Volume 12, Issue 15 - Wednesday, April 8, 2020
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

We are living through not only an incredibly sad time, but also a historic time. Without doubt, we'll be talking about how we survived COVID-19 for the rest of our lives.

As businesses throughout the world scramble to find their footing, the SPI Team is working harder than ever. We are totally focused on helping clients continue to provide goods and services to public entities ... but we are also preparing for a return to normal.

There's no doubt that better days are coming, so we are building a new section for our website and developing training modules of all types to help government contractors.

This site will be the place where we'll deliver customized research for companies interested in pursuing projects of all types - upcoming projects that will be funded through federal recovery allocations to governmental agencies. We also will monitor public-private partnerships where private capital funding will be used to launch new infrastructure projects.

The American economy will have to be stimulated as soon as the COVID-19 virus is contained. That will be done by sending federal dollars to governmental agencies to launch projects that will create jobs and put people back to work. Our researchers will track that funding to every state and local governmental entity and then to specific projects. Not only do we intend to identify the projects, but we also will provide an abundance of background detail. We did this in 2008, and we're ready to do it again.

Along with the tracking of funding and identification of projects, the site will feature training modules for government contractors. We've been covered up with requests for government sales training, so it seemed appropriate to make some of those services available now.

The public-sector marketplace, which has represented a multi-trillion dollar arena in the past, will be even larger in the future. Companies that never diversified into selling to government in the past will surely realize that diversification has been a lifesaver for many companies during this time. Governmental agencies don't shut down during disasters. Government ramps up during disasters and public officials will always need private-sector partners.

Almost every type of product and service that can be found in the commercial sector is purchased by the government. And, government offers huge contracting opportunities for companies that can provide good products and much-needed services. 
It's hard to understand why any company would not be involved in selling to government.

So, watch this space because the new section of our site will go live within the next few weeks. Even seasoned government contractors will find guidance for success. With 80-plus consultants and an incredible research team, the SPI Team felt it was incumbent on us to help make collaboration between public and private sector partners easier and more successful.

Take care and stay well. We will get through these sad days together, and we will be stronger for it.

Cape Cod Canal
Massachusetts - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) decided on April 3 to pursue the replacement of the Bourne and Sagamore Highway Bridges over the Cape Cod Canal for an estimated $1 billion total.

The assistant secretary of the Army for civil works approved the final project report that will allow the bridge design and funding efforts to begin after a multi-year major rehabilitation evaluation study determined replacement would be more cost effective than rehabilitation. 

Both bridges will remain as their new, wider replacements are erected alongside them with four vehicle lanes and an auxiliary lane on each side. The new bridges also will feature medians and bike and pedestrian lanes.

Once the new bridges are complete, the existing ones will be demolished.
Rendering of Soscol Junction
California - The board of directors at the Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA) approved a 30-year list of proposed projects on March 18 that could total up to $500 million if realized.

Highway improvements constitute more than $220 million of that total with several projects targeting Highway 29 congestion. An increase in frequency of transit service on all routes is estimated to cost $33 million. Over $29.2 million in local street repairs and upgrades is planned, and bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements are expected to cost $15.5 million. About $8 million would be needed for two local intersection improvements.

One of the projects is the $60 million reconfiguration of the Soscol Junction at state roads 29 and 221 from a signalized intersection to a full-diamond interchange. Two roundabout intersections on either side of SR 29 are designed to improve traffic operations to alleviate congestion between Napa Valley and toward Interstate I-80 and SR 37. Bicycle and pedestrian access is proposed to improve connectivity between existing bicycle and pedestrian access on state roads 29 and 221.

The Highway 29-Airport Junction interchange will be upgraded for $50 million, and the Highway 29-Trower Avenue intersection will be improved for $30 million. A $30 million update to SR 29 will feature new signal technology.
Construction of a new $12 million Napa Traffic Management Control Center will enable the authority to monitor highway conditions.

NVTA's project list will become a part of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Plan Bay Area 2050, which is state mandated to reduce emissions. The commission is the transportation planning, financing, and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.
Metrocenter Station rendering
Arizona - The second phase of Valley Metro's light rail Northwest Extension earned Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approval to enter the New Starts Engineering phase of the Capital Investment Grants CIG) Program.

Valley Metro plans to extend the rail line west by 1.6 miles from the existing end-of-line station in northwest Phoenix to the Metrocenter Mall to provide access to the region's light rail system in north and west Phoenix as well as Glendale and Peoria. It also will support transit-oriented land-use planning in the corridor, such as the planned redevelopment of the Metrocenter Mall site.

At the end-of-line, the Metrocenter Station will be the first elevated station in Valley Metro's light rail system. The existing Transit Center will relocate to below the elevated station. Adjacent to the transit center will be a four-story park-and-ride garage that will be accessible to the station.

The project will link Metrocenter to existing regional activity centers and major activity nodes such as the North Central Avenue office corridor, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona State University, and downtown Phoenix.

Since November 2018, design refinements and additional project contingency resulted in the estimated project cost increasing from $340.8 million to $401.33 million. The project includes the purchase of three light rail vehicles, the relocation of the existing Metrocenter transit center, and the construction of a park and ride lot with a total of 260 parking spaces.

Approval allows the project to move into the design and engineering phase. Project construction is anticipated to begin in August, and the extension is expected to open in 2024.
Rendering of Raleigh hotel and office tower
North Carolina - The city of Raleigh extended its deadline for a request for information (RFI) as it seeks project options to develop a downtown convention center hotel and an office tower.

Acknowledging the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials said they are committed to exploring project options for the development on two vacant downtown lots on 2.5 acres.

Based on RFI submittals alone, the city may elect to negotiate with one development team on the hotel or hotel-office project.

However, it is expected that the city will select a short-list of project development teams from the RFI responses to be invited to participate in a more detailed request for proposals (RFP) and interview process. Only those development teams that submit an RFI response would be eligible for consideration, should the city pursue a RFP.

The RFI deadline is 5 p.m. EST May 1.
Map of Navy project sites
Hawaii - The U.S. Navy extended its request for information (RFI) deadline to April 10 for a public-private partnership (P3) mixed-use development incorporating public rail transit near Pearl Harbor.

The RFI for the project offers two non-contiguous sites totaling 70 acres close to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickham (JBPHH) and the planned Makalapa Transit Station on Oahu.

"Little Makalapa" is a 13-acre parcel with direct access to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) rail station. A 57-acre Naval Facilities Engineering tract is adjacent to the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange shopping center.

The Navy is seeking higher-density mixed and complementary uses that will serve to draw new residents and visitors. The development also will expand the workforce for the city of Honolulu and the JBPHH area.

Through the RFI process, the Navy is looking for potential long-term partnerships to plan, design, construct and operate facilities and/or tenant-owned facilities, which could include, but are not limited to, commercial, residential, low-, mid- and high-rise, and mixed-use.

The Navy anticipates issuing a request for proposals (RFP) in August and awarding a contract in early 2021.
Washington, D.C. - Six of the 10 counties with the largest population gains this decade were in Texas - Harris, Tarrant, Bexar, Dallas, Collin, and Travis - according to the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1, 2019, population estimates released on March 26.

The statistics provide population estimates and components of change for the nation's 384 metropolitan statistical areas, 542 micropolitan statistical areas, and 3,142 counties.

Among the nation's counties, the top 10 with the largest numeric gains since 2010 are all located in the South and the West. The other four counties on the list are: Maricopa County, Arizona; King County, Washington; Clark County, Nevada; and Riverside County, California.

Texas counties also occupied the most spots of any state in the top 10 fastest growing since 2010, where Hays, Comal, Kendall, and Williamson all made the list.

Three of top 10 metro areas with the largest gains in population between 2010 and 2019 were in Texas. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington had the largest numeric growth, with its population increasing by more than 1.2 million (19 percent) to 7.57 million people as of July 1, 2019. It was followed in second by Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, increasing by 1.15 million (19.4 percent) to 7.07 million people, and eighth-place Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, up by 510,760 (29.8 percent) to 2.23 million.

Among metropolitan areas, Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler's population of 4.95 million in 2019, replaced Boston-Cambridge-Newton's as the 10th most populous for metropolitan areas in the country.

Of counties with a population of 20,000 or more in 2018 and 2019, Williams County, North Dakota, was the fastest-growing county this decade, increasing by 67.8 percent (from 22,399 to 37,589) between 2010 and 2019.

Out of 3,142 counties and county equivalents, 1,610 (51.2 percent) gained population between 2018 and 2019. Nine counties experienced no change in population during this time, while the remaining 1,523 (48.5 percent) lost population. 
Pennsylvania landslide
Pennsylvania - The state's Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced it would resume work on 61 emergency and critical highway and bridge projects on March 31.

On March 17, PennDOT paused all construction projects statewide in response to Gov. Tom Wolf's COVID-19 mitigation guidance to minimize exposure to state and private-sector employees.

The emergency work that continues addresses specific safety needs, such as landslide repairs, or critical bridge, tunnel and drainage repairs, and work needed to eliminate roadway restrictions that could impede transport of emergency personnel and life-saving equipment.

PennDOT's annual highway and bridge construction budget averages $2.2 billion.
Gov. Andy Beshear announces $5 million in state funding.
Kentucky - Barkley Regional Airport leaders are entering the design and engineering phase for a potential 24,000-square-foot terminal building at the Paducah airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will provide $20 million in funding for the estimated $36 million project that will include additional parking, a new apron, and a new rental car facility. Gov. Andy Beshear recently visited the airport to announce a $5 million state contribution.

Airport officials said the pandemic could cause the scope of the project to change, but they plan on moving forward with a timeline that scheduled breaking ground in 2021 and completing construction in 2023.

After beginning as a military surplus airport to facilitate B-17 Bomber Crew Training in 1941, the airport serviced its first commercial flight in 1946. Local officials have been working to secure funding for the new terminal for more than 10 years.
Louisiana - The state has created a new webpage to connect Louisiana businesses to valuable resources for COVID-19 economic and safety issues.

Louisiana Economic Development (LED) developed the Resources for Impacted Businesses webpage with links to coronavirus information and business assistance resources, an interactive Resources by Region map, arts and entertainment resources, and more. Links are updated as soon as any new information becomes available. Business owners also may sign up for COVID-19 business updates.

Gov. John Bel Edwards and LED Secretary Don Pierson also announced the opening of an LED help desk that provides email and hotline support for Louisiana businesses impacted by COVID-19.

For COVID-19 business questions, LED may be reached at LEDbiz@la.gov or via the toll-free hotline at 833-457-0531. The COVID-19 hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. High call volumes might result in delays. Callers are encouraged to keep trying, leave a voicemail or contact LED via email.

Louisiana businesses seeking federal financial assistance are encouraged first to contact the U.S. Small Business Administration at www.SBA.gov/Disaster to apply for COVID-19 disaster aid. The SBA Customer Service Center may be reached at 800-659-2955.
Kansas - Gov. Laura Kelly signed SB 173 on April 3 to create the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program.

The 10-year program will fund $10 billion worth of transportation projects throughout the state, including all remaining projects from the state's previous transportation program, T-WORKS. The bill mandates that all remaining T-WORKS projects will be let by July 1, 2023 and enables the fast-tracking of $300 million in large projects using a design while building method.

Highway preservation is the program's top priority. Maintenance needs will be fully funded before the state adds to its existing highway system.

The bill marks a shift from the state's previous process in which it selected a once-a-decade 10-year set list of projects. Now, the state will select new modernization and expansion projects for the plan's pipeline every two years.

Toll lanes could be added to existing highways to alleviate congestion.
Walterboro treatment plant
South Carolina - The U.S. Department of Commerce is awarding a $15.67 million grant to the city of Walterboro for the expansion and improvement of the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The water infrastructure improvements will serve existing and new businesses in the region and protect against damage from future severe weather.

Located near an Opportunity Zone matched with $3.9 million in local investment, the grant is expected to create 360 jobs and spur $70 million in private investment.

This grant is funded by the department's Economic Development Administration (EDA).
North Adams
Massachusetts - The city of North Adams' Community Development Committee is preparing an Urban Renewal Plan to recommend to City Council that could include plans to sell surplus city properties.

The city owns about 200 properties several of which are unused vacant lots and parcels zoned for commercial and residential use.

Options for sale are auction, sale to adjacent property owners, or through requests for proposals (RFPs).

In one area, eight city-owned parcels have been deemed nonconforming lots that abut residential and commercial-zoned properties. City ordinances allow for nonconforming properties to be merged with conforming tracts to gain compliance. Such an action would increase their marketability through potential RFPs.

The recommended Urban Renewal Plan is set to be presented to City Council on the next available meeting agenda. 
Keene Community Center
New York - The town board in Keene voted unanimously to award a design contract for its community center project to combine several city functions into one building.

Spurred by a $100,000 state grant, boardmembers selected a consultant to upgrade the town's aging community center to be able to host more activities and programs. A countywide needs assessment also identified a lack of space for services.

City documents outline the town's vision for the expanded community center to allow for a library expansion, visitor center, meeting space, preschool and training classrooms, employment services, and office rental space.

The consultant will be tasked with developing preliminary designs, construction cost estimates, and an operations plan.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives

Georgia - The Emory University board of trustees announced on April 7 that Gregory Fenves, president of The University of Texas at Austin, has been elected as the president of Emory University. Fenves will assume office on August 1. He will succeed Claire Sterk who will retire at the end of August.

Indiana - The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corp. (IndyGo) named Jennifer Pyrz as the new chief development officer and vice president of infrastructure, strategy, and innovation. In this role, Pyrz will lead and guide all IndyGo capital plan projects in this new decade. She previously served as planning group director for a national infrastructure design firm.

Oregon - Phoenix councilmembers authorized an agreement for Eric Swanson to return on an interim basis as city manager. He will succeed Aaron Prunty who accepted a position as city administrator for Eagle Point. Swanson previously served as city manager for Phoenix and Medford.

Virginia - The Orange County board of supervisors hired Theodore "Ted" Voorhees as county administrator. Previously, Voorhees served as Powhatan County administrator. Prior to his service in Powhatan County, he was the city manager for Fayetteville, North Carolina, and deputy city manager of operations for Durham, North Carolina.

Maine - Hancock County Commissioners Court selected Leroy Muise as the new manager of the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport. He succeeds Brad Madeira who resigned in February. Muise previously worked with an air services company at the airport.

Ohio - City of Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced Michael Stevens as the city's permanent director of the Department of Development on April 8. Stevens has been serving as the interim director since September 2019. He previously served as chief innovation officer and deputy director of the department.
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