Volume 12, Issue 27 - Wednesday, July 1, 2020
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

COVID-19 continues to take its toll on America. Students of all ages will soon begin fall classes, and school officials are scrambling to ensure safety.

Education leaders appear to be in total agreement about how to deliver instruction. Students will be taught through both online and in-person classes. And, as preparations are made to implement every possible safety precaution, educational leaders will struggle to prioritize spending. Some schools will have huge funding issues while others will have more flexibility.

Community colleges have experienced massive support throughout the country over the past decade. Millions of students benefit from being able to take courses while managing jobs, families, and other responsibilities. High schools have partnered with community colleges to help young students participate in college courses before graduation. There is total consensus that community colleges contribute greatly in preparing individuals for jobs as well as careers that lead to course work at other institutions of higher education.

COVID-19, however, has definitely impacted community colleges. And, it is puzzling and sad to see that some community colleges have extremely dire financial issues while others are announcing new construction, expansions, and impressive collaborative initiatives with private-sector partners.

Community colleges in Wyoming have been forced to cut millions from their budgets. On June 27, the Northern Wyoming Community College District, as a result of budget cuts, announced major reductions to athletic programs. In a similar action, officials at both Gillette College and Sheridan College announced cuts that also include the elimination of sports programs. Such decisions are as painful for school officials and sports enthusiasts as they are for students.

Community college leaders in Michigan also are cutting budgets. Officials at Lansing Community College recently announced furloughs for employees, elimination of fall athletics, and suspension of the college's radio and television division. These cuts were made to address a $10 million budget deficit.

But, many other community colleges are expanding and have recently announced numerous types of capital improvement projects. These efforts provide encouragement for the future of education in our country.

The Pennsylvania Board of Education, in June, voted to approve a new community college in Erie County. Preparations will include naming board members, selecting a president and a campus site, and securing funding for construction projects. The county plans to use its share of casino gaming revenue for the community college and also contributed revenue from the Erie Community Foundation. Additional funding could come from the General Assembly of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. There is excitement from all sources about the new school.

Miami International Airport
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced on June 30 that it will award almost $800 million in 383 airport safety and infrastructure grants to 46 states through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

More than $689 million will come from USDOT's Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and $104.4 million will come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

These grants will be used for a variety of critical infrastructure and safety projects. Several of the projects include purchasing aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment, constructing runways and taxiways, repairing runways and taxiways, installing aircraft lighting and signage, conducting airport master plan studies, and installing airport perimeter fencing.
Some of the airports that will receive grants are:
  • Miami International Airport in Florida - $41.26 million to rehabilitate an apron;
  • Gustavus Airport in Alaska - $23.84 million to construct a taxiway and rehabilitate an apron, runway, and taxiway;
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain in Minnesota - $22.51 million to reconstruct access road, runway lighting, service road, and taxiway, and enhance security;
  • Nantucket Memorial Airport in Massachusetts - $19.78 million to reconstruct a taxiway;
  • Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina - $17.42 million to expand an apron;
  • McCarran International Airport in Nevada - $17.26 million to expand and reconstruct aprons;
  • Mahlon Sweet Field in Oregon - $16.08 million to reconstruct a taxiway;
  • Palo Alto Airport in California - $13.64 million to reconstruct an apron;
  • Idaho Fallas Regional Airport in Idaho - $12.18 million to modify a terminal building; and,
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York - $11.45 million to reconstruct an apron, rehabilitate a taxiway, and shift or reconfigure an existing taxiway.
A complete list of grants and an interactive map of airports receiving funding is available on the FAA website.
Blair High School in Pasadena USD
California - The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) on June 25 approved calling a $516.3 million school construction bond election for November 2020.

Various projects would repair and upgrade existing high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, many of which are more than 50 years old.

If the bond election passes, the district intends to:
  • Remove hazardous materials from older schools;
  • Improve student access to instruction in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math;
  • Retain and attract quality teachers;
  • Upgrade schools to prepare students for high school, college, and careers;
  • Repair leaky roofs, improve student safety with updated smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinklers, and provide safe drinking water; and,
  • Adhere to specific fiscal accountability safeguards.
District staff suspended work on a facilities needs assessment in March, but the district's chief business officer said they have resumed their efforts and should complete the assessment in August. The facilities needs assessment could contribute to the development of an updated facilities master plan in September, which would be used to build a detailed project list.

Officials may form an independent campaign committee in early August and implement a campaign plan in September or October.

The district also will put a $60 million education technology proposition to voters on the November ballot. It has until August 6 to finalize ballot language.
Gov. Larry Hogan, courtesy of BW Productions
Six governors explored public-private partnerships (P3) and other private opportunities to finance and maintain vital infrastructure during the National Governor's Association (NGA) virtual summit last week.

Govs. Doug Ducey of Arizona, Steve Bullock of Montana, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, Mark Gordon of Wyoming, and Ralph Northam of Virginia joined NGA chair and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan during the summit for his NGA Chair's Initiative, Infrastructure: Foundation for Success.

Ducey headed a panel in which he touted successful P3s in Arizona such as the South Mountain Freeway project, which was completed three years early and $100 million under budget. 

Northam pointed to several P3s in Virginia that contributed to improvements on interstates 66, 95, and 395 and rail projects including the American Legion Bridge.

Bullock and Gordon said government and the private sector need to look beyond traditional projects and methods and use a multi-state effort. Quite often, P3s are thought of only for road projects.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has reshaped state budget outlooks and project pipelines, underscoring the role of infrastructure investment in accelerating the nation's economic recovery.

Governors from both parties are pushing for large-scale federal financing of traditional infrastructure systems that include not only roads, bridges, transit, and aviation, but also energy, water, broadband, and cybersecurity.

Infrastructure stabilization and investment will improve the country's long-term economic outlook and support recovery from a pandemic recession by putting people back to work.
Alaska mining country
Alaska - A state corporation approved a $1 million survey plan for the Ambler Access Project, a $350 million two-lane mining access road that it is planning with the Alaska Department of Transportation.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) will sell bonds to pay for the 211-mile road that starts near the cities of Ambler and Kobuk and ends near the city of Bettles. The authority plans to charge tolls to mining companies using the road to recover construction costs.

A mining company that plans to dig mines in the road area will pay for half of the survey cost.

Under the agreement, the parties also will share costs in procuring an external program manager in 2020, in addition to performing aerial photography imagery and collecting Light Detection and Ranging Radar (LIDAR).
Twin Ports Interchange
Minnesota - Preliminary work to replace the 27th Avenue West bridge over Interstate 35 in Duluth is beginning ahead of the $343 million project to rebuild the Twin Ports Interchange where I-35 meets U.S. Highway 53 and Interstate 535.

The overall project goal is to lower I-35 to ground level and replace aging bridges at the interchange formerly known as the "can of worms." Once completed, the project will eliminate blind merges and left exits and better accommodate freight movements through the interchanges next to the Clure Public Terminal.

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) officials said they plan to open the solicitation for Twin Ports Interchange bids, including the 27th Avenue West bridge replacement, on September 11.

Construction is scheduled to start in November to replace the 27th Avenue West bridge with removal set for December and project completion expected by June 2021.

Work on the I-35 crossovers is planned to start on October 12 and end October 31. Other projects scheduled for fall and winter of 2020 are railroad work, demolition of the Autobahn Building, and construction of the bridge foundation.

Project completion is anticipated in 2023.
Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust pipeline
Oklahoma - The state's water resources board awarded $129 million to the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust for water and wastewater system improvements on June 16.

The trust requested $74 million from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to replace a balancing tank along the Atoka pipeline and install emergency generators at several booster stations in the city.

To upgrade the Atoka pipeline and pumping system that is more than 50 years old, the trust plans to expand the system by 36 million gallons per day (MGD) to 111 MGD at an estimated cost of $560 million.

Improvements planned for 2021 include construction of a 66-inch pipeline parallel to the existing pipeline as well as the addition of a lake intake and pump station at Atoka Reservoir. Two new pump stations with storage balancing tanks would be built at the trust's Stonewall and Konawa facilities. It also would modify the existing Draper outfall to accept a new line.

The water board also approved the trust for $55 million from the board's Financial Assistance Program to refinance two bond series related to several water and sewer projects throughout Oklahoma City's system.
Illinois - Gov. JB Pritzker announced $50 million in Connect Illinois grants to 28 broadband projects that build or increase fiber infrastructure to support broadband access throughout the state.

The $50 million in state grants will be matched by $65 million in non-state funding for a total of $115 million, with plans to expand access for more than 26,000 homes, businesses, farms, and community organizations across Illinois.

With the first round of grants, 18 internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits, and local governments were granted a total of $50 million to invest in growing broadband capacity across the state. 

Round one leverages over $65 million in non-state match for a total of more than $115 million to support fiber infrastructure investments made over the next 12 to 18 months.

Grant applications were reviewed and evaluated on a competitive basis, with proposals evaluated in seven categories: broadband impact; matching funds; community support; project readiness; project sustainability; broadband adoption assistance; and shared use-open access.

Applicants were eligible for up to $5 million per project, and they were required to provide a non-state funding match of at least 50 percent, more than doubling the first-round impact of the nation's largest state broadband matching grant program.

The state is planning to issue another round of Connect Illinois grants later this year.
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
Hawaii - State legislators approved $90 million for new health and safety systems at several of Hawaii's airports. The bill, which passed both houses on June 26, will fund improvements designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

New technology will be added to Daniel K. Inouye International, Kahului, Ellison Onizuka Kona International, Hilo International, and Lihue airports with $18.5 million allocated to thermal screening cameras, facial imaging, and control rooms.

Lawmakers appropriated $17.5 million to fund 10 years of maintenance of the new systems, $5 million for verification rooms, and $4 million for an app that includes health forms and passenger verification information.

More than $23 million will go toward installation of the new systems, $17 million to service contracts, and $5 million to construction of passenger testing rooms at the airports.
Crestwood Plaza redevelopment concept plan
Missouri - The city of Crestwood is attempting to reinvigorate the site of a former mall after a developer pulled out of negotiations to redevelop the Crestwood Plaza.

City leaders discussed a high-density mixed-use concept with the previous developer. After negotiations collapsed, the city issued a request for proposals (RFP) for redevelopment of 48 acres on the site of the former mall. 

The RFP seeks bids from one or more development firms that are able to provide new and viable commercial, retail, entertainment, office, residential, and/or service activities developed within a reasonable time by one or more developers. 

RFP submissions are due by 4 p.m. August 18.
Iowa State University
Iowa - Inspired by the University of Iowa's closing on a public-private partnership (P3) agreement in March to operate the university's utilities, officials at Iowa State University are considering a P3 as well.

As it pursues its goal to become a coal-free campus and plans to replace two 32-year-old coal-fired boilers with natural gas-fired boilers, Iowa State is exploring P3s for utilities operations.

The $12 million to $14 million boiler replacement project will run parallel to Iowa State's P3 research. University officials identified innovation and efficiencies as goals of a possible P3 agreement.
Norwood Water Treatment Plant
Florida - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award $44 million to the city of North Miami Beach to help finance the expansion and rehabilitation of its Norwood Water Treatment Plant.

EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) funding will cover almost half of the $90 million project that will improve water supply reliability, upgrade treatment and distribution systems, and reduce the frequency of pressure drops in the water distribution system and main breaks.

These improvements will allow the city to meet current and projected 2030 average daily demand and maximum daily demand.

The EPA has issued 24 WIFIA loans totaling $5.3 billion in credit assistance to help finance $11.7 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating 25,000 jobs.
Georgia - The state's Department of Transportation (GDOT) approved the location and design of the proposed Western Parallel Connector in Henry County earlier this month.

The 3.3-mile roadway will consist of four lanes separated by an 18-foot raised median in unincorporated Henry County and the city of Stockbridge along the west side of Interstate 75 from SR 920/Jonesboro Road to Hudson Bridge Road.

It will begin at the intersection of Jonesboro and Mt. Olive roads and proceed north to the existing intersection of Hudson Bridge Road.

Right-of-way acquisition is estimated at $6.57 million and is scheduled to start in 2020. Planners estimated construction costs at more than $43.97 million with work beginning in 2023.
Rendering of Danbury downtown concept
Connecticut - The city of Danbury is seeking a professional planning consulting firm to prepare an update of its 2023 Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD).

In their request for proposals (RFP), city officials said Danbury is analyzing how to best manage its population growth with infrastructure, protect natural resources, make use of green building practices, expand affordable housing opportunities, define a transit future, assess new infill development opportunities, and promote the revitalization of its historic downtown.

The scope of services for the POCD Update includes preparation of all planning documents, studies, maps, and other relevant material; attendance at meetings with the POCD Oversight Committee, facilitation of discussion at these meetings, and review of work products and findings during the POCD plan process; and creation and management of the public engagement process.

Consultants also would present the POCD Update document and findings to the city's Planning Commission and possibly to the Danbury City Council, after which they would incorporate feedback and revisions into the final document.

RFP submissions are due by 2 p.m. July 14.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives

Nevada - The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority named Daren Griffin as chief executive officer of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and Reno-Stead Airport on June 17. He will take over for Marily Mora who is retiring. Griffin most recently served as director of Portland International Airport's PDXNext Program at the Port of Portland. He previously served as the port's interim director of business properties, the director of operations, and the general aviation manager.

Wisconsin - The state of Wisconsin appointed Trina Zanow as its new chief information officer. She replaces David Cagigal who resigned, effective June 19. Zanow previously served as director of the Wisconsin Bureau of Infrastructure Support. She also worked at the state's Housing and Economic Development Authority and Department of Health Services.

Maryland - The city of Annapolis selected Michael Johnson as its new director of public works, effective July 13. He takes over for David Jarrell who became city manager of Annapolis in February. Johnson previously served as director of public works and city engineer for the city of Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Arizona - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appointed Dr. Alyshia Smith as executive director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System on June 21. Smith had been serving as interim director. She joined the system as associate director for patient care services and nurse executive.

Washington - The Port of Seattle named Barb Wilson as chief of staff for the Port of Seattle Commission on June 23. Wilson most recently served as director of government affairs for an investment and project management firm. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Seattle Planning Commission.

Florida - The Cape Canaveral City Council appointed Todd Morley as city manager, pending an employment agreement presented to the council on July 21. Morley has been serving as interim city manager of Cape Canaveral where he previously served as its economic development director.
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