Volume 12, Issue 31 - Wednesday, July 29, 2020
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Bridges, a critical part of America’s infrastructure, need immediate attention. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2019 National Bridge Inventory database shows that 81,000 bridges should be replaced and more than 46,000 are structurally deficient. In spite of the data, millions of motorists cross these structurally deficient bridges every day.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association estimates that the cost to repair the country’s bridges is approximately $164 billion. If that statistic appears startling, consider this - at the current pace of repair, construction could easily take more than a half-century.

Rhode Island currently has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the nation. Other bridges in disrepair include New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge, Washington, D.C.’s Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, and the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge that crosses San Francisco Bay.

Time and the environment will continue to play a huge role in the deterioration of America’s bridges. Repair and reconstruction needs will only become greater. Hundreds of immediate projects are available for construction and engineering firms that perform bridge work.

The Illinois Department of Transportation approved a $21.3 billion highway program this month to improve 8 million square feet of bridges and more than 3,300 miles of roads over the next six years. Of this amount, $3.15 billion has been allocated for the current fiscal year. An Interstate 80 project, with a cost projection of $1.1 billion to replace two bridges, will have funding disbursements that span from 2021 to 2026. In 2021, $74.5 million is allocated for replacements, superstructures, widening, reconstruction, new construction engineering, and utility adjustments. Many additional projects are outlined in the state’s transportation plan.

Arkansas adopts $2.3B plan to widen Highway 412
Arkansas – The Arkansas Highway Commission adopted the Highway 412 Corridor Planning Study Update on July 22 that contains several alternative plans for widening the highway to four or more travel lanes from Oklahoma to Missouri. The study identifies $2.3 billion in preservation, safety, mobility, and capital improvements needs across the study area. 

More than $1.2 billion in preservation, safety, and mobility needs have been identified. Another $1.1 billion would be needed to complete a four-lane buildout. 

The Highway 412 corridor is 285 miles in length, consisting of about 125 miles with four or more travel lanes, and approximately 42 miles with three lanes (primarily passing lane sections), and the remaining 118 miles with two lanes. 

Implementing the system preservation alternative would cost an estimated $590 million to maintain all pavement and structures within the Highway 412 study area in good or fair condition. 

Phased mobility improvements for 23 corridor segments are estimated to cost $623.1 million. An economic development alternative would cost $911.8 million to implement after completing the mobility improvements. 

Safety alternatives would cost $39.1 million to improve intersections on urban highway segments and rural multilane highway sections and install rumble strips and make shoulder improvements on rural two-lane highway segments. 

Highway 412 is the only continuous east-west arterial in northern Arkansas and provides system resiliency as an alternative to Interstate 40. 
EPA to finance $5.5B in water, wastewater infrastructure projects
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for an estimated $5.5 billion in federal assistance from the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).

Congress appropriated $50 million in funding to cover the subsidy cost of providing WIFIA credit assistance. The EPA estimates that this appropriation will allow the agency to provide approximately $5 billion in long-term, low-cost financing to water and wastewater infrastructure projects and accelerate approximately $10 billion in infrastructure investment around the country.

Eligible projects include those that:
  • Promote enhanced energy efficiency in public water systems or publicly owned treatment works; 
  • Repair, rehabilitate, or replace a treatment works, community water system, or aging water distribution or waste collection facility; 
  • Improve brackish or sea water desalination infrastructure; 
  • Prevent, reduce, or mitigate drought, including projects that enhance resilience of drought-affected watersheds; or, 
  • Acquire property integral to one of the project types listed above.

EPA will accept letters of interest until October 15 from: federal, state, local, or tribal governments; state infrastructure financing authorities; corporations; partnerships; joint ventures; or trusts.
St. Petersburg solicits P3 for redevelopment of Tropicana Field site
Florida - The city of St. Petersburg is seeking a public-private partnership (P3) for the leasing, acquisition, and development of 86 acres of the Tropicana Field baseball stadium site into a vibrant, urban mixed-use community.

St. Petersburg and an architectural consultant developed two conceptual master plans for the redevelopment of the site, one including a baseball stadium and one without. The city’s stadium use agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays professional baseball team expires at the end of the Major League Baseball season in 2027. If the city and the Rays do not enter into an agreement for the team to stay on site beyond the term, then the development plans will not include a stadium.

In its request for proposals (RFP), the city is requiring a 50,000- to 100,000-square-foot conference center attached to a major flagship hotel, as well as space for research, innovation and higher education uses and child-care facilities for residents and employees of the site.

The requirements are among 21 guiding principles for the development, which include identifying and developing infrastructure, honoring the site’s history and providing opportunities for economic equity and inclusion, and providing jobs and a continuous workforce development element. The principles also highlight the city’s desire for entertainment, mixed-income housing, transportation connectors, and family-oriented places in the development.

An appraisal of the property is underway and is expected to be complete in fall 2020.

RFP submissions are due by 10 a.m. on January 15, 2021. City officials hope to reach an agreement with the winning applicant by the end of 2021.
RI drafting budget to build health laboratory, fine arts center
Rhode Island – Gov. Gina Raimondo submitted several proposed increases to the state budget for its capital development program on July 27 including $310.5 million for in housing and infrastructure projects and a $107 million health laboratory.

The health laboratory tops the list of proposed projects in Raimondo’s amendment designed to spur the state’s pandemic recovery. The facility would include services for disease prevention and management, testing and monitoring, and investigations. It also would support health care and hospital systems and research institutions in order to diagnose illness, cure disease, and pursue medical innovations.

The state’s proposed Housing and Infrastructure Bond includes recreational bond projects as well as several higher education construction projects.

Raimondo’s amendment proposes a $40 million increase to bring state spending on affordable housing developments up to $65 million and also calls for an additional $35 million for industrial reshoring and site development for offshore wind development to bring the state’s total to $56.5 million.

Under her proposal, the Port of Davisville at Quonset would get $31 million to complete the rehabilitation of Pier 2, and $30 million would be allocated to match federal funds and provide direct funding for state highway, road, and bridge improvements.

Already included in the state’s draft capital development budget is a $117.3 million Higher Education Facilities Bond that would provide $57.3 million to fund repairs and construct a new University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Center on its Kingston campus to support musical, theatrical, visual, and graphic arts.

The education bond also would contribute $38 million toward reconstructing the Clarke Science Building on the Rhode Island College campus. This project will improve the college’s science and technology laboratories and facilities.

Four campuses at the Community College of Rhode Island would receive $12 million for restoration and enhancement of academic and student support spaces. Work would include modernizing and renovating facilities, addressing repairs, improving safety and energy efficiency, and replacing outdated technology.

The state would spend $10 million for the development of a Center for Ocean Innovation and a “Smart Bay” in collaboration with the URI Graduate School of Oceanography.

A $69 million Beach, Clean Water, and Green Bond would fund $40 million for a new facility at Goddard Park beach and upgraded facilities at Roger Wheeler, Scarborough, and Misquamicut state beaches and at Brenton Point.
Wilmington International among airports receiving $242M in aid
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on July 28 that it will award more than $273 million in airport safety and infrastructure grants to 41 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

More than $242 million will come from Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants and $31 million will be distributed in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grants.

Wilmington International Airport in North Carolina will receive $21.12 million to expand its terminal building. The third phase of the airport’s 60,000-square-foot expansion project will add four new gates, concourse and gate seating, concessions space, an enlarged security checkpoint, and enhance the baggage claim area. Additional upgrades include a service animal relief area and family restrooms. Airport officials anticipate starting this phase in late fall or early winter of 2020 and complete it in winter 2022.

Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport will receive $15.2 million to construct a taxiway, Chicago O’Hare International Airport will get $13.99 million to reconstruct an apron, and Atlantic City International Airport will receive $11.24 million to rehabilitate a runway.

Columbia Regional Airport in Missouri will receive $9.9 million to extend a runway, Sacramento International Airport will get $9.83 million to construct an aircraft rescue and firefighting building, and Northeast Philadelphia Airport will collect $9.15 million to reconstruct a runway and lighting.

Other AIP grants will be used for a variety of critical infrastructure and safety projects, including 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.
Colorado school district mulls $150M bond election
Colorado – The Cherry Creek School District board of education will vote on August 3 whether to call a $150 million bond election for November 3 that is focused on safety and security, mental health, and major maintenance projects.

More than $88 million would go toward major maintenance and upkeep on aging buildings, and $26 million would fund safety and security upgrades including a new intercom system, push button classroom door locks, secure double vestibules, camera enhancements, and a new fire alarm system.

The district would use $12 million to update its core technology facilities and $9 million to provide funding for each of its high schools to create innovation spaces.

If approved by voters, Cherry Creek would use $7 million to build a new mental health and day treatment center for the district and $3 million to remodel the Village East Community Elementary School cafeteria.

District leaders originally identified $771 million in project needs, which they trimmed to $300 million before the COVID-19 pandemic, and then narrowed to $150 million.

The board also will consider a $35 million budget election to generate operational expenses to offset a $25 million reduction to the district’s state funding allotment.
Connecticut open to P3s for Bushnell South development
Connecticut – In cost-saving moves aimed at accelerating public-private partnership (P3) opportunities in downtown Hartford, the state of Connecticut announced on July 28 that it will vacate two historic building properties.

The state is moving several small state agencies from 30 Trinity Street and 18/20 Trinity Street in Hartford to either 55 Farmington Avenue or 165 Capitol Avenue, beginning in September and throughout early 2021.

The state also will be terminating two leased spaces at 330 Main Street, Hartford, and 2275 Silas Deane in Rocky Hill. These offices will also be moved to either 55 Farmington Avenue or 165 Capitol Avenue.

These moves, which will save an estimated $80 million in repairs and renovations, are a joint effort between the Office of Policy Management (OPM) and Department of Administrative Services (DAS).

Department officials said the buildings will provide an opportunity to accelerate a larger P3 known as Bushnell South where former state parking lots were transferred in 2018 to the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) for redevelopment.

Coupled with CRDA’s ongoing development of a new district garage as well as recent private residential/mixed use development, the properties will form the next phase in rebuilding the neighborhood along Bushnell Park.

The demolition of a state health department laboratory and major renovations to the State Office Building open a window of opportunity to transform an area of the city, which is filled with a number of parking lots and defunct businesses, into housing and economic development projects. CRDA is partnering with the neighborhood and the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts on a plan for revitalization.
NJDOT planning $95M I-80-Route 15 Interchange Project
New Jersey – The state’s Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is developing plans for the $95 million Interstate 80-Route 15 Interchange Project to reduce traffic congestion in Morris County.

NJDOT is proposing to construct two new ramps to connect Route 15 northbound to I-80 westbound and I-80 eastbound to Route 15 southbound.

The project scope includes replacing the I-80 eastbound bridge and the Route 15 northbound bridge. Both bridges travel over the former Mt. Hope Mineral Railroad. NJDOT also plans to replace the Route 15 northbound bridge over the Green Pond Brook.

Additional work will replace the Route 15 southbound bridge over North Main Street extension, widen the I-80 eastbound and I-80 westbound bridges over North Main Street, and lengthen acceleration-deceleration lanes.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2025 with completion scheduled within four years.
Pennsylvania to distribute $66M for water, wastewater projects
Pennsylvania – Gov. Tom Wolf announced the state will invest $66 million in 11 drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater projects across the state through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

New Castle Sanitation Authority is set to receive a $19.13 million grant and $12.87 million loan from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund to improve its wastewater treatment plant. The projects, including construction of a new anoxic tank and renovation of an activated sludge system, will improve aquatic life in the Shenango River.

The city of Johnstown was awarded a $6.52 million grant and a $4.38 million loan to replace about 26,000 feet of sewer line to reduce wet weather overflows.

Other projects that will receive PENNVEST assistance are:

  • Western Westmoreland Municipal Authority - $11.02 million to install approximately 18,000 feet of sanitary sewer line and manholes and stabilize streambanks to eliminate regional stream pollution;
  • Bedford Township Municipal Authority - $5.22 million to replace 8,500 feet of existing waterline, connect new service with 10,150 feet of additional water line, and replace a water storage tank;
  • Fleetwood Borough - $3.5 million to replace 8,250 feet of ductile iron and cement-lined piping; and,
  • Penn Township Municipal Authority - $1.45 million to replace deteriorating water tanks with a new 150,000-gallon ground-level tank.

The funding for these projects originates from a combination of state funds approved by voters, Growing Greener, Marcellus Legacy funds, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards.
FTA to award $47.5M for ferry, terminal infrastructure projects
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Transit Administration awarded $47.5 million in grant funding to 12 passenger ferry projects in 12 states on July 24.

The grants will fund projects to purchase, replace, or rehabilitate passenger ferries, terminals, and related infrastructure and equipment.

Nearly $5.3 million will go to the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) for the Lower Algiers Ferry Terminal and Marine Maintenance Optimization Project.

RTA is studying the condition of the Algiers Ferry barge to determine the feasibility of renovating and upgrading the barge or designing a new vessel.

Its forensic studies will examine electrical and lighting systems, ballast, bilge, thickness reading, and hydro survey. RTA anticipates concluding the engineering phase in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) in Florida will receive $5.2 million to modernize an existing passenger vessel to ensure a state of good repair and to purchase a new passenger vessel for service expansion.

In Portland, Maine, the Casco Bay Island Transit District will receive $3.2 million to purchase a new electric hybrid propulsion system that will be used to power a new passenger ferry vessel as part of a vehicle replacement project.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston will receive $3.5 million to repair two passenger ferry vessels to ensure continued service reliability, passenger safety, and a state of good repair.
St. Louis Park to issue RFP for Wooddale Ave. Station development
Minnesota – The city of St. Louis Park’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) is planning to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of the Wooddale Avenue Station site into a signature mixed-use, transit-oriented development that includes significant affordable housing.

The city envisions the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) Wooddale Avenue Station Site to be an active, vibrant and connected community hub for mixed-income housing, neighborhood business, and transit.

According to the draft RFP, the city is seeking proposals that include a significant amount of affordable multifamily housing at the site. The EDA also desires smaller scale ground floor commercial spaces and numerous accommodations for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and automobiles, including electric bikes, electric vehicles, and possibly car sharing.

A public plaza or community space with unique community landmark or feature also is among the requests that include high quality site amenities, public art, and connections to nature through green features.

For several years, the city has had plans for a signature transit-oriented development next to the planned Wooddale Avenue Station site on the SWLRT extension of the METRO Green Line. The selected developer team will be expected to collaborate with the SWLRT Project Office (SPO) to design its proposed project to seamlessly integrate with the station, and without altering SWLRT improvements.

St. Louis Park councilmembers reviewed the draft RFP at a study session on July 28 and provided feedback that will be incorporated into the final procurement document scheduled to be issued on August 7.

The deadline for RFP submissions is 4 p.m. on October 9, and the EDA is scheduled to approve a preliminary development contract in January or February of 2021.
USDOT unveils Pathways to the Future of Transportation guide
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released Pathways to the Future of Transportation on July 23 to serve as a roadmap for innovation of new cross modal technologies to engage with the department.

The launch of the policy document follows the founding of USDOT’s Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council one year ago to identify and resolve jurisdictional and regulatory gaps that may impede the deployment of new technologies, such as potential advances in tunneling technology and hyperloop systems.

Pathways to the Future of Transportation intends to help private sector innovators understand the purpose, structure, and function of the NETT Council, lay out the principles guiding USDOT’s policies, and deliver a high-level overview of the federal framework for supporting non-traditional and emerging technologies.

USDOT will publish a request for comment on Pathways to the Future of Transportation, which will allow the public to comment and provide feedback on the document.
Maryland – The Gaithersburg City Council named Tanisha Briley as the new city manager, effective September 14. She will succeed former City Manager Tony Tomasello who retired in May. Briley most recently served as city manager of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Prior to joining Cleveland Heights, she was assistant city administrator, budget manager, and management analyst for the city of Davenport, Iowa.

North Carolina – The North Carolina Railroad Company appointed Carl Warren as its next president, effective August 17. Warren most recently was director of ports and industrial development for a private railroad company. Before that, he was director of business development for the Port of Portland in Oregon.

California – Calbright College promoted Ajita Talwalker Menon to president and chief executive officer from her role as interim president and CEO. Menon previously served as senior adviser for the chancellor of the California Community Colleges. Before that, she was special assistant to the president for higher education policy during the Obama Administration and held senior roles at the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Florida – The city of Tampa selected Rob Rosner as its new director of economic opportunity in a reorganization of the city’s Development and Economic Opportunity portfolio. Rosner joined the city as an urban development manager and managed four of the city’s community redevelopment areas.

Nebraska – The state of Nebraska named Patrick Wright as its new information security officer. He took over for Chris Hobbs who accepted a position as director of information technology for the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Wright previously served as an information security specialist for an insurance company.

Virginia – The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission appointed Joseph Stainsby as chief development officer for OmniRide. Stainsby has served as the program manager for Vanpool Alliance since its inception in 2013.
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Mary Scott Nabers ,  Publisher
Devin Monk , Editor
Ph: 512-531-3900
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