Volume 12, Issue 35 - Wednesday, August 26, 2020
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
In spite of a decline in contracting opportunities in state and local government, public officials are announcing dozens of new, large projects each week. The announcements usually include upcoming solicitations for new construction projects as well as renovation and upgrade projects. 

Because of population growth, many of the most recent announcements have expansion projects. Educational facilities need more classrooms, cities and counties need more office facilities, and economic development organizations have plans to develop more revenue-generating venues. Overall, it appears that contracting opportunities will not suffer much as a result of fewer solicitation documents that are anticipated over the near term.

Here’s a sampling of what to anticipate in 2021.

New York
Broome County is planning a two-phase $180 million renovation project for the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. The project will be a rather large one, and the first phase work has a projected cost of $58 million. That work will involve improvements and upgrades to the arena's current space. Phase two of the project carries an estimated cost of approximately $125 million. It will include construction of a second ice rink and a convention center, both of which will be linked to the current arena.

The objective is to increase the number and type of activities that can be accommodated in this downtown. Accommodations will be made for e-sports, various types of tournaments and space for practice sessions by the American Hockey League Binghampton Devils. Phase two will also include another downtown hotel and a new park alongside the Susquehanna River. Formal solicitations for the project may be delayed until 2022, but interested contractors and/or partners will find no better time than now for positioning and pre-sales activities.

Chicago's plan to replace residential lead pipes could reach $10B
Illinois – Chicago’s water management commissioner announced that the city will soon release plans to replace lead water pipes in hundreds of thousands of homes at a cost of $8 billion to $10 billion.

The city estimates 375,000 residences have lead service lines.

Two years ago, the city’s Department of Water Management (DWM) commissioned a report to determine the feasibility and framework of what would be a multi-billion dollar program to potentially replace lead service lines – the pipes that connect water mains to single family and two-flat homes – across the city.

The report will develop a step-by-step phased replacement program, review industry practices, investigate available technology and assess funding options, including potential federal and state funding sources.

Originally, homeowners would have had to pay for the cost to replace the pipes. Now, the city plans to incur the costs. Chicago officials said they plan to seek assistance from the cities of Springfield and Washington.
LaGuardia's $2B people mover project earns FAA approval
New York – A plan to build a $2.05 billion elevated people mover system at LaGuardia Airport received environmental clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the best alternative for reducing traffic congestion.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is proposing to construct and operate an automated people mover AirTrain system (APM).

The new line would include two on-airport stations serving Terminals B and C, and a third station that connects to the Mets-Willets Point stations of the Long Island Railroad Port Washington Branch and the New York City Transit Flushing No. 7 subway line.

The FAA’s 45-day public comment period ends October 5 for the draft environment impact statement.

If the plan receives final environmental approval from the FAA, public property acquisition would begin in the second quarter of 2021. Construction on the people mover could start in August 2021 and conclude by November 2025.

The initial stages of construction, beginning in August 2021, would focus on connected actions, including replacement of the Passerelle Bridge, relocation of the marina facilities, improvements to Mets-Willets Point LIRR Station, and relocation and installation of new utilities infrastructure.

Construction of the automated people mover guideway and associated facilities would begin in January 2022 and conclude in November 2025. Construction activities during this timeframe would include the APM operating system and fixed facilities, consisting of the APM guideway, the three APM stations, and passenger walkways.

Testing and commissioning of the APM operating system would begin in December 2024 and conclude in November 2025. Construction of an APM storage facility and parking structure would begin in January 2022 and conclude in summer 2025.
Memphis utility considering RFP for power supply provider
Tennessee – Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW) is considering a new source of power supply after nearly 80 years of receiving electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a federal agency that sells electricity on a nonprofit basis.

MLGW is evaluating the option of terminating its contractual relationship with TVA and developing its own resources and/or acquiring them from a neighboring market. The utility has the option of exiting its contract with TVA with five years of advance notice.

On August 19, MLGW’s chief executive officer recommended to board members that the utility issue a request for proposals (RFP) to develop future alternatives for building infrastructure that could include generation of natural gas and solar electricity.

The utility’s Integrated Resource Plan report determined an annual cost savings of $122 million could be achieved if it were to build its own solar and gas power facilities and transmission lines and connect to a private power marketplace and grid operator.

MLGW is TVA’s largest customer, representing 11 percent of TVA’s total load. It serves nearly 431,200 electric customers.

The authority offered MLGW the option of extending the notice period to 20 years, in return for receiving a 3.1 percent discount on the standard service non-fuel components of the wholesale rate and the ability to serve up to 5 percent of its load with power generation solutions other than TVA.

After the utility's chief executive recommended a plan for seeking bids for consulting services in September and awarding a contract in October, MLGW board members urged him to select a consultant to develop the RFP rather than advertise for consulting services.
San Diego's Otay Mesa port among projects awarded $1.6B by state
California – The state’s Transportation Commission directed more than $1.6 billion to transportation projects throughout California.

Of that, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $1.3 billion to the State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) projects. SHOPP is Caltrans’ “fix-it-first" program designed to preserve the condition of the state highway system.

The CTC also approved more than $118 million in funds for rail and mass transit projects, including freight, intercity rail, and bus services. This allocation expands access to public transportation.

This investment includes $77 million for the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP), which is dedicated to projects that enhance the movement of goods along corridors with high freight volume by making improvements to state highways, local roads, freight rail systems, port facilities, and truck corridors.

One of the largest TCEP projects is the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Corridor Program in the San Diego border region. Project leaders are requesting $42.52 million to complete the critical steps required before starting the final phase of the program, which would include advanced utility relocation of two existing gas lines and connecting water, sewer, communication, and gas lines to the port and its commercial vehicle enforcement facility.

The nearly $945 million Corridor Program will be the nation’s first transformative port of entry to integrate innovative technologies that will increase travel time reliability and reduce border crossing wait times and vehicular emissions while enhancing cross-border travel.

In addition, the CTC authorized nearly $14 million for 17 projects that will improve bicycle and pedestrian crossings, repair sidewalks and bike lanes, and provide safer routes to school for children.
State developing downtown Las Vegas I-515 reconstruction plans
Nevada – Plans for the Downtown Access Project along Interstate 515-U.S. 95 in downtown Las Vegas are advancing through the environmental phase.

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) will develop preliminary design alternatives for the stretch of I-515 from Mojave Road to Rancho Drive to determine appropriate measures to reconstruct the freeway in this area to address the aging infrastructure, accommodate future travel demands, improve safety, and travel time reliability.

Proposed improvements include replacing or removing the 1.6-mile viaduct (bridge), fixing ramp spacing with ramp braiding to and from interstates 15 and 515, adding freeway capacity, and constructing new high occupancy vehicle (HOV) interchanges at City and Maryland parkways, and enhancing bicycle-pedestrian mobility.

The project is estimated to cost $1 billion and take 10 to 13 years in total to complete. Construction is expected to last four to five years.
St. Louis seeks planning services for possible light rail expansion
Missouri – The city of St. Louis is seeking professional engineering and transportation planning services to analyze high-capacity light rail alternatives for the Northside-Southside Corridor.

In its request for qualifications (RFQ), the city is soliciting assistance to close an existing funding gap to build and operate a Northside-Southside light rail expansion as currently conceived.

The City also is exploring less capital-intensive options for high-capacity transit within the identified Northside-Southside corridor, including emerging propulsion systems, gold standard bus rapid transit, and other promising hybrid systems that blur the lines between bus and rail service.

A previous study concluded that capital costs would likely range between $942 million and $947 million to construct the light rail line with an additional $24 million required for annual operations and maintenance.

City and Bi-State Development staff worked together to develop the scope of the work and will jointly manage the project.

RFQ submissions are due by 5 p.m. September 24.
New RFP requested for Louisiana Medicaid contracts
Louisiana – Citing changes in the health care industry, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) has requested to rescind its 2-year-old request for proposals (RFP) for contracts to four managed care organizations (MCOs).

If approved by the Commissioner of Administration, LDH will develop and issue a new RFP to procure state contracts with MCOs to oversee health-care benefits for Louisiana Medicaid enrollees. Existing emergency contracts will be extended until new contracts are awarded and implemented.

A new RFP would effectively end an ongoing protest by two health plans that were eliminated from the previous procurement contract process.

If the request to withdraw its intent to contract with four MCOs is approved, LDH will begin development of the first draft of a new RFP with the goal of publishing it in 2021. Department officials did not release details of the RFP, but they stated a desire to improve the health of all Louisiana residents and improve the state’s health rankings.

Louisiana Medicaid provides critical access to health care coverage to more than 1.6 million Louisiana residents with a total budget of $13.8 billion.
Rochester developing $114M transit village, BRT line
Minnesota – The city of Rochester is preparing an application for $56 million in federal funding for a $114 million transit village and bus rapid transit (BRT) line.

Engineering and design plans already are underway for the future Rochester rapid transit route that will run along 2nd Street SW from the Mayo Clinic West Lot to South Broadway Avenue. City officials intend to submit draft final plans and a transit-oriented development planning study to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in September.

Eight stops and a frequent schedule would allow the BRT to operate, much like light rail service, in the Destination Medical Center area.

Transit facilities, a parking garage, and a Mayo Clinic parking lot also are under consideration for the project.

Service is expected to begin in 2025, but the timeline could be affected by the timing of funding grant awards and other issues.
Juneau to study North Channel crossing to Douglas Island
Alaska – The city and borough of Juneau signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Alaska Department of Transportation to prepare a planning and environmental linkages study for the Juneau North Channel Second Crossing Project.

The study, which is expected to begin this fall, will define a project scope and design elements for a second road crossing over the Gastineau Channel to Douglas Island that would handle heavy industrial trucks.

Juneau officials envision development of deep-water port facilities in West Douglas, which would increase traffic and the need for a second crossing.

After completion of the study, the city’s Planning Commission will review the final draft for approval before seeking federal financial aid.

Estimated project cost is $90 million, according to the city’s capital improvement program for fiscal years 2021 to 2026.
Detroit planning expansion for Coleman A. Young airport
Michigan – The city of Detroit is developing an expansion plan for Coleman A. Young International Airport that local officials intend to submit to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this fall.

According to stakeholders who were invited to a closed-door presentation by Detroit’s mayor, the new layout plan closely resembles a $123 million concept unveiled in 2019.

That plan featured lengthening the main runway, upgrading the terminal and hangars, and closing the airport’s smaller runway which would allow for industrial development.

City planners hope to send the completed layout plan to the FAA in the coming weeks and secure federal permission in late 2020 or early 2021.
MARTA to solicit design services for Summerhill bus transit line
Georgia – The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is set to procure a design consultant in October for a proposed Summerhill bus rapid transit line (BRT) that could signal the start of a flurry of more transit expansions.

Plans call for the $58.5 million Summerhill line to open in 2024 from Hank Aaron Drive and Capitol Avenue to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Mitchell Street. MARTA would serve 12 station areas with this new line.

The project is currently in the design phase, and federal funding is anticipated in September. Construction is set to start in 2022 with the Summerhill BRT opening in 2024.

Additional BRT routes are planned, including the initial phase of Atlanta’s North Avenue line which would open in 2025. The city of Clayton’s route is scheduled to open in two phases – the first in 2026 and the second in 2027.

Gwinnett County’s inaugural line may open by 2027 followed by more lines in the county and in Atlanta spanning several years of planning and delivery.
Delaware to dedicate $20M in CARES funding to broadband
Delaware – Gov. John Carney announced on August 24 that the state will distribute $20 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for broadband infrastructure projects.

The state will allocate the funds to build additional infrastructure, conduct a statewide speed survey, and purchase equipment and services for families in need.

In addition, the state will use some of the CARES Act funding to accelerate the completion of existing wireless expansion projects in Kent, New Castle, and Sussex counties. The current phase of the Rural Wireless Broadband Initiative in Kent and Sussex counties will be completed four months early.

Delaware will use CARES Act funds to cover equipment installation and broadband service for students from low-income households across the state for remote or hybrid learning purposes. Additional information on this program will be announced in the coming weeks.
Connecticut – The Connecticut Port Authority appointed John Henshaw as the port’s executive director, effective September 8. He succeeds former executive director Evan Matthews. Henshaw most recently served as executive director of the Maine Port Authority. Prior to that, he was a member of the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Portland.

Montana – The Helena City Commission offered the position of city manager to Rachel Harlow-Schalk. She will take over for Interim City Manager Melina Reed who is serving in the position after Ana Cortez left her position as city manager in February. Harlow-Schalk has served in government and has worked for the state of Colorado’s Local Government Center as the deputy director of local government, deputy director of strategic operations and finance, and financial assistance director.

Nevada – The Nevada System of Higher Education board of regents selected Dr. Keith Whitfield as the new president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He will take over for Acting President Marta Meana. Whitfield most recently served as provost and senior vice president of academic affairs and a professor of psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit. Before that, he was vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University.

Florida – The Florida Department of Management Services named state Rep. James Grant as the state’s chief information officer (CIO). He will succeed interim state CIO Drew Richardson who filled in after Eric Larson resigned in January 2019. Grant was a senior solutions architect as well as technology strategist in medtech, blockchain, and Software as a Service. He will resign his position as a state lawmaker to serve as the state’s CIO.

Colorado – The Regional Transportation District board of directors selected Debra Johnson as its general manager on August 25. The district serves eight counties in the Denver area. Johnson now serves as deputy chief executive officer at Long Beach Transit in California. She has held executive positions at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 

Kansas – Pam Anderson has been named the fiscal bureau chief for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). Anderson started as an Accountant III in Federal-Aid and was promoted after one year to Federal-Aid chief accountant.
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About Government Contracting Pipeline
Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
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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