Volume 12, Issue 10 - Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Public-private partnerships (P3s), or collaborative initiatives as they are sometimes called, are becoming more common - so common in fact, that it's hard to find any state where collaborative partnerships that include funding options are not being used to deliver public projects. With limited budgets, public officials are being forced to seek alternative funding sources.

There's an abundance of available investment revenue, and companies that contract with government should be prepared to either offer their own investment revenue for projects they seek or pursue contracting opportunities with an investment partner.

Regional banks, insurance firms, foundations, investment companies, and pension funds are all interested in investing in government projects. Many 501(c)(3)s are now offering revenue at tax free rates. The examples that follow make it clear that all types of contracting opportunities will involve partnerships.

New York
Officials at Metro are prepared to deliver projects through P3 engagements. Two months ago, Metro approved a P3 for the construction of a rail project with a projected cost of $65 million. Planning documents related to the project indicate that it will include the station, two 12-car platforms, a pedestrian overpass, lighting, elevators, and an audio and visual announcement system.

MARTA train
Georgia - The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's (MARTA) Atlanta Regional Commission Board approved transit spending of $173 billion over the next 30 years. The money will fund improvements to address worsening traffic expected in the coming decades, as metropolitan Atlanta's population continues to grow.

Included in the plan are about 450 projects throughout 20 counties. These projects are designed to help people and goods move more efficiently across the area.

About $102 billion would go toward maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. This includes work involving road resurfacing, replacing buses and rail cars, and upgrading to "smart" traffic signals.

The plan calls for $27 billion in new interchanges and other highway improvements, such as new toll lanes along the perimeter and Ga. 400. 

Light-rail also will be expanded with a share of $11 billion in transit projects, and about $10 billion would be spent to encourage people to use alternative modes of transportation such as bikes and pedestrian paths.

To pay for the plan, the state will be responsible for about $50 billion of the costs through various revenue sources. Federal funding is anticipated to be as high as $45.5 billion, and local governments and districts would pay for the remaining costs.
Proposed Bakersfield-Palmdale high-speed rail route
California - A newly released draft environmental impact report details plans by the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to tunnel through the Tehachapi Mountains as part of an $18.15 billion line connecting Bakersfield to Palmdale.

The Bakersfield to Palmdale Project Section is an 80-mile stretch that will provide a high-speed rail connection from the Central Valley to the Antelope Valley and Los Angeles County. It would close the existing passenger rail gap between Northern and Southern California through the Tehachapi Mountains using 9.3 miles of tunnels and 15.8 miles of elevated track.

A new Palmdale Station would be located at an expanded Palmdale Transportation Center. The Bakersfield to Palmdale Project Section also includes plans to build an elevated station in Bakersfield and four maintenance facilities.

This segment is included in the first phase of the 800-mile high-speed rail system connecting Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay area, the Central Valley, Los Angeles, and San Diego. One of the authority's goals is to provide nonstop service between San Francisco and Los Angeles with a travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes.

After the comment period on the draft report closes on April 13, 2020, staff will prepare and issue the final report and present it to the CHSRA board to consider certification and project approval. The authority is on schedule to complete environmental clearance for the first phase by 2022.
MTA bus
New York - The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced its core projects scheduled for award this year, which are part of the $54.8 billion Capital Program planned through 2024. 

Projects involve priorities such as accessibility, signal upgrades, and system expansions, and the MTA will approach projects more efficiently by bundling work, streamlining management, and simplifying designs.

Throughout the network, 25 stations will be awarded funds for complete Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, including seven stations in Queens, six stations in Brooklyn, five stations in the Bronx, four stations in Manhattan, and three stations in Staten Island.

The Penn Station Access also will receive funding for work to establish a new connection from Metro-North to Penn Station.

Notable projects scheduled for the first quarter of 2020 include ADA accessibility at Livonia Av, the Metro-North Harlem River Lift Bridge, and the purchase of 558 buses.

During the second quarter, infrastructure work will be performed to repair the 2, 3, 4, and 5 lines in Brooklyn. Additionally, traction power and signaling upgrades will be made to Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) lines.

In the third quarter of 2020, there will be ADA work performed at 30 stations, as well as a total of 10 New York City Transit (NYCT) station renewals.

During the fourth quarter, the MTA will install modernized signals on the Queens Boulevard Line East E and F lines and build a new $25 million substation at Canal Street and 8 Avenue. Six bus depots will undergo electrification.
Florida's Turnpike
Florida - State transportation officials are gathering public input in advance of a project development and environmental study to widen 37 miles of Florida's Turnpike (SR 91) from Jupiter to Fort Pierce at an estimated cost of up to $1.08 billion.

Costs are projected to be $782.9 million to widen the highway from four lanes to eight lanes by adding general toll lanes. The state anticipates the cost of improving highway cross roads and interchanges will be up to $300.5 million.
Florida's Turnpike is a north-south toll road that runs approximately 313 miles through 11 counties in the Florida peninsula. Florida's Turnpike System is used daily by more than 2 million motorists.

The state identified the need to widen this portion of SR 91 to add capacity that will accommodate future traffic volumes of freight and passenger vehicles linked to the projected growth in population and industry for 2045. Florida's Turnpike also is a major evacuation route for southeast Florida.

Study completion and approval are scheduled for June 2021.
Rendering of Interdisciplinary Research Facility
Ohio - The board of trustees at Ohio State University (OSU) approved more than $600 million in construction projects that will support research and health care initiatives.

The university can now enter into professional service and construction contracts for a number of projects including energy advancement, health care, recreation, and infrastructure. Money will come from a variety of sources, such as university funds, university debt, and auxiliary funds.

One major project involves the Interdisciplinary Research Facility, which has a total budget of $237.5 million. This five-story laboratory building will be constructed in the West Campus Innovation District, and will serve disciplines including biomedical, life sciences, engineering, and environmental sciences. Additionally, two floors will be dedicated to the new Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology.

The Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Care center in Dublin, Ohio, will receive more than $149 million for a 272,000-square-foot ambulatory building. The total budget for this project is $161.2 million, and the building will accommodate ambulatory surgery, endoscopy, primary care, and specialty medical and surgical clinics.

Other projects include improvements to Lincoln Field and the Coffey Road Park, construction of a 35,000-square-foot Frank Stanton Veterinary Spectrum of Care Clinic, and development of West Campus infrastructure to support the new facilities.

Several projects are slated to begin this year and conclude in 2023.
Allegheny Tunnel
Pennsylvania - Turnpike officials are conducting an environmental review on their plans to build a new road around the Allegheny Tunnel in Somerset County.

Engineers and designers have created three pairs of options to address the tunnel's problems, which include high traffic volumes and accident rates, sharp curves that do not meet design standards, and the fact that hazardous loads are prohibited in the tunnel.

Each proposal includes a new tunnel and a new road. Two options include building a new tunnel and a new road to the north, while a third option involves constructing the tunnel and road to the south. Costs for the tunnels vary from $627.9 million to $761 million, while road costs are estimated at $332.4 million to $384.9 million.

Turnpike officials prefer to build the southern route, which would cut into the mountain about 1,000 feet south of the tunnel. According to the plans, three eastbound lanes would be constructed and the sharp curves approaching from the east would be redesigned.

The agency is still working to identify funding sources.
CONNECT Beyond member counties
North Carolina - As Charlotte continues to experience a fast pace of development, Mayor Vi Lyles and officials from 12 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina announced a regional transit plan to address mobility issues and ensure that the region will be able to compete nationally.

The new transit plan, CONNECT Beyond, will be developed during the next 18 months by the Charlotte Area Transit System's (CATS) Centralina Council of Governments along with the Metropolitan Transit Commission.

CONNECT Beyond aims to develop a regional transit system offering new transportation options and strategies, focusing on areas such as bus transit and light rail. The goal is to reduce congestion on roadways as the region continues to grow and become more heavily trafficked.

Public input also will be sought in evaluating high-capacity corridors, like the expansion of CATS's light rail lines.
South Yuba River floodwaters in California
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will award $653.2 million in emergency relief funds to aid 37 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories to repair roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters and other unexpected events.

The funds help pay for the reconstruction or replacement of damaged highways and bridges along with the arrangement of detours and replacement of damaged safety devices.

This emergency relief funding includes awards to:
  • California - $228.85 million for continued repairs to roads and bridges damaged by flooding during winter storms in 2017, as well as by wildfires;
  • Alaska - $38.46 million for damages caused by an earthquake and floods;
  • New York - $36.14 million, which includes funding for repairs to damage caused by severe winds and flooding;
  • Iowa - $30.35 million for damages caused by significant flooding along the Missouri River in 2019;
  • South Dakota - $26.2 million for heavy snow, rains, and flooding in 2019;
  • Mississippi - $15.93 million for damage due to 2018 and 2019 flooding; and,
  • Michigan - $11.4 million for flooding at various locations throughout the state.
Since 2017, the federal government has reimbursed states, territories, federal land management agencies, and tribal governments $4.2 billion for eligible expenses associated with damage from natural disasters or other emergency situations.
Rendering of Jacksonville U2C system
Florida - The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) seeking firms to help build and operate its Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C) autonomous vehicle program.

Officials estimate the project will cost $350 million to $400 million, and JTA will likely offer a 30-year contract with the RFP. The winning bidder will be repaid over this 30-year period.

The U2C will be a public transportation system featuring driverless, low-speed electric vehicles, and will be built in three phases. The first phase is fully funded with $44 million that will go toward the construction of a 3-mile, ground-level loop along Bay Street, which will run from the Skyway's Downtown Central Station to TIAA Bank Field. A total of $25 million in U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) grants has been awarded for the project.

During phase two, workers will convert the existing Skyway track into an elevated roadway dedicated to the autonomous vehicles.

The third phase will complete the 10-mile network into the downtown's surrounding neighborhoods, from Springfield in the north to Brooklyn/Riverside and San Marco in the south.

The JTA is considering selling its surplus real estate to fund the project.
Pinnacle Mountain Trail in Arkansas
Arkansas - Metroplan, a four-county metropolitan planning organization in the Little Rock area, earmarked $55 million in grant funding toward building a regional trail system.

After visiting similar regional multi-use networks in Bentonville, Arkansas, and Greenville, South Carolina, Metroplan board members set a goal to improve mobility in Faulker, Lonoke, Pulaski, and Saline counties through trail expansion rather than make road or bridge improvements.

The regional multi-use path system will integrate existing trails, paths, and sidewalks to make vital connections within the overall regional transportation system. It also will aim for seamless connection with the existing and future transit network.

The investment over 10 years will include a strategic plan integrated into Metroplan's next regional master plan in 2022. As the organization plans further improvements, it will seek public and private partners to help implement its vision for a region linked by a network of trails, paths, and sidewalks.
NH119 Hinsdale-Brattleboro Bridge
New Hampshire - Plans to replace the aging Anna Hunt Marsh and Charles Dana bridges with a new Hinsdale-Brattleboro bridge have been rescheduled.

The state of Vermont's ongoing negotiations to purchase three land parcels pushed the procurement timeline for the $50 million project back from May to August.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) officials said they anticipate awarding the construction contract in late 2020 and opening the bridge in late 2023.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the two states a $12 million BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) Discretionary Grant to partially fund the replacement of the two bridges carrying NH Route 119 over the Connecticut River. The states will build the new bridge just downstream and rehabilitate the two existing bridges for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs documents creating the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and the Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification.
Michigan - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed documents to secure Michigan's position as a global leader in the automotive manufacturing and mobility sectors.

Executive Directive 2020-1 creates the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification under the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). The office will be responsible for securing Michigan's status as a leader in autonomous, electric, connected, and shared future mobility, which will be achieved through strategic coordination of all mobility-related initiatives involving state government. These include initiatives related to economic and workforce development, as well as infrastructure efforts.

The directive also calls for the designation of a chief mobility officer to lead the office, which will be responsible for building on Michigan's leadership in leveraging public-private partnerships (P3s).

Executive Order 2020-2 abolishes the Council on Future Mobility, and creates the Michigan Council on Future Mobility and Electrification, which also is housed within the LEO. This council will be responsible for advising the LEO, Michigan's governor, and the legislature regarding recommended changes in policies.
Montgomery County courthouse
Indiana - The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners is planning to build a new courthouse annex with office space for up to 60 employees. 

Commissioners wish to enter a public-private partnership (P3) to construct the 40,000-square-foot annex and have issued a request for information (RFI) for design, construction, and financing.

The proposed partnership calls for a private company to purchase the land and improvements, of which the county would take ownership and be responsible for covering the costs.

Included in the annex would be storage areas, a large public meeting room, offices, and conference rooms.

Submissions are being accepted until late March. Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee, and up to three bids will be considered for further interviews. The committee is expected to make final recommendations by early April, and a company will be selected in May.
Hermiston City Hall
Oregon - Hermiston city councilors voted to move forward with the construction of a new city hall building, months after a fire damaged the interior of the current city hall building. The total cost of the project would be approximately $9 million.

Included in the expenses would be about $700,000 worth of renovations to the basement of the Hermiston Public Library, which will be used by city staff as a temporary space during the new building's 18-month construction period. One proposal for these renovations includes shifting or removing many of the basement's walls to make the space more usable.

The remaining costs would go toward constructing the new city hall on the site of the current building. Preliminary designs show a two-story building that includes a basement. Each floor would have a footprint of about 9,200 square feet, and would be much more accessible for city staff.

To pay for the new building, the city could use full faith and credit bonds, with up to a 30-year payment. Additionally, the city could put its $175,000 insurance payout toward the new building.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives

Washington, D.C. - Amtrak announced William Flynn as its next chief executive officer (CEO) and president on March 2. He will succeed Richard Anderson on April 15. Anderson will remain with Amtrak through the end of the year. Flynn most recently served 13 years as president and CEO and board chairman with a global air freight, military charter, and passenger charter company.

New York - The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has named Sarah Feinberg, chair of the MTA Transit Committee chair and former administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, as interim president of New York City Transit, effective March 9. Feinberg previously served as chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Florida - The Miami City Commission unanimously approved Arthur "Art" Noriega as city manager. Noriega most recently served as chief executive officer of the Miami Parking Authority. Prior to that role, he was vice president of a consulting firm.

Illinois - Bureau-Putnam Area Rural Transit (BPART) recently named Amber Biddix as director of transportation. Biddix previously served as director of transportation for a company that serves as lead provider and administrator of the BPART system.

Arizona - The Mohave County Airport Authority selected Kellen Shireman as the assistant airport director at Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport. Shireman most recently served as an airport operations supervisor at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Missouri - University of Missouri (MU) System and University of Missouri-Columbia officials announced that Richard Barohn, vice chancellor for research at the University of Kansas Medical Center, has been named executive vice chancellor for health affairs for MU. Barohn was chair of the Department of Neurology for 16 years at the University of Kansas Medical Center and served as vice chancellor for research and president of the Research Institute.
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