Volume 12, Issue 29 - Wednesday, July 15, 2020
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
As the country battles to recover from COVID-19, transit leaders are calling for the next federal relief package to appropriate substantial funding to allow public transit to play its critical part in the economy’s recovery.

In the interim, many of these transit and mobility authorities throughout the nation are moving forward with capital improvement projects already in the pipeline and in various phases of development. They will soon be announcing large projects, especially in quickly growing regions, and their planning documents list upcoming initiatives that range from mid-size construction projects to sprawling billion-dollar programs that focus on aging infrastructure.

The following are just a few examples of upcoming projects from tollway and mobility authorities.

Just east of San Francisco, the Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority in late June approved $46.8 million in funding for the next stage in Valley Link, a 42-mile light-rail line. This project will connect a planned train station in North Lathrop to an existing station in Pleasanton. Another $13 million previously dedicated to the project paid for conceptual design work that is near completion.

Also, elsewhere in the state, the Transportation Corridor Agencies, in coordination with Caltrans, is proposing a $180 million project to add a direct 241/91 Express Connector linking the northbound 241 Toll Road to the eastbound 91 Express Lanes and the westbound 91 Express Lanes to the southbound 241 Toll Road. The connector will alleviate traffic and improve access to toll lanes in Orange and Riverside counties.

Rail authority progressing on $80B San Francisco-San Jose project
California – The California High Speed Rail Authority released a draft environmental impact report-statement for the proposed $80 billion high-speed rail section from San Francisco to San Jose.

The approximately 49-mile project section will provide service between the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco and the San Jose Diridon Station along the Caltrain Corridor primarily on a shared, two-track configuration. 

Initially, high-speed trains would stop at the interim 4th and King Street Station in San Francisco, and once the Transbay Joint Powers Authority completes its Downtown Extension Project, high-speed trains would reach the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco. 

With the release of the draft environmental impact report-statement, the authority remains on schedule to complete environmental clearance for the full Phase 1 system by the federally mandated 2022 deadline.
Portland Metro council to consider $7B bond package
Oregon – Portland Metro Council is set to review a $7 billion Get Moving 2020 transportation package in July for the November 2020 ballot.

Recent community meetings produced recommendations for $1 billion in regionwide programs that focus on safety, transit, and community stability.

If the Council accepts the recommendations, Metro would commit $975 million to the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project from Portland to Tualatin, $700 million toward a safer and more reliable TV Highway, and $540 million to safety, reliability, and airport access on 82nd.

More proposed projects for the November election are $370 million to improving safety and reliability for travel options from Beaverton to Gresham, $240 million for improving safety and planning for the future on Sunrise-212, and $190 million to reduce gridlock on SW 185th.

Get Moving 2020 includes $150 million to improve access and ease congestion on C2C-181st, $110 million for safety and reliability upgrades on Powell Boulevard, $110 million for safer, more reliable travel options on 162nd, $100 million for safer, more reliable travel options on 122nd Avenue, $70 million for safety improvements and future planning for Highway 43, and $65 million to create walkable streets in Albina.

Metro also is considering $20 million for future planning for Highway 217, $5 million for future planning of Pacific Highway 99W, and planning for future needs on Highway 26.
Wisconsin resumes $1B Interstate 94 rebuilding plan
Wisconsin – Gov. Tony Evers announced on July 8 that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will seek federal approval to resume rebuilding a 3.5-mile east-west corridor of Interstate 94 for an estimated $1 billion.

WisDOT will reassess alternatives to confirm the preferred option for the segment from 70th Street to 16th Street in Milwaukee County that would increase safety, improve travel times, and preserve local historic grave sites, while maintaining the current number of interchanges.

The secretary of state for WisDOT said it would take 12 to 18 months to conduct traffic and environmental analysis and collect public comments. Once complete, the state will seek Federal Highway Administration approval to proceed with design and construction phases.

In 2017, the state’s governor terminated the project when cost estimates approached $1 billion to widen the I-94 section from four to eight lanes.
Board explores options for $1B Chehalis River flood mitigation
Washington – After more than 10 years of study, the Chehalis Basin Board is set to make recommendations by the end of 2020 for a proposed flood mitigation strategy that would build a flood retention facility and temporary reservoir on the Chehalis River near Pe Ell.

The estimated $600 million to $1 billion structure and reservoir would only be used during major or larger storm events, by temporarily holding back floodwater until it is safe to release it back into the river. Under normal conditions or in smaller floods, the river would flow through the facility.

Devastating floods of 2007 and 2009 prompted the Chehalis River Basin Flood Control Zone District to develop the strategy that also calls for airport levee improvements to protect the Chehalis-Centralia Airport area from catastrophic flood damage.

If the flood retention facility is approved, construction could begin as early as 2025 and take seven years to complete.
Virginia authority awards $539M to 21 transportation projects
Virginia – Twenty-one multimodal transportation projects in Virginia will receive more than $539 million in funding after the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) adopted its  FY 2020-2025 Six Year Program  on July 9.

The $372 million Richmond Highway widening project tops the list of projects receiving funding with $120.39 million approved by the NVTA. A 3.1-mile section of the highway will be widened from four to six lanes from Route 235 North to Route 235 South. 

Three bridge replacements, safety and intersection improvements, potential noise walls, utility relocations, and stormwater management will be included in the design-build project.
Planners anticipate beginning right of way acquisition in fall 2020. Construction could begin as early as 2025 and is expected to take three to four years to complete. 

NVTA awarded $78 million to the town of Dumfries to widen and relocate Route 1 from Brady’s Hill Road to Dumfries Road. This adds to the $48 million NVTA previously contributed toward the $126 million project that will create northbound and southbound travel lanes on Route 1 and allow the town to reclaim Main Street as a local thoroughfare. 

The city of Alexandria’s $115 million Duke Street Transitway is set to receive $75 million in NVTA funding to convert existing curb lanes along Duke Street into dedicated transit lanes for bus rapid transit between Diagonal Road and Walker Street. 

This funding will be used to help construct the first phase of improvements identified in the planning and public input phases of the project. The city will start a public participation process to identify the community’s desired transit, street design, and safety improvements for the Duke Street Corridor beginning in late 2020. 

Fairfax County will receive $37.4 million from the NVTA to widen Fairfax County Parkway from four to six lanes from Lee Highway to Nomes Court. Total project cost is estimated at $290 million and includes construction of an interchange at Popes Head Road. Right of way acquisition is expected to begin in late 2021 with construction starting in 2023. 

Nearly $23 million in NVTA funding will go toward the Virgina Department of Rail and Public Transportation for its $334.22 million Franconia-Springfield Passenger Rail Bypass. The department plans to build a dedicated passenger rail bridge that removes up to 26 conflicts per day between passenger and freight trains crossing tracks as they enter or exit the Long Bridge Corridor between Alexandria and Washington, D.C. The bridge is 0.9 miles long with a maximum height of 36.6 feet, and will include one new track with capacity for a second track in the future. Existing tracks in the area will also be shifted. 

The fully funded projects will receive sufficient funds to advance to construction, while the partially funded projects will advance to the early phases of project development, but not necessarily completion.  Forty-one projects submitted $1.44 billion in requests. 
Farm, natatorium highlight Bloomfield $200M school bond
Michigan – Bloomfield Hills Schools will put a $200.16 million bond before voters on August 4 that would fund several renovations and retrofits at multiple campuses.

If approved, the district would transition its Franklin Road Maintenance Building into a stand-alone STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) career exploration facility and build a new natatorium at Bloomfield Hills Middle School North that would be open for community recreational swimming hours.

The district also would upgrade Bowers School Farm to create a public park space, and it would convert the former Lahser High School campus into a middle school. Bloomfield Hills Middle School also would undergo renovations.
Eastover Elementary School would become a new preschool site, and the district’s second preschool would receive an addition and renovations.

Students from Eastover Elementary would move into the current East Hills Middle School site, and Lone Pine students would move into the current West Hills Middle School site. Conant and Way elementary schools each would receive an addition and renovations.
U.S. senators call for $32B to aid public transit agencies
Washington, D.C. - A group of 24 U.S. senators urged Senate leadership to provide $32 billion in emergency supplemental funding for public transit agencies in the next COVID-19 stimulus package.

In a letter to the Senate’s majority and minority leaders, the senators pointed to the need to maintain service for essential workers despite a drop in revenues.

The request for additional funding mirrors the one in May by several transit agencies, including NJ Transit in New Jersey, Metropolitan Transportation Agency in New York, and agencies in San Francisco and Atlanta.

Many transit agencies are likely to exhaust the $25 billion in funding they received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) by the end of 2020, according to the letter.

They have been using the federal funds to help them recover, implement new health and safety measures, and resume full service.
Oregon county considering P3 for $189M courthouse replacement
Oregon – Clackamas County entered the first phase of its courthouse replacement project on July 9 by exploring a potential public-private partnership (P3) method.

The county plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a technical advisory team to develop design and construction documents, followed by an expression of interest to alert developers to the potential project.

Built in 1936, the Clackamas County Courthouse was built for a county population of 50,000. Now, the facility serves a population of 420,000.

County officials are planning a 215,000-square-foot-courthouse that houses 16 courtrooms, 20 judicial chambers, space for the District Attorney’s Office, public and staff screening areas, administrative space, and jury assembly areas.

Other features include loading and staging spaces, enhanced prisoner transfer facilities, grand jury space, and holding cells for violent offenders.

The next steps in the process are to finish assessing cross laminated timber design concepts and finalize a funding plan. The state will contribute $94.5 million to the estimated $189 million project.

After the county selects a funding plan and a project affordability target, it will begin design and pre-construction, which are expected to take 18 months. Construction is scheduled to take 30 months with a staff and equipment relocation and opening targeted for 2024.
Maine voters pass $120M in transportation, broadband bonds
Maine – Voters approved two state bond measures totaling $120 million to boost broadband and transportation spending in Maine.

Projects to improve access to high-speed internet in underserved and unserved areas will get $15 million after the passage of Question No. 1 on the ballot. Because the referendum passed, the state will receive $30 million in matching funds.

Road and bridge construction projects will receive $90 million, and port, rail, aviation, marine, and active transportation projects will get $15 million.
New Ohio collaboration promotes P3s to enhance regional mobility
Ohio – The city of Columbus, Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission combined to launch the LinkUS initiative to foster public-private partnerships (P3s) that improve mobility in the region.

LinkUS will address traffic congestion, provide new mobility options, expand access to resources, and promote equity and economic vitality along critical regional corridors.

The new collaboration plans to implement high-capacity and advanced rapid transit, technology solutions, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and land use changes to achieve these goals.

The partners have identified several initiatives to support including transforming the Northwest Corridor into a regional transit connection. The corridor links major institutional and employment centers including The Ohio State University, the Ohio Health hospital campus, Grandview Yard, Downtown, and the Arena District. Public input sessions are planned for summer and fall 2020.

LinkUS also is creating a signature East-West mobility corridor within the region, featuring high capacity transit and connecting to other multimodal options. It will first identify a locally preferred alternative with a design and alignment study.

Future initiatives will focus on north, northeast, southeast, and Airport-Easton corridors.
Key Biscayne calls $100M bond election to battle sea-level rise
Florida – Key Biscayne councilmembers took steps to address sea-level rise and flooding by calling a $100 million bond election for November to fund critical resiliency projects.

The Village Council also approved three initiatives to support the effort.

Key Biscayne will target sea level rise and flooding with $40 million for road improvements that would focus on road elevation and utility location.

To support the second initiative of protecting the city’s beaches and shorelines, $10.3 million in bond funds would help create an offshore breakwater, haul in sand for $3.4 million, and conduct seagrass mitigation for $7.5 million.

Its third initiative is to harden the city’s infrastructure by creating funding for underground utilities for $49.2 million, of which $35.2 million would be covered by the bond.
University of Arkansas planning $14M Bentonville campus
Arkansas – The board of trustees at the University of Arkansas is set to consider a $14 million Bentonville campus for approval that is part of a $194.7 million private grant to fund a new Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research (I3R).

The Bentonville project scope includes the costs to lease a facility, buildouts or renovation costs, startup, outfitting, furnishings, technology, networking and equipment in the facility, as well as a longer-term master plan.

A planning process will commence this summer to plan for populating the facility with outreach, research, and lab space.

The institute’s goal is to create a flexible, state-of-the-art collaborative framework designed to facilitate the integration of research across five overlapping clusters of innovation. These clusters will be organized as Centers of Excellence in food and technology, data science, materials science and engineering, bioscience and bioengineering research in metabolism, and integrative systems neuroscience.
New York transit agencies issue COVID-19 technology challenge
New York – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Transit Innovation Partnership issued a COVID-19 Response Challenge to seek innovative technologies from the private sector that make public transit safer and healthier.

Companies may submit their proposals by July 30 that address critical pandemic-related health and safety objectives for the New York metropolitan region’s mass transit network.

MTA is specifically seeking companies that have proven innovative technologies that can safely reduce or eliminate contaminated aerosols from MTA’s public transit system. The other public agencies participating in the COVID Challenge - New York City Department of Transportation, New Jersey Transit, and the Port Authority - are seeking a wider range of solutions.

Areas of interest include thermal monitoring tools, cutting-edge cleaning equipment, and tools to measure and mitigate crowding.

Companies that submit proposals deemed promising by transit, tech, and health sector evaluators may have the opportunity to implement their technology with regional transit systems including the MTA.
View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives
Illinois – Southern Illinois University appointed Austin Lane as its new chancellor. On July 1, he took over for interim chancellor John Dunn. Lane most recently served as president of Texas Southern University. Prior to that, he was executive vice chancellor of academic and student affairs at Lone Star College System and president of Lone Star College-Montgomery.

Maryland – Frederick County Council recently named Roman Steichen as transportation services division director. He has served as acting director since February when former director Nancy Norris retired. Steichen previously served as deputy director of Frederick County TransIT. Before joining the county, he was transportation manager for Johns Hopkins University.

Alabama – The Montgomery County Commission selected Florence Cauthen as county administrator. Cauthen previously served as the county’s interim administrator and deputy administrator. She also has served as Montgomery County circuit clerk and as U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Alabama.

Minnesota – The Minnesota Information Technology Services (MNIT) department of the state of Minnesota announced the appointment of Zarina Baber as assistant commissioner for project portfolio management and Rohit Tandon as assistant commission and the state’s chief information security officer (CISO). Baber previously served a dual role as the deputy chief business technology officer for Minnesota Management and Budget and also for the Governor’s Office. Tandon had been serving as MNIT’s acting CISO. Prior to that, he was the department’s deputy CISO.

Florida – The city of Punta Gorda named Greg Murray as its new city manager, effective August 24. He will succeed Howard Kunik who is set to retire in October. Murray previously served as county administrator for Washington County, Maryland.
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Mary Scott Nabers ,  Publisher
Devin Monk , Editor
Ph: 512-531-3900
Government Contracting Pipeline , a publication of Strategic Partnerships, Inc., is a free, weekly newsletter detailing important happenings nationwide and the premier source for federal, state and local government news and contracting opportunities.
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