Volume 12, Issue 17 - Wednesday, April 22, 2020
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

The world continues to spin, and all efforts at the moment are focused on containing the coronavirus and protecting citizens. However, change is in the wind, and the SPI Team is monitoring these extremely interesting developments on an hourly basis every day.

Many marketplaces are in flux, and some are destined to be completely different in the new norm that we find ourselves in very soon. Because SPI concentrates on business development, especially in government marketplaces, and we believe in collaborative efforts, we are extremely interested in trends and changes that are in the making.

Funding is very tight at the moment for public officials at every level of government, but that will definitely change. And, cities, counties, public hospitals, school districts, and universities will function differently in the future.

Public officials, like private sector executives, are studying ways to minimize risk, and many government officials are looking at ways to collaborate with private sector firms to provide citizen services. Companies that have never diversified into the government marketplace in the past should pause to evaluate products and services that could be sold to public sector entities.

An infrastructure bill is being drafted now. Another bill that will send billions to reinforce state and local government coffers is in the development stage. Grant programs are being expanded, and Congressional staffers are hard at work searching for ways to put Americans back to work. Collaboration between public and private sector partners will be one of the 'new norms' of America's economic future.

States are beginning to open up for business slowly, and the country is moving down a path to normalcy. As we know from history, Congress will move quickly to stimulate the economy, create jobs and put people back to work. Government projects of all types are have been reliable, quick ways to stimulate the economy and get people back to work.

The SPI Team will announce a new section to our website very soon. It will offer all types of information for companies that have not participated in the government marketplace in the past. It will have information about every jurisdictional level of government, and it also will announce the tracking of all federal funding from Washington, D.C. as it flows to the states and then to local governments and finally to specific projects.

We were the only company able to provide this type of information in 2008, and we will do it again. The new section of our website also will track what visionary governmental leaders are doing, and we'll spotlight projects they are planning and launching.

Watch this space for an announcement very soon. We are excited about what the future holds, and we definitely believe that collaboration will be a huge part of America's economic recovery.

Washington, D.C. - Hospitals and health care providers are clamoring for more funds from the $100 billion appropriated from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, saying that allocations from an initial $30 billion tranche have been slow to come and are inadequate.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) distributed the funds using a formula based on the Medicare services the hospitals provided in 2019.

HHS and the Administration are working on another $30 billion tranche that will be split into two pieces - $20 billion sent to hospitals and health care providers based on their proportion of total revenue and $10 billion allocated to hospitals serving significant numbers of COVID-19 patients, according to one participant in an April 14 meeting between White House officials and industry leaders.

HHS also plans to target providers in areas severely impacted by the outbreak, rural areas, and areas with providers that have lower Medicare reimbursements or high numbers of Medicaid patients.

On April 21, the U.S. Senate passed the $484 billion Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act that, if approved, includes an additional $75 billion to hospitals. The U.S. House was set to vote on the measure on April 23.
Courtesy of Johns Hopkins University
Maryland - Johns Hopkins University (JHU), which quickly became the international go-to source when it created the global JHU COVID-19 Tracking Map, launched a new U.S. map on April 14 to track cases by county at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map.

JHU developed the COVID-19 U.S. Map and County Dashboard Infographics to provide local leaders, public health authorities, and the public with a tool to track the outbreak within the U.S.

The map features U.S. county-level data on testing, population, infection rate, and hospital capacity. All data collected and displayed are made freely available.

Map overlays display outbreak density and its effects on counties, stay-at-home policies and dates enacted, state-level testing data, county-level race and ethnicity data and poverty rates, health insurance rates by age group by county, and more

JHU's Centers for Civic Impact collaborated with the university's Applied Physics Laboratory, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) to create the map.
Rendering of Honolulu light rail line
Hawaii - The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) extended its deadline for a public-private partnership (P3) to July 22 to finance the construction of the last phase of its 20-mile $9.2 billion light rail project.

HART officials were eager to award the P3 contract for the final segment of the East Kapolei-to-Ala Moana line in order to receive $744 million from the Federal Transit Administration, but bidders requested a deadline extension because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency also will relocate offices to an undetermined location because its lease will not be renewed. The move is estimated to cost $3.6 million, but a timeline has not been established.
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Education announced on April 21 that $6 billion in additional grant funding will be available to colleges and universities through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. 

The fund was established within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that enables higher education institutions to use up to one half of the total funds received to pay for costs associated with significant changes to instruction delivery due to the coronavirus.

In order to access the funds, higher education institutions must submit a certification and agreement for Recipient Institutional Costs. Funding for these costs is separate from the $6 billion in funding made available for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students on April 9.

School allocations are set by a formula prescribed in the CARES Act, which is weighted significantly by the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible but also takes into consideration the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled full-time online before the coronavirus outbreak.

The funding allocations announced on April 12 are part of the nearly $31 billion Congress allocated to the Department of Education to distribute to students, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions under the CARES Act.
Rendering of Interstate 5 Rose Quarter improvements
Oregon - The state's Department of Transportation (ODOT) is seeking a construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) for the estimated $715 million Portland-area Interstate 5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project.

The project will add auxiliary lanes and shoulders to reduce congestion and improve safety on I-5, the main north-south freeway on the West Coast. It also redesigns the multimodal local street network by building new highway covers and full shoulders.

Improvements include the addition of ramp-to-ramp lanes, or auxiliary lanes, in each direction that will allow drivers to enter the highway without having to merge onto I-5 between interstates 84 and 405.

Where the three interstates converge is the biggest traffic bottleneck in Oregon with crash rates that exceed the statewide average. 

The project's transportation improvements will allow the city to implement the development goals for the north-northeast area and realize the city's Central City 2035 Plan.

The CM/GC contract will initially include pre-construction phase services only, with provisions for adding construction phase services later. A mandatory pre-proposal videoconference is scheduled for April 28. Application deadline is 10 a.m. PT May 19.
University of Toledo Medical Center
Ohio - The University of Toledo (UT) is seeking proposals for the potential acquisition, lease, management agreement, or other transaction for the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC).

In February 2020, UT leaders determined that UTMC's losses required consideration of all options for the center's future. UT issued the request for proposals (RFP) on April 16 with a deadline of 5 p.m. ET June 10.

UTMC generates approximately $280 million of net revenue annually and includes a 319-licensed bed hospital constructed in 1976 located on 340 acres of land known as the UT Health Science Campus about 3 miles from the UT Main Campus.

The Health Science Campus includes other facilities such as a comprehensive care center, cardiac rehabilitation hall, cancer center, surgery center, orthopedic center, and University Health Center for student services.

UTMC is a community hospital that provides certain high-end clinical services with an emphasis on primary care and behavioral health.

In 2015, UT entered into an agreement with a non-profit health system to be the university's primary hospital partner and teaching location of the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences, its medical students, residents, and fellows. As of March 2020, UTMC now has an open medical staff and is in the process of credentialing non-university physicians.
Potomac River
Washington, D.C. - Environmental approval from the National Parks Service (NPS) has cleared DC Water to begin construction on the Potomac River Tunnel to improve water quality and reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

As part of the $2.1 billion Washington DC Clean Rivers project, the tunnel will divert stormwater from existing sewer systems south to join the first Clean River tunnel that will convey the waters to the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. The 5-mile 18-foot diameter tunnel will pass under NPS lands along the D.C. riverside and near the Lincoln Memorial and Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 

Almost 654 million gallons of CSOs flow into the Potomac River in an average rainfall year. The tunnel is expected to reduce that amount by 93 percent and cut the number of overflows in a year from 74 down to four.
DC Water officials anticipate letting the tunnel project in spring 2021 and issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) in late 2021. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit bids in mid-2022 with construction scheduled to begin in summer 2023.
Estimated project cost is $450 million to $550 million.
New Jersey transit
New Jersey - Nearly $165 million in grants is available for community infrastructure projects throughout the state from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) through July 1.

NJDOT's Fiscal Year 2021 state aid programs include Municipal Aid, Transit Village, Bikeway, and Safe Streets to Transit initiatives that support road, bridge, safety, and quality-of-life improvements.

The Municipal Aid program will provide $151.25 million in financial assistance for community projects that support walking and biking. Another $10 million is available in Urban Aid for a total of $161.25 million.

Transit Village funds go toward traditional and non-traditional transportation projects that enhance a combination of walking, biking, or transit ridership within a half-mile of a transit facility.

Bikeways programming will award a total of $1 million for bicycle projects that create new bike path mileage, and Safe Streets to Transit will facilitate the construction of safe and accessible pedestrian linkages to transit facilities through a total of $1 million in grant funding.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan - As state leaders across the country establish plans to reopen their economies amid the pandemic, several Midwestern governors formed a regional partnership to collectively restart business and protect the public.

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kentucky governors set four criteria to use in determining when to reopen their economies: sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations, enhanced ability to test and trace, sufficient health care capacity to handle a potential resurgence of the coronavirus, and best practices for social distancing in the workplace. The governors vowed to work in close coordination and phase-in sectors of the economy. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was named in several other states' press releases as a partner, but DeWine clarified that, although he had not signed any agreement to join the group, he would work closely with governors of all the states.
Washington, D.C. - The leading federal agency that has been classifying essential critical infrastructure workers further refined its list of approved functions by releasing a third version on April 17.

New Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines expanded its list to 16 categories for state and local governments to use in making decisions about how best to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Non-binding CISA-approved sectors are: chemical; commercial facilities; communications; critical manufacturing; dams; defense industrial base; emergency services; energy; and financial services.

Other essential sectors are: food and agriculture; government facilities; health care and public health; information technology; nuclear reactors, materials, and waste; transportation systems; and, water and wastewater systems.

The third version of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker Guidance builds on the first version released on March 19 and Version 2.0 released on March 28.

New guidelines clarify and expand critical infrastructure workers in several categories and provide additional information as considerations for both government and business.

Several updates were made to the health care-public health category, clarifying worker categories related to health care, public and environmental health, emergency medical services, and aligning related job functions.

Other additions include:
  • Updated language focused on sustained access and freedom of movement;
  • A reference to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance on safety for critical infrastructure workers;
  • Language noting the essential role of workers focused on information technology and operational technology;
  • Clearer guidance that sick workers should avoid the job site;
  • A reference to the U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety Information Bulletin on essential maritime workers, and;
  • Clarified language on vehicle manufacturers, judges, and lawyers supporting the judicial system, agricultural jobs, and transportation-specific education.
CISA developed this guidance in consultation with government and industry.
U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie - Eglin Air Force Base
Florida - An agreement among the city of Gulf Breeze, Santa Rose County, and the Holley-Navarre Water System (HNWS) will allow them to proceed with a four-phase plan to make multiple water infrastructure improvements.

Design and construction of the $20 million Eglin Rapid Infiltration Basin System (RIBS) is set for the first phase, which will include installation of pipes from the HNWS treatment plant on Pepper Drive to the Eglin facility on leased Eglin Air Force Base land. 

The next phase will feature the design and construction of a pipe from the Navarre Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Pepper Drive plant to convey the county's effluent to the Eglin RIBS site. 

Third phase plans call for construction of new facilities and a pipe to link Gulf Breeze's water system to HNWS' system and upgrades to pumps and control rooms in order to provide a minimum of 200,000 gallons of water daily from HNWS to Gulf Breeze.

Upgrades to the Navarre Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant are planned for the fourth phase to allow the facility to transport water to Gulf Breeze.

The utilities plan to submit a joint application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for grant funding from the Deepwater Horizon spill settlement.
Proposed aquatics facility
Ohio - City of Mansfield officials released a $29 million parks master plan on April 14 that includes an estimated $8 million aquatics facility at Liberty Park, a new playground at Sterkel Park, and skatepark at Prospect Park.

The proposed aquatics facility project calls for a 7-acre pool and aquatic venue on the northern end of Liberty Park that features a new modern swimming pool area, zero depth entry area, toddler pool, lap pool, diving pool, slides, and pool deck areas containing zones for shade and sunning. It also could contain a modern pool house with accessible changing areas, lockers, restrooms, concessions, and party spaces.

Consultants included a splash pad as a possible alternative.

City leaders acknowledged the timing of the plan's release comes at a time of uncertainty amid the pandemic. They said the city might pursue some of the lower cost projects first from the plan that consultants started working on in 2017.
New York City subway
Washington, D.C. - The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) established the APTA Mobility Recovery and Restoration Task Force to address COVID-19 pandemic transit issues.

Task force members will develop a path forward for public transportation's core functions and financial stability and explore methods, tools, and approaches to reposition the industry's essential role in the post-pandemic world.

The group will create a set of recommendations that cover a range of issues including customer-focused operations, energy use, resiliency and efficiency, safety, public confidence, and societal needs.

Leading the task force will be Phillip Washington, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and former APTA chair. Co-chairs will be Joanna Pinkerton, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Central Ohio Transit Authority, and Paul Wiedefeld, general manager and CEO of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

The task force is scheduled to meet on May 1 and present its final conclusions and recommendations to the APTA board by September 1.
Norwich firefighters
Connecticut - The Norwich Public Safety Commission voted on April 15 to recommend the city commence the city's first fire services study in 31 years via a request for proposals (RFP).

City Council previously adopted a resolution on April 6 for a study that would evaluate response and dispatch assignment order, response time data collection, communications, fire apparatus, equipment procurements and inventory control, and staffing.

Commissioners set a November 30 completion date for the study, which City Council mandated be complete within 90 days after contract execution.

Councilmembers are scheduled to consider the recommendation at their May meeting.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives

South Carolina - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) named Joan Duwve as the agency's director of public health on April 17. She succeeds acting director of public health Nicholas Davidson. Prior to joining DHEC, Duwve served as the associate dean of practice for the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis and developed and directed the ECHO Center. She also served as the chief medical officer with the Indiana State Department of Health and the medical director for the department's Division of Public Health and Preparedness.

Iowa - The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Black Hawk County (MET) selected David Sturch as its new general manager. He will succeed Mark Little who will retire at the end of April. Sturch previously served as a planner at the cities of Cedar Falls and Waterloo. He also served as the Cedar Falls representative to the MET board.

Massachusetts - Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue appointed Joanne Belanger as the city's director of health and human services. She took over for JoAnn Keegan who filled the position on an interim basis after the resignation of Kerran Vigroux. Belanger previously served as the town of Andover's assistant health director and public health nurse.

Kansas - The Finney County Board of County Commissioners appointed Robert Reece as the full-time county administrator. Reece had been serving as interim county administrator since January 20. He previously served as county administrator and director of finance for Pottawatomie County in eastern Kansas.

South Dakota - The South Dakota Legislature's Executive Board voted April 20 to officially hire Reed Holwegner as the new director for the South Dakota Legislative Research Council, effective May 4. He succeeds Jason Hancock who accepted a new post as Idaho deputy secretary of state. Holwegner is currently serving as a principal research analyst with the Kansas Legislative Research Department. He previously worked for the South Dakota Legislative Research Council's fiscal office for nearly six years.

Michigan - Royal Oak City Commission selected Paul Brake to serve as their new city manager, effective May 21. Brake is joining Royal Oak from Morgantown, West Virginia, where he served as city manager. He will succeed former Royal Oak City Manager Don Johnson who retired in June 2019. Brake previously served as director of state operations for a Lansing, Michigan firm and city manager for the city of Grand Blanc, Michigan.
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