Volume 11, Issue 37 - Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Second Avenue Subway
New York - The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of New York City announced a proposed $51.5 billion capital plan for 2020-2024 on September 16 that would increase current infrastructure spending levels by 70 percent.

Of that total, $40 billion would fund NYC Transit subways and buses and invest in the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and Metro-North.

The program will add capacity, increase reliability, and accelerate accessibility to the subway system, including full funding for the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway project.

The plan also will transform the LIRR by investing in the East Side Access at Grand Central Terminal and adding a third track on 10 miles of the Main Line corridor.

Funding would come from $25 billion in bonds supported by new revenue streams in the New York state budget such as $15 billion from central business district tolling and $10.68 billion from federal programs. A progressive tax on high-end real estate sales and elimination of the internet tax advantage are expected to generate another $10 billion. An additional $3 billion state and city funding would come from each government, subject to approval. The remaining $9.8 billion would come from the MTA's capital contributions and bonds.

The MTA board is scheduled to review the plan at its September 25 meeting. If approved, the plan would be submitted by October 1 to the MTA Capital Program Review Board for action. The review board comprises gubernatorial representatives, New York State Senate and Assembly members, and the mayor of New York City.
Route concepts for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor
California - LA Metro is expected to issue a request for proposals/qualifications (RFP/RFQ) in October to form a public-private partnership (P3) to design a $9.5 billion Sepulveda Transit Corridor rail project. The corridor would connect the San Fernando Valley to west Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The P3 project would allow private contractors to compete for the right to help develop the design in collaboration with LA Metro and stakeholders in a Preliminary Development Agreement (PDA). LA Metro would retain control over project decisions, and any contractor-proposed designs would be subject to LA Metro's environmental analysis.

LA Metro presented four concepts for possible routes earlier this year, and its staff are working on a feasibility study scheduled for completion in fall 2019. At the conclusion of the study, a reduced number of alternatives will be recommended to the Metro Board of Directors for further study during the environmental review process.

Although the feasibility study is intended to narrow the alternatives brought into the environmental phase, it does not prohibit new ideas from emerging based on those alternatives during the environmental and P3 process.

Beginning in 2020, the state and federal environmental review process will evaluate and identify environmental impacts and mitigation measures associated with different project alternatives. The draft environmental analysis is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022, at which time, the Metro Board would select a single alternative for advancement, referred to as the locally preferred alternative (LPA). The final environmental analysis is expected to be completed in 2024, after which the project would move into engineering and construction.

The Sepulveda Transit Corridor is part of the Measure M expenditure plan, with approximately $5.7 billion for new transit service to connect the San Fernando Valley and the Westside. Approximately $3.8 billion is allocated to extend that service from the Westside to LAX. Funding is based on anticipated federal, state and local contributions.
Jacksonville waterfront
Florida - The Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) of the city of Jacksonville was set to meet September 17 to review and take action on a request for proposals (RFP) to develop the vacant 8.3-acre waterfront site of the former city hall annex and Duval County Courthouse.

DIA board members may review a timeline, RFP criteria, and marketing materials for development of the property.

A 2018 city report titled "Downtown Riverfront Investment Strategy" stated that "a new convention center on the site could catalyze downtown revitalization." The city also issued a RFP for convention center proposals in 2018 that garnered three responses before the city aborted the effort in December.

The report presented another option featuring residential or commercial development that incorporates a public waterfront. The area "should be utilized for a key civic use or significant and dense high-rise construction," the report recommended for this option.

DIA officials said this summer that they anticipate putting the sites on the market by October with a goal for any potential development there to include restaurants, retail, and entertainment uses to boost residential density.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
Alaska - Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) has issued an expression of interest (EOI) for a public-private partnership (P3) to help with its international terminal. The airport seeks to meet the expectations of international travelers as well as accommodate future passenger growth.

ANC serves four international passenger markets, is the closest west coast airport to Asia, and provides connecting options between Asia and Latin America. In 2018, the airport's Chinese tourism market grew by 65 percent.

The EOI will gauge interest in a P3 for a third-party operator to operate and manage ANC's international terminal. Should an agreement be made, the ideal company would phase-in modern standards by upgrading common areas, operating quality retailers and restaurants, and running a VIP lounge, in addition to assisting with developing international air service.
Aloha Stadium
Hawaii - The New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District (NASED) project released a new report that lays out three preliminary design concepts. The report, which is part of an environmental impact statement preparation notice, also shows the stadium being downsized from a capacity of 50,000 seats to 35,000 seats.

Option A places the new stadium where the current stadium sits, Option B places it to the west, and Option C to the south. The new stadium will support a variety of sports including football, soccer, and rugby, as well as other entertainment events. Site plans for each option include mixed-use retail development, office space, residential buildings, and a hotel.

Options B and C would allow the existing stadium to remain in use while the new stadium is constructed. Option A would be the most challenging, because it would feature incremental redevelopment to replace the existing stadium while facilitating uninterrupted use throughout the demolition and construction cycle.

The new stadium will be constructed of concrete treads and risers supported by composite concrete and steel beams.
Construction of the new stadium and development of the surrounding entertainment district will be pursued under a public-private partnership (P3).
Concord, New Hampshire
New Hampshire - The Governor's Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation (GACIT) is gathering input on an update to the state's draft Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan for 2021-2030.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) created the draft plan that contains hundreds of improvement projects around the state.

One of the largest projects in the list is the $375.34 million widening of Interstate 93 in the Bow-Concord area from four lanes to six lanes.

One lane would be added in each direction for the project that spans about 4.5 miles from Interstate 89. Other improvements would include construction of auxiliary lanes in each direction and improvements to several exits and bridges within the project's limits.
Altamont Pass - Courtesy of David Gubler
California - The Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) could soon run 30 trains per day at 125 mph over Altamont Pass. Rail planners are seeking funds for a 3.5-mile tunnel and other upgrades that would reduce travel times and entice a portion of the 80,000 people who drive to the Bay Area every day to opt for rail travel.

Planners envision the ability to run 30 daily round trips as soon as 2026, and up to 40 trips beginning at a later date. The proposed tunnel would also serve the Valley Link rail system between the Dublin BART station and Stockton.

Costs for the Altamont tunnel and 5.1 miles of new track total an estimated $1.1 billion, which could be included in a $100 billion transportation tax measure on the Bay Area's November 2020 ballots. ACE is seeking an additional $200 million from the measure for upgrades to other tracks, which would allow it to accommodate six round trips on weekdays by 2026.
Washington, D.C. - The White House's Office of Science Technology and Policy (OSTP) is seeking input from biotech stakeholders on biologically-related processes and science that influence economic growth, promote health, and benefit the public.

Any and all biotech stakeholders are welcome to submit up to 10 pages of comments on innovation, products, technology, and data that are important to the "bioeconomy." Comments are due before October 23 and should address any policy or regulatory opportunities, gaps related to basic science translation, product development and commercialization, and other areas where funding could stimulate further discovery.

The OSTP wants to know when the government could partner with the private sector, academia, and professional organizations, as well as what standards, benchmarks, and best practices should be developed to accelerate growth of the bioeconomy.
Engineering & Polytechnic Gateway Complex
Indiana - Purdue University will construct a new engineering and Polytechnic Gateway Complex to accommodate more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students by offering adequate space and resources.

The complex will cost an estimated $140 million, with the state of Indiana funding $60 million, a foundation grant providing $40 million, and private donors contributing the remaining $40 million. 

Two buildings will be constructed to provide 255,000 square feet of space, which will house instructional laboratories, design studios, and other collaborative spaces. A big focus of the project is the Hoosier Hot Corner, an area that will serve to connect Indiana companies that collaborate with faculty and students. Construction is expected to start in spring 2020 and finish in fall 2022.
Rikers Island
New York - The New York City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the city's plan to establish smaller, borough-based jails. Though the approval is binding and marks the start of the final phase of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the move will ultimately lead to the shuttering of jails on Rikers Island.

Two years ago, the CPC released a blueprint for creating a more humane criminal justice system, which recommended closing the jails on Rikers Island, reducing the jail population, and transitioning to a borough-based community justice model.

The proposal will now go to the City Council for deliberation.
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Washington, D.C. - Ohio congressman Tim Ryan introduced a bill to invest $100 billion for the removal of lead pipes and lead paint from homes across the country.

The Grants for Eliminating the Toxic Hazard of Environmental Lead in Our Towns (GET THE LEAD OUT) Act would create a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant program to provide benefits to those affected by lead pipes and paint. These benefits include performing risk assessments and inspections, providing interim control and abatement of lead-based pipe hazards, and offering relocation assistance to families forced to vacate their homes. The act also aims to educate the public on lead poisoning risks and causes.

As many as 10 million homes receive water through lead pipes, and 37 million homes have lead paint contamination. The proposed grant program would eliminate every lead pipe and remove lead paint from 7 million homes.

To fund the program, the bill would appropriate $95 billion in federal funding over 10 years, with a 10 percent match from states.
Kentucky - The University of Louisville (U of L) plans to absorb a private hospital chain's local properties with or without $50 million in state money that legislators promised last month for the deal.

On November 1, the university will take ownership of several capital assets, including four hospitals, four outpatient centers, and a physician practice group.

Lawmakers won't be able to approve the loan until they convene for the 2020 legislative session in January.

Estimates are the facilities need more than $100 million in upgrades.

The local hospital network's parent company will, according to the agreement, pay U of L $126 million over four years to assume responsibility for the health-care operations.

In addition to the state money, a nonprofit organization has pledged $10 million toward the deal.
Georgia - The Curiosity Lab, an autonomous vehicle (AV) test track with 5G connectivity, opened September 11 in the Atlanta suburb of Peachtree Corners.

The publicly funded living lab offers a real-world test environment to further research in intelligent mobility and smart city technology set in Technology Park, an existing 500-acre commercial office park.

The facility is free of charge for companies and institutions to use courtesy of a public-private partnership by the city of Peachtree Corners, Georgia Institute of Technology, and several private technology companies.

Features include a 1.5-mile AV test track, fully operational 5G, vehicle-to-infrastructure sensors, 1G of dedicated fiber, video surveillance, smart poles, and a 25,000-square foot technology incubator.

Facilities in the incubator include a network operations center for the track, conference rooms, co-working desks, a podcasting room, a prototype lab, a 50-seat classroom, and a special events room that seats more than 100 people.
A Project TORUS unmanned aircraft system 
Washington, D.C. - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are partnering with universities in tornado-prone states to create more accurate and timely tornado warnings. Their ultimate goal is to improve public safety.

Teams from Nebraska-Lincoln, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Colorado universities and the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies are working on several projects that will help to better predict and monitor tornadoes.

One such effort is Project TORUS (Targeted Observation by Radars and Unmanned Aircraft Systems of Supercells), which will study wind speed, temperature, humidity, and pressure to learn how small-scale structures within a supercell storm can evolve into tornadoes.
Oregon - Researchers at the University of Oregon (UO) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) will address the nation's opioid abuse epidemic thanks to a new $10.1 million grant.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded the grant, which will support a multidisciplinary collaboration with faculty members from UO and OHSU. Researchers will seek to better understand and develop interventions that can improve outcomes for mothers and children affected by opioid abuse.

Plans for using the grant include nationwide outreach via direct services, communications, pilot and training activities, data sharing, and a strong virtual presence. UO's Data Science Initiative also will be involved in the research efforts.

Oregon - Kris Strickler has been selected as the next director of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). He succeeds Matt Garrett who stepped down after 14 years in the position. When confirmed by the Oregon Senate, Strickler will become the 12th director for the agency. He previously served as administrator of ODOT's highway division.

Arkansas - The board of trustees of the University of Arkansas (UA) System unanimously approved Dr. Christina Drale as the next chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on September 12. Drale had been serving as acting chancellor following Dr. Andrew Rogerson's resignation on September 1.

California - The city of Vallejo named Naveed Ashraf as its first chief innovation officer on September 5. Ashraf most recently served as information technology for the city of Benicia, California. Ashraf is expected to begin his new role September 23.

Delaware - Dr. Tony Allen will succeed Wilma Mishoe as president of Delaware State University on January 1, following her retirement. Allen is currently the university's provost and executive vice president. He has a background in banking as former head of corporate reputation for a multinational investment bank and financial services company.

Minnesota - Jeff Nyberg began his new role as chief technology for the state of Minnesota on September 3. Nyberg previously directed information systems and applications support in the public and private sector.

Colorado - The city of Aspen officially appointed Sara Ott as city manager on September 3. She had been serving as interim city manager since February after Steve Barwick stepped down from the position. She previously served as assistant city manager for Aspen.
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