Volume 12, Issue 49 - Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Ultra-high-speed Cascadia transportation concepts reach $42B
Pacific Northwest – An informal partnership of Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia released a framework report on December 8 that examines the possibilities for ultra-high-speed ground transportation in the megaregion.

Building on previous studies conducted over the past three years that estimated construction costs to be between $24 billion and $42 billion, the report details next steps on governance, strategic outreach, and financing.

Using high-speed rail, magnetic levitation, or hyperloop technology, the system would be stand-alone, rather than sharing or relying on existing infrastructure. It would include some elevated tracks and tunnels, with no at-grade crossings with roads.

Offering travel time of less than an hour between each major city – at speeds of up to 250 mph and 20 to 30 trips per day – the new system would link the metropolitan areas of Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, British Columbia while offering connections to stations in between and beyond. The exact route and type of technology has not been determined and requires more analysis.

Connecting this megaregion could transform the Pacific Northwest by improving overall mobility, boosting economic growth, and significantly decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The report outlined several next steps that include building support for a coordinating entity, developing an enabling agreement between the three jurisdictions, and establishing funding for the coordinating entity.
Oklahoma approves $6B highway plan for road, bridge projects
Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved an eight-year $6 billion highway plan on December 7 that contains future highway and bridge construction using state and federal funds, including major urban projects and continued improvements to rural two-lane highways.

The Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2021-2028 Eight-year Construction Work Plan programs 1,350 construction and safety projects for the next eight years.

It addresses 609 bridges through rehabilitation or replacement and nearly 1,900 miles of roadway improvements, which include more than 800 miles of two-lane highway safety improvements on highways with deficient shoulders.

Significant urban projects in the Eight-year Plan include:
  • The advancement to the timeline of an estimated $7 million project for Interstate 35 pavement rehabilitation between Interstate 44 and John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City to FFY2021. 
  • Operational improvements on I-35 between S. 19th and S.W. 34th St. in Moore, for an estimated $1 million in FFY 2023.
  • An additional Work Package for improvements at the I-44/US-75 interchange in Tulsa for FFY 2028 for an estimated $30 million. 
  • 96th North bridge improvements over US-169 in Owasso for an estimated $10 million in FFY 2026. 

Significant rural projects in the Eight-year Plan include:
  • Beckham County – Estimated $10 million project for shoulders and improvements to SH-6 between SH-152 and US-283 north of Sayre in FFY 2028. 
  • Grady County – Adding paved shoulders to SH-4 between I-44/HE Bailey Turnpike and SH-37 near Bridge Creek, estimated $9 million project in FFY 2028. 
  • Kay County – Estimated $9 million pavement rehabilitation on I-35 from US-177 north to Kansas state line, advanced to FFY 2026. 
  • McCurtain County – An estimated $1 million project on US-259 for intersection improvements between Broken Bow and Hochatown, FFY 2024. 
  • Ottawa County – Widening and resurfacing SH-137 between US-60 and SH-10 in FFY 2028, $12 million estimate. 

This new update takes into account an upcoming reduction in state funding which was done through previous legislative action to help balance the state budget. Project schedules have been adjusted accordingly.
Massachusetts RFI seeks input on financial, human capital systems
Massachusetts – The state of Massachusetts issued a request for information (RFI) on financial management and human capital management-payroll needs as it prepares to replace two core administrative systems.

It is the state’s intent for the Best Enterprise Systems Transformation (BEST) program to replace the Massachusetts Management, Accounting, and Reporting System (MMARS) and Human Resources/Compensation Management System (HR/CMS), which provide support for the state’s 153 agencies.

Information is sought on payroll, financial management, and human capital management. Out of scope functions that may be included are benefits enrollment management, budget development, capital spending management, payment processing, procurement, and student billing. The state’s preferred software hosting solution is a cloud-based multi-tenant Solution as a Service (SaaS) model.

MMARS and HR/CMS were implemented during 2000-2004 as highly customized, licensed software hosted on premise at a state facility. Both applications have been upgraded periodically, reducing customizations of HR/CMS considerably. MMARS continues to be a highly customized solution. Both MMARS and HR/CMS were moved to the cloud in 2020 with no changes to the software’s core code.

Software vendors that submit bids are asked to provide information about a proposed software solution they have implemented in at least one state or other large-scale public entity within the past five years.

RFI responses are due by 5 p.m. EST on January 22, 2021. Information provided by software vendors responding to this RFI will be used to refine a request for response (RFR) for enterprise software that Massachusetts expects to issue later this fiscal year.
Port of Baltimore planning $160M in terminal improvements
Maryland – The Port of Baltimore is set to undergo more than $160 million in improvements to the Seagirt Marine Terminal.

Boosted by state and federal grants, the port plans to modernize Berth 3 to add an additional deep-draft berth to widen the turning basin and deepen the access channel to 50 feet deep. Berth-side improvements include construction of a tow wall, crane tie-downs, new fenders, pavement repairs, and concrete runways.

Adding a second berth capable of serving 50-foot draft Ultra Large Container Vessels and the necessary supporting berth-side improvements will relieve the terminal’s berth capacity bottleneck. The berth upgrade will allow Seagirt to handle two 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) vessels simultaneously.

The improvements will support the region’s cargo growth demand, provide growth opportunities for capturing additional containerized cargo, increase operational and commercial flexibility, and enable vessels to more efficiently move in and out of the terminal.

Additional improvements include new truck gates allowing greater capacity for increasing container volumes, an empty container repair depot providing additional space in the main terminal, and container handling equipment used for servicing vessels, yards, and rail operations.
Authority to extend high speed rail line into King of Prussia area
Pennsylvania – The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) released changes and new renderings for its proposed $2 billion King of Prussia (KOP) Rail Project in Philadelphia.

SEPTA plans to extend its existing Norristown High Speed Line four miles to connect Center City, University City, and King of Prussia, which are the Delaware Valley’s three largest employment centers.

Five stations are proposed along the adopted Locally Preferred Alternative: one station/park-and-ride at Henderson Road; two stations on the back side of the King of Prussia Mall; and two stations in the Business Park, including a park-and-ride at the terminal station. A 500-space parking garage is planned for KOP Rail’s last stop.

The project, which is in the preliminary engineering phase, is funded through a federal earmark. SEPTA will seek up to 50 percent of the project’s funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts Program.
Underserved Ohio county issues RFI for broadband services
Ohio – Cuyahoga County, one of the worst connected communities in the U.S., issued a request for information (RFI) to solicit ideas for potential strategies and partnerships to expand affordable, high-speed broadband services to residents.

According to the 2019 American Community Survey, 19 percent of households in Cuyahoga County do not have any type of internet service, including mobile data plans. About 32 percent of households in the county do not have a broadband connection at home, and for many county residents with an internet connection, access to reliable broadband is sporadic, and they are forced to settle for inadequate speeds.

Cuyahoga County is seeking to identify ready-to-deploy ideas or projects that will provide residents with an affordable high-speed internet connection. These options may range from new products and pricing, new service options with discounted rates, free Wi-Fi solutions that residents can reach from their homes, or other innovative approaches employing established or emerging technologies.

The county is most interested in identifying vendors able to construct, manage, or utilize a robust network that leads to reliably providing cost-competitive access to the scope of work in one to two years or less.

County officials anticipate this RFI will be a primary means of industry input before they determine their specific implementation plan to achieve the county’s universal broadband goals. The county will consider a range of construction, operation, ownership, and financing options associated with public-private partnership (P3) agreements, non-exclusive franchises, and other appropriate alternatives in its evaluation.

The deadline for RFI submissions is 4:30 p.m. EST on January 15, 2021.
Spaceport America launches RFPs for capital projects
New Mexico – The board of directors for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority directed staff to develop four requests for proposals (RFPs) for capital projects at Spaceport America.

A $9 million technology and reception center will contain the spaceport’s information technology, which is currently housed in its main hangar building.

The spaceport plans to release two RFPs for work totaling up to $8 million to improve the spaceport’s vertical launch area to include upgraded roads, electric power service, and restroom amenities.

Another project would spend $750,000 to repair the facility’s operations center that has suffered damage as the result of the building’s dome and frame shifting in opposite directions

According to a January report, Spaceport America will generate almost $1 billion in accumulated economic benefits for New Mexico by fiscal year 2024.

After the authority’s previous RFP to design and build a new $2.2 million launch rail did not receive any submissions, it will solicit a sole-source proposal from an aerospace firm.
Richmond preparing to solicit casino operator, location
Virginia – The city of Richmond is taking public comment on what residents want it to consider in a proposal for a potential resort casino in the city.

Richmond will issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) or proposals (RFP) to select an operator and site. Following the city’s selection of a preferred operator and site, the citizens of Richmond will have the final say in whether to bring a resort casino to Richmond via a voter referendum expected to appear on the November 2021 ballot.

Total amount of new annual revenues coming to the city of Richmond, location of the casino resort, capital investment, and job creation will all be factors in recommending the casino operator and site to the City Council and the citizens.

The city also will evaluate small business engagement, increased tourism, how the location of the casino resort supports the city’s entertainment community, and the capacity of the operator and the quality development

In April 2020, the Virginia General Assembly authorized five cities to allow full-service casinos to operate in their jurisdictions. The General Assembly Law requires that the proposed casino operator/site be approved by a voter referendum. In November 2020, voters in Danville, Norfolk, Bristol, and Portsmouth approved casino operators/sites to establish in their cities.
Consultants recommend Front Range passenger rail expansions
Colorado – A project team recommended two new passenger rail lines to the Front Range Passenger Rail Commission on December 4 to expand the service to connect Pueblo to Fort Collins using existing passenger and freight track.

Phase 1 would focus on implementing passenger rail service from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs for an estimated cost of $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion and a passenger rail line from Colorado Springs to Pueblo for $200 million to $300 million.

Planners envision maximum speeds of 79 mph on the two segments with two to six daily round trips for the Fort Collins-Colorado Springs line and one to two daily round trips for the Colorado Springs-Pueblo section.

Potential future connections would link Front Range Rail to Cheyenne and Trinidad for a conceptual capital cost of $7.8 billion to $14.2 billion. Once complete, that new system would feature 24 weekday round trips and 18 weekend round trips. Trains would reach maximum speeds of 90 to 110 mph to travel end to end in less than three hours.

The team modeled its scenarios on successful rail systems such as Washington’s Sounder line, Utah’s Front Runner service, and Oregon Passenger Rail.

An environmental study is planned to select a preferred alternative from three routes under consideration. Service is expected to start in five to 10 years.
Idaho seeking information on veteran identification database
Idaho – The state’s Division of Veteran Services (IDVS) issued a request for information (RFI) for the Idaho Veterans Data Exchange (IVDEx) to better understand options, data availability, and the potential number of data providers that may be able to deliver current, historical, and future identification data related to veterans living in the state of Idaho.

IDVS and the Idaho Office of Information Technology Services have undertaken a project to create a central data exchange to identify veterans living in the state and to develop the databases and related schemas, reports/dashboards, and predictive analytics tools required for the IDVS to harvest actionable information from the IVDEx.

This identification process is expected to assist IDVS in more efficient and effective deployment of resources and services before situations become critical for individuals, including for suicide prevention.

The primary task of this project is finding and identifying all veterans living in Idaho and keeping that data current. A secondary project objective is to identify veterans who lived in Idaho in the past 10 to 15 years and who have died. This information will help the IDVS identify families of veterans who may be eligible for benefits or services as a result of their family member’s service.

RFI responses are due by December 18. If the division determines that there is a high probability of finding the required data for this project, it will consider issuing a request for proposals, or other solicitation type, for the purpose of finding a long-term data source or provider who can provide the initial data update and keep the data current over time.
Alabama city weighing capital projects for potential $50M bond sale
Alabama – The city of Orange Beach is considering the issuance of $50 million in bonds to fund several capital improvement projects, including construction of public safety facilities and road improvements.

An expansion of the city’s police and justice center and construction of a new Fire Station No. 1 complex behind City Hall are some of the projects that could be financed through the bond sale.

Other projects that could be covered are:
  • Fire Station No. 5 construction and property purchase. 
  • Performing Arts Center at Orange Beach High School. 
  • Orange Beach Sportsplex baseball and softball stadium and field upgrades. 
  • Orange Beach Sportsplex football-soccer stadium conversion. 
  • Mako Athletic Field House for Orange Beach Middle School-High School. 
  • Multimodal path on East and West Canal Road providing connectivity. 
  • Shooting-practice range for police training and public practice. 
  • Wildlife Center rehabilitation and maintenance shop addition. 
  • Recreation Center adult fitness gym construction. 
  • Kids Park playground replacement. 

Councilmembers are set to vote on final approval for the bond issuance in the next few weeks.
Florida city's RFP to spur waterfront redevelopment
Florida – The city of Clearwater is preparing a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit development of three city-owned tracts adjacent to Coachman Park. 

City leaders are planning to sell the sites of the former City Hall and Harborview Center as well as a 1.4-acre parcel next to the city hall tract, which could generate an estimated $23 million for the city. The RFP will likely encourage submissions that incorporate retail, residential, and hotel concepts. 

The area is part of the Imagine Clearwater project that aims to revitalize the park and its surrounding areas. The redevelopment prioritizes a $15 million, 4,000-seat covered amphitheater that will serve as the cornerstone of the downtown waterfront. 
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
Hawaii – Max Otani was appointed as director of the Department of Public Safety on December 1. He replaced Nolan Espinda who retired in September. Otani is currently a board member for the Hawaii Paroling Authority. Before that he was an administrator of the Intake Service Center Division. 

Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua to the Georgia Supreme Court. LaGrua most recently served as a judge with the Fulton County Superior Court. Prior to that, she was inspector general for the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office and DeKalb County’s solicitor general. 

Arizona – The city of Phoenix named Chad Makovsky as its next director of aviation services, effective March 29, 2021. Makovsky most recently served as executive vice president of operations for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Prior to that, he was an assistant aviation director for the Phoenix Aviation Department. 

Kansas – Gov. Laura Kelly named Adam Proffitt as director of the state’s budget. He will succeed Larry Campbell who retired. Proffitt most recently served as a finance manager for an international retailer. Prior to that, he was the state Medicaid director and finance director for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s health care division. 

Utah – Salt Lake County selected Jevon Gibb as its economic development director. Gibb most recently served as director of research and economic development for an investor-based economic development partnership in Connecticut. 

California – The Foster City Council selected Peter Pirnejad as its new city manager, effective January 4, 2021. He will succeed Jeff Moneda who resigned in May. Pirnejad previously served as the assistant city manager for the city of Napa and as the development services director for the city of Palo Alto. 
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