting a request for proposals (RFP) to develop the World Trade Center Site 5. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued the RFP, which calls for a developer to lease or purchase and redevelop the site for a commercial or mixed-use project up to 1.35 million zoning square feet and 900 feet in height. The submission deadline is September 20.

The General Project Plan may be modified for projects proposing any residential use; however, these projects must comply with New York City's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.

The 33,000-square-foot site is one of two World Trade Center parcels that have yet to be developed. It is located in the center of the Financial District where the Deutsche Bank Building was previously. The PATH train system and more than a dozen subway lines offer access to the lot.
Illinois - Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Rebuild Illinois, the state's capital plan that is expected to fund $45 billion in infrastructure and facilities projects over the next six years.

HB 62 outlines these investments which target roads, bridges, railways, higher education institutions, and state facilities. The bill also calls for projects involving environmental conservation, renewable energy, and broadband expansion statewide. State officials plan to fund projects using revenues generated from SB 1939 and an increased bonding authority detailed in HB 142.

Transportation infrastructure will get the majority of overhauls. These projects include more than $14 billion for new roads and bridges, $11 billion for the Illinois Department of Transportation's Multi-Year Plan for roads and bridges, and nearly $8 billion for mass transit, passenger rail, ports, and other transportation projects.

Education will get $3.5 billion for projects related to early childhood centers, universities, community colleges, and more. State facilities are set for $4.4 billion in upgrades, including $350 million for the State Capitol. More than $1 billion will be spent on environmental projects, another $420 million will fund broadband deployment, and over $2.2 billion will go into housing, human services, and other public infrastructure investments.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Washington State - A Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) study that forecasts passenger demand to more than double before 2050 is adding to calls for a second regional airport to complement Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac).

PRSC's Regional Aviation Baseline Study estimates passenger boarding to climb from 24 million people in 2018 to between 49.3 million and 55.6 million passengers by 2050. Researchers also predict regional air cargo capacity demand to grow from 552,000 metric tons in 2018 to 1.3 million metric tons by 2050. Demand for operations, such as flight instruction, medical, emergency, law enforcement, recreation, and tourism, is anticipated to rise from 1.35 million activities in 2017 to 1.81 million uses by 2050.

The study cites recent population, employment, and income growth as drivers of the increased demand for aviation services. In 2019, the study will focus on airport and aviation analytics and future aviation issues with completion expected in fall 2020.
North Carolina - Business and town leaders in the Charlotte suburbs of Pineville and Ballantyne are pushing for the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) to extend its Blue Line light rail to the area's corporate developments.

John Lewis, CEO of the transit system, estimated the total cost at $6 billion to $8 billion to extend the Blue Line to Pineville and Ballantyne, build a proposed 23-mile Silver Line light rail expansion to the southeast, and establish a 25-mile bus rapid transit route to link uptown Charlotte to north Mecklenburg County and the town of Mooresville. Lewis said a bond referendum to pay for the three corridors could go before voters as early as 2020.

When CATS opened the Blue Line in 2007, it was the state's first light rail line. However, Pineville officials initially resisted ideas to extend the line past its I-485/South Blvd. station and terminate it in their city. Now that a corporate business park in Ballantyne is losing major tenants to uptown developments with access to light rail, and other communities with rail connections are booming in population and business, Pineville leaders are advocating the Blue Line's expansion to their city.

CATS' governing body, the Metropolitan Transit Commission, is expected to vote in 2019 on a recommendation for extending the Blue Line by 5 or 6 miles to Pineville and Ballantyne. Approval would automatically add it to CATS' 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan.
Georgia - Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms released details of the city's One Atlanta plan on June 24 that focuses city policy on affordable housing. One Atlanta follows up on Bottoms' pledge to direct $1 billion to address the city's housing issue.

The plan is based on a presentation by public and private housing developers and supporters to the mayor in August 2018.

City leaders will attempt to serve residents at 60 percent of the area median income by creating or preserving 20,000 affordable homes by 2026 and developing vacant public land into affordable housing. Possible sites could produce 4,800 residences.

Revising the city's zoning code by expanding its inclusionary zoning ordinance would require developers to designate 10 percent to 15 percent of their rental units as affordable or face a fee. In addition, city officials would encourage more diverse housing types, such as duplexes, townhomes, and accessory dwelling units and protect against income discrimination by landlords.

Under the plan, city staff would create a Housing Innovation Lab to foster different methods for establishing and promoting affordable housing. Funding would come from issuing Housing Opportunity Bonds or taxing vacant properties or short-term rentals.
California - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will award $300 million to San Francisco's Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Project, which will advance the project to the engineering phase. This project aims to improve heavy rail capacity between Oakland and downtown San Francisco by making improvements to the existing Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system.

The project includes four phases that are scheduled for completion in 2026 or 2027. These stages include adding 306 new cars to boost capacity, creating a new train control system to boost efficiency through the Transbay Tube, building a new railcar storage yard, and constructing new traction power substations to handle the increased train traffic.

The Transbay Corridor Core Capacity Project calls for a total of $3.5 billion of which $1.5 billion has already been committed. Another $1.7 billion in federal funding has been requested.
New York - Staten Island is set to receive $250 million of development with the rezoning of 20 blocks of its North Shore. The New York City Council approved the Bay Street Corridor Neighborhood Plan that will bring in new apartments, retail stores, and office buildings. The area hasn't undergone any rezoning since 1961.
The proposal's goal is to develop the Bay Street and Canal Street corridors with investments in schools, parks, housing, transportation, and more.

The rezoning aims to bring 2,600 new homes and two new schools to the area. Also, $92 million is going to the reconstruction of the Cromwell Recreation Center, which is expected to open by 2025. Other improvements include $45 million for new sewers, streets, utilities, and drainage, and another $15 million for upgrades to existing sanitary sewers.

The plan calls for $39 million to improve pedestrian paths and traffic intersections, with $4 million going to areas near Tompkinsville and Stapleton stations.
Imagine Clearwater Overall Master Plan
Florida - The city of Clearwater is working with consultants to prepare a request for proposals (RFP) for development of three parcels overlooking Coachman Park by builders of residential and retail space.

The parcels sit on a bluff overlooking Coachman Park and the Intracoastal Waterway. They include two empty lots and the site of the former city hall, which has yet to be knocked down. City officials plan to develop these properties to support future projects, such as redesigning Coachman Park and developing downtown Clearwater.

Consultants are proposing building condos, townhouses, or other multifamily residences, as well as ground-floor retail storefronts as part of the city's Imagine Clearwater Overall Master Plan.
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has more than $2 billion available to invest this year in community facilities and infrastructure projects in rural areas. In addition, it's dispersing $50 million in loans to 40 rural communities across 17 states for facilities and infrastructure initiatives.

Recipients are in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia. 

In Ohio's Fayette County, $20 million is going to the construction of a law enforcement complex. The 54,443-square-foot facility will include administrative offices, a detention center, and a 911 call center.

Illinois' Whiteside County is getting $17 million to expand and renovate Morrison Community Hospital District. The investment will go toward a new emergency services department, mental health room, surgical suite, front entrance, and lab services department. Other improvements will be made to roofing, parking, and landscaping.

Other communities will use the funds for public services, health care, education, and infrastructure. USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, and community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care. The loans also will help fund high-speed internet access in rural areas.
Rendering of Highways 22-390 intersection
Wyoming - The State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) has created a new 2020 draft detailing roadwork priorities in Teton County. The plan covers projects through 2026 and bases priorities on factors such as state and federal funding. The plan will be finalized in October if approved by the Wyoming Transportation Commission.

More than $67 million has already been awarded to crews for the widening of South Highway 89 to Hoback Junction. This includes three new wildlife crossings and a pathway from Jackson to Hoback. The work should be complete by July 2022.

In July, $2.8 million worth of pavement rehabilitation will be bid and should be finished in 12 months' time on a five-lane highway stretching from High School Road to South Park Loop. Officials at the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) said they want to extend its life 10 to 15 years by taking off an inch of pavement and putting down two more.
More than $1.5 million is set aside for building the Tribal Trail Connector and its intersection with Highway 22. Teton County will pay for the work, while WYDOT will pay for the intersection's redesign. This project is slated to begin in 2021.

In 2021, $3.2 million will be used to rehabilitate a 5-mile section of highway in Snake River Canyon. Other projects include replacing Highway 22's Snake River Bridge and revamping the intersection of Highways 22 and 390 for $29 million total. Another project will replace Hoback's Swinging Bridge for $4 million. All those efforts are set to start construction in 2023. Nearly $10 million will go toward an additional vehicle arrestor on Teton Pass as well as planning for one of Highway 22's "Y" intersections, both in 2026.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) selected two new University Transportation Centers (UTCs) at the University of South Florida and Washington State University to focus on research priorities. In addition to making the selections, USDOT also is awarding each university $7.5 million to help fund its research.

The University of South Florida's program is addressing "Congestion Relief," and Washington State University students are researching "Improving the Durability and Extending the Life of Transportation Infrastructure."

The two universities join 35 other UTCs around the country that are advancing state-of-the-art efforts in transportation research and technology while developing transportation professionals. The UTC program has been in place since 1987.
Iowa - Voters in the Cedar Falls Community School District approved a referendum on a $70 million bond issue and property tax increase to fund construction of a new high school. The new school, which is estimated to cost $112.8 million total, will improve upon student safety, accessibility, and learning conditions. The remaining $43 million will come from the 1 percent sales tax for schools.

The new school will be built on 50 acres west of the University of Northern Iowa. It has a tentative opening date of 2023 and will feature many modern amenities that the current high school lacks. These include secured and monitored entrances, more efficient traffic flow and parking accommodations, and schoolwide air conditioning. The new campus will offer extra space for the 1,400-student school.
Connecticut State Capitol
Connecticut - Gov. Ned Lamont is turning to toll roads as the answer to generate additional funding for transportation improvements in the state. After a fatal toll plaza crash in the 1980s, Connecticut lawmakers prohibited tolls.

The Legislature did not vote on tolls during its session, but Lamont said he was optimistic that a yet-to-be scheduled special session could produce the necessary legislation and vote. He also said he would meet with key legislators in July to press his case.

Connecticut has an annual budget of $1.2 billion for infrastructure maintenance, and its gas tax-driven special transportation fund is heading toward a deficit in fiscal year 2022.

To make up the deficit, Lamont is advocating tolls on interstates 84, 91, 95, and part of Route 15 collected at 50 gates every 6 miles. This system could generate up to $800 million each year, 40 percent of which would be collected from out-of-state drivers.
Sand Creek Regional Trail
Colorado - The Denver City Council released its five-year plan that will allocate tens of millions to new parks projects. Funding comes from voter-approved sales taxes that were on the ballot in November. These taxes should bring in about $41 million per year over the next six years.

In 2019 and 2020, budgets call for $37.5 million and more than $39 million, respectively. During this time, projects will focus mainly on acquisitions ($31.6 million), expansions ($15.6 million), and deferred maintenance ($14.1 million).

Projects include $5 million to build a new park in University Hills, $3 million to complete Sand Creek Regional Trail, and $2.5 million to renovate maintenance headquarters. Tens of millions more will go toward other land acquisitions, renovation projects, and maintenance.

In coming years, the funds could be used for other projects such as creating the "5280" loop around downtown, improving Civic Center Central Plaza, and drafting numerous master plans.
Iowa - The proposed PlyWood Trail is scheduled to begin construction next year. The bike route will go through Plymouth and Woodbury counties, connecting Le Mars to Sioux City. It's estimated to cost $18 million and cover a total of 16 miles, offering safe transportation for cyclists and pedestrians.

Construction is broken down into three sections between Le Mars, Merrill, Hinton, and Sioux City. The trail includes 11 water crossings and one major bridge structure, and will finish construction in 2025.

The PlyWood Trail Committee is seeking funding from private donors as well as state and federal grants. One grant will be awarded next month, and the committee also secured a $4 million corporate donation. One of the committee's goals is to ensure some of the funds go toward funding a comprehensive maintenance program.

North Carolina - The Gaston County Board of Commissioners recently hired Dr. Kim Eagle as county manager. Eagle currently serves as the city of Charlotte's assistant city manager. Before that, she worked as Charlotte's director of the Office of Strategy & Budget and senior operations adviser, deputy director of Charlotte Water, evaluation manager, and assistant business manager among other roles. Her first day with Gaston County will be Aug. 5.

Colorado - Englewood City Council approved a contract June 24 to hire Shawn Lewis as city manager. Lewis has served as the assistant city manager for the city of Longmont, Colorado, since 2013. He previously worked as director of community and economic development and director of development services for the city of San Angelo, Texas. He also was the business development coordinator and Old Town Development coordinator for the city of Lewisville, Texas. He is expected to start his job on Aug. 5 to succeed former Englewood City Manager Erick Keck who resigned in October 2018.

Massachusetts - Lisa Wieland was recently named chief executive officer and executive director of the Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort) for a five-year term by the authority's board of directors. Wieland has served as the port director at MassPort since 2015. Before that, she worked as the authority's chief administrative officer for maritime from 2013 to 2015, director of corporate planning and analysis, and director of human resource strategy and employment. She currently serves on the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime System National Advisory Committee. Wieland takes over for MassPort's acting CEO John Pranckevicius who filled the position after former CEO Thomas Glynn stepped down in November 2018. Pranckevicius will return to his role as chief financial officer for MassPort.

Florida - Delray Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) board members promoted Renee Jadusingh to executive director of the agency. Jadusingh previously served as assistant director of the CRA since February 2018. Prior to joining Delray, she was staff counsel at the Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA for four years, director of Plaza Research Atlanta, and assistant director of Plaza Research Fort Lauderdale. She replaces executive director Jeff Costello who submitted his resignation to the board after serving in the position for five years.

Utah - Carolyn Gonot has been named executive director of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA). She replaces interim Executive Director Steve Meyer. Gonot previously served as chief planning and engineering officer at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, California. She also held positions as VTA's chief engineering and program delivery officer, chief development officer, and deputy director of its congestion management program.

Hawaii - Gov. David Ige selected Neal Miyahira to be the new director of the Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance. Miyahira currently serves as the department administrator over the budget, program planning, and management division. Prior to that, he was the department's director and deputy director for 20 years. He also worked as deputy director and chief of research at the Hawaii Department of Taxation and held various roles in the Hawaii Senate and for the state. Miyahira succeeds acting director Robert Yu who has been in the position since early this year after Rod Becker stepped down.
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