Volume 12, Issue 24 - Wednesday, June 10, 2020
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

To no one's surprise, COVID-19 has pushed the country into a designated recession. While keeping a careful watch on public health and safety, government officials and economic leaders are now fervently seeking ways to boost America's economy and to support job creation.

The path out of this recession, according to many fiscal policy experts, is clear. It is through improvements to infrastructure - transportation, water, power, technology, airports and social infrastructure (vertical construction). Addressing those critical needs will stimulate the economy and create jobs immediately. Regional leaders throughout America know how to prioritize critical infrastructure needs - they just need encouragement and funding.

Unfortunately, when it comes to infrastructure, America is more than 30 years behind numerous other countries. Many argue that we are behind because of a lack of revenue, but that's simply not the case. Funding for critical infrastructure projects is available from dozens of sources. The lacking component is leadership, and that is required from many sources.

Florida - A $4.58 billion storm protection plan is being developed to protect the Miami area from projected storm surges and hurricanes exacerbated by sea level rise.

Based on a risk management feasibility study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recently released a tentative plan to implement structural and nonstructural measures to manage coastal storm risk in Miami-Dade County.

The plan calls for erecting 10.5-foot to 36-foot tall floodwalls, building gates across the Little River and Biscayne Canal that connect to the floodwalls, elevating structures, and restoring mangroves.

USACE also developed a draft integrated feasibility report and programmatic environmental impact statement.

Congressional approval and funding for the preconstruction engineering and design phase is anticipated in 2022 or 2023 at the earliest. The county and Corps will share project costs with the county responsible for 35 percent.
Interstate 80-380 interchange
Iowa - The state's Transportation Commission approved the 2021-2025 Iowa Transportation Improvement Program on June 9 to shape the future of aviation, public transit, railroads, trails, and highways in Iowa.

The program forecasts $3.6 billion will be available for highway right of way and construction. Of that total, more than $2.0 billion is scheduled for the modernization of Iowa's existing highway system and for enhanced highway safety features.

Significant interstate investments include six-lane improvements on Interstate 35 in Polk and Story counties, an Interstate 74 Mississippi River Bridge replacement in Bettendorf, and reconstruction of the interstates 80 and 380 interchange near Iowa City.

Other improvements include upgrading Interstate 80's six lanes in Dallas and Johnson counties, an I-80 Mississippi River Bridge replacement in Scott County, I-380/Tower Terrace interchange construction in Hiawatha, and the interstate system reconstruction in Council Bluffs.

The state retained some important non-interstate projects including Iowa 9 Mississippi River Bridge replacement in Lansing, U.S. 30 in Harrison, Story, Tama, and Benton counties, U.S. 52 in Dubuque County, and U.S. 61 in Des Moines and Louisa counties, U.S. 63 Oskaloosa Bypass in Mahaska County, and U.S. 218 in Bremer County.

Despite limited funding availability, the commission was able to add several significant projects that address safety and operational needs, including reconstruction of Iowa 2 in Fremont County from the Missouri River overflow bridges to Horse Creek bridges. Other projects added are Super-2 improvements on U.S. 18 in Hancock County and U.S. 30 in Cedar County.
Lake Powell
Utah - The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently issued a draft environmental impact statement that reports the Lake Powell Pipeline project is the only alternative that will meet the water needs of Washington County by 2060.

The proposed pipeline will transport water from Lake Powell through an approximately 140-mile buried pipeline to Washington County. Five pump stations will move the water through the pipeline. Six hydroelectric facilities will generate part of the energy needed to operate the pump stations.

At full capacity, the project will deliver up to 82,249 acre feet of water per year to cities and towns including St. George, Washington, Hurricane, Santa Clara, Ivins, La Verkin, Toquerville, Leeds, Virgin, and Apple Valley.

Based on preliminary design and engineering, the pipeline is estimated to cost between $1 billion and $1.7 billion. An updated cost estimate will be prepared when environmental studies are complete and alignment and design are determined.
Ohio - The final report of the "Midwest Connect" hyperloop feasibility study determined a hyperloop connecting Columbus to Chicago and Pittsburgh could generate more than $19 billion in transportation benefits over 30 years.

The study by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) found that hyperloop technology is feasible along the corridor connecting Columbus with Chicago and Pittsburgh. It also would produce $300 billion in economic gains in the 30-year period.

Hyperloop technology would require a straight alignment connecting to potential stations in the Ohio cities of Lima, Marysville, Dublin, and Columbus.
Passenger rail service does not exist in the Fort Wayne, Lima, Columbus, and Pittsburgh market. Columbus is the second-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without passenger rail service.

In addition to its study, the planning commission is seeking a collaboration with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which is conducting a rapid speed transportation feasibility study between Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and New York that includes hyperloop technology.

MORPC, JobsOhio, One Columbus, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Transportation Research Center also submitted a proposal to a hyperloop technology firm to be selected as the site of its hyperloop technology certification center.
American Legion Bridge traffic
Maryland - The long-awaited replacement of the American Legion Bridge that connects Maryland and Virginia is gaining momentum. Estimated at $1 billion to construct, the widened bridge will feature four express toll lanes and eight open lanes.

Maryland transportation officials anticipate selecting a shortlist of candidates in July to advance to the next procurement round. Proposals would be due in early 2021 with selection of a finalist expected in mid-2021.

Both states are funding the project. Construction could start in 2022 with completion in 60 to 72 months.

The bridge replacement is part of a larger public-private partnership (P3) project in which Maryland is seeking a firm to design, build, finance, and operate toll lanes on sections of the Interstate 270 and Capital Beltway corridor.

Four firms have submitted proposals for the project that is estimated to cost $9 billion to $11 billion.
Vandalia Water Treatment Plant
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $281 million in 106 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities throughout the country.

USDA is funding projects in 36 states and Puerto Rico through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.

In Illinois, the city of Vandalia will receive $18.1 million in federal assistance to build a water treatment plant, upgrade water intakes and pumps, and install 10,000 feet of water line.

More than $14.65 million will go to the town of Eaton, Indiana, to bring its 70-year-old water utility into compliance with state regulations and effluent quality of water by removing cement and asbestos from a water distribution pipe and using current material.

Henderson Nina Water System Inc. will use $8.51 million in funding to modernize its water system by drilling a well, expanding water lines, adding filters and a softener water system, and replacing obsolete infrastructure.

The city of North English, Iowa will receive $7.65 million in federal assistance to make improvements to its wastewater system including the construction of a 3-cell aerated lagoon to replace a treatment plant. The city also will complete ultra violet disinfection and lining of the collection system, replacement of a lift station, and replacement of deteriorating service lines.

Eligible applicants included rural cities, towns, and water districts. The funds may be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage, and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits.
California - The Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority is seeking recognition as a new agency from the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) and the addition of its Valley Link plan to the Measure BB Transportation Expenditure Plan.

It also is asking the ACTC to remove the $400 million Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to Livermore project from its plan to free up the $400 million the authority needs to fund the Valley Link project.

Phase 1 of the project would establish rail service from the Dublin-Pleasanton BART Station to the proposed North Lathrop-ACE Station. The second phase would extend rail service from the North Lathrop-ACE Station to the Stockton ACE-San Joaquin stations.

The authority's goal is for operations on the new line to begin by 2027 to improve rail connectivity between BART's system and the Altamont Corridor Express commuter service in the Tri-Valley.
West Seattle High-Rise Bridge
Washington - The city of Seattle issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the design of a potential replacement for the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge for an estimated $50 million to $150 million.

After cracks started to accelerate in March, the city closed the bridge. 

Since that time, Seattle's transportation department has continued to inspect and monitor the structure and hired a design and construction team to stabilize the bridge and reduce the risk of failure.

Next steps are to investigate a repair to the bridge for opening to traffic and to develop a replacement design. The city will add details to the schedule during 2020 as scope direction is confirmed and to expedite the design and construction.
The city also is considering other non-bridge options such as an immersed tunnel or a gondola.
Washington, D.C. - President Trump issued an executive order on June 4 requiring the secretaries of the Army and transportation to furnish a list of expedited infrastructure projects and civil works projects within 30 days.

He authorized the secretaries to use all emergency powers within their authority and cited infrastructure improvements as a means to achieve economy recovery for the nation.

Within 30 days following the submission of the initial summary report the secretaries must provide a status report on all expedited transportation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the assistant to the president for economic policy, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

He also directed the secretaries of defense, interior, and agriculture to expedite delivery of infrastructure and other projects on federal lands and deliver a summary report listing all projects within 30 days of the executive order.
Proposed 85th Street-Interstate 29 interchange
South Dakota - Work has begun on road improvements to connect the fast-growing areas of Sioux Falls and Tea in advance of construction on an estimated $20 million diverging diamond interchange at 85th Street and Interstate 29.

Private developers also funded a $4 million Interchange Justification Report that convinced the Federal Highway Administration to approve the project for environmental assessments. The city of Sioux Falls has contributed to the 85th Street and I29 Overpass Environmental Assessment and the preliminary design of 85th Street from Louise to Tallgrass.

Final design planning and right of way acquisition is scheduled for late summer 2020 to 2021, and construction is set to begin in 2021.
Dreiser Hall
Indiana - University officials are seeking a contractor to renovate the 70-year-old Dreiser Hall on the Indiana State University campus.

Indiana's State Budget Committee approved $18.4 million for the project at the end of 2019.

The full building renovation entails an exterior restoration of the existing masonry building envelope, installation of a new roof, and construction of a new entry addition at the northwest corner of the building.

Other upgrades include a reconfigured performance theater, reimagined public corridors and lounge spaces, new faculty offices, new classroom and lab spaces, and new theater technical spaces.

Work will include window and door replacements, a new interior aesthetic, and new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Campus administrators said the renovations are necessary to improve accessibility to those with disabilities. Competitive sealed proposals are due between 1:30 and 2 p.m. local time on July 1.
Lake Ouachita
Arkansas - The city of Hot Springs issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the construction of a lake tap into Lake Ouachita through Blakely Mountain. The project budget is $19 million.

The lake tap will include about 2,500 feet of intake piping at a minimum diameter of 42 inches through the mountain to achieve gravity flow to carry water via a 17-mile transmission pipeline to a new water treatment plant. The new project must be able to supply raw water to the new treatment plant by August 2022.

Hot Springs will review and evaluate the statements of qualifications and generate a short list of up to three respondents. The city will then issue a request for proposals (RFP) to the short list and then select a finalist for the award of a fixed-price-design-build contract.

Deadline for RFQ submissions is 4:30 p.m. July 10.
Louisiana - The Port of New Orleans is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on a plan to deepen the port by 50 feet.

Costs are projected at more than $9 million for the first of two phases to dredge about 2.5 miles of the port's Uptown wharves along the Mississippi River. 

Only ships with drafts of 35 feet or less are able to access the port's wharves on Nashville, Napoleon, and Louisiana avenuesas well as the Milan Street wharf. 

A feasibility study found that the majority of the work could be performed in the initial phase, which must obtain congressional approval before it may begin. Mid-2022 is the anticipated start date.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives

Florida - Ocala councilmembers named Sandra Wilson as city manager. She will succeed John Zobler who retired in December 2019. Wilson has been serving as Ocala's interim city manager. Prior to that role, she was the city's deputy city manager, assistant city manager for support services, and director of human resources and risk management.

Ohio - The Ohio State University board of trustees appointed Kristina Johnson as the university's president. She will succeed Michael Drake who announced his retirement in November 2019. Johnson previously served as chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY). Prior to that, she founded and served as chief executive officer of several science and technology companies and served as undersecretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Colorado - The Regional Transportation District named Melanie Snyder as the transit agency's next general counsel. She succeeds acting general counsel Jenifer Ross-Amato and Rolf Asphaug who retired in February. Snyder previously served as chief deputy attorney general and chief of staff in the Colorado Attorney General's Office and practiced commercial litigation.

Washington, D.C. - The Federal Regulatory Commission selected Mittal Desai as its chief information officer. Desai previously served as senior adviser and risk analyst in the commission's Office of the Executive Director. Prior to that, he was deputy chief information security officer at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

North Dakota - The Bis-Man Transit board of directors appointed Deidre Hughes as the agency's new executive director, effective July 1. Hughes most recently served as the marketing and administrative manager for the transit authority.

Maryland - Gov. Larry Hogan appointed William Doyle as the new executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, effective July 22. Doyle is a former U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioner. He most recently served as the chief executive officer and executive director of a national dredging contractor association. 
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