Volume 12, Issue 32 - Wednesday, August 5, 2020
This time last year, I would have been preparing to travel to the upcoming P3 Conference to discuss public-private partnerships.

Now, I am planning to engage audiences virtually at this year’s P3 Conference dubbed the ‘Sports, Entertainment and Facilities Conference.' The event, scheduled for August 12-14, will feature discussions about collaborative initiatives related to large public facilities.

In spite of my busy schedule, I am pleased to be participating. I’ll be one of the speakers, and I’m making the effort to do this because I still passionately believe that public-private partnerships, alternative funding, and collaborative initiatives are our future. 

The country’s debt has escalated significantly, and public funding will be constrained for many years to come because of COVID-19. However, public assets still need to be maintained and modernized. Infrastructure cannot continue to crumble, and economic development linked to revenue generation is critical to our global competitiveness.

Great American Outdoors Act to boost park infrastructure by $9.5B
Washington, D.C. - The signing of the Great American Outdoors Act on August 4 will direct $9.5 billion in federal funds over the next five years to address an estimated $20 billion backlog of deferred infrastructure projects on public land.

The act establishes the National Park and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund that will receive $1.9 billion annually over the next five years from oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy development on federal lands and waters.

Funds will go to priority deferred maintenance projects on public land administered by the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Forest Service (FS), and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

The National Park Service will receive up to 70 percent of the funds, and the Forest Service will receive up to 15 percent. USFWS, BLM, and BIE will each get 5 percent of the funds.

Each agency must allocate a minimum of 65 percent of the funds to non-transportation projects before it may commit funding to transportation projects, including construction of paved and unpaved roads, bridges, tunnels, and paved parking areas.

A list of priority deferred projects to be funded for fiscal year 2021 will be submitted within 90 days to House and Senate committees.

Additionally, the act will provide $900 million a year in permanent funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Hillsborough County mulling $1.5B capital improvement plan
Florida – As the Hillsborough County commissioners refine the county’s proposed $6.71 billion budget for fiscal year 2021, they also are reviewing a Recommended Capital Improvement Program FY 21-FY 25 draft that totals $1.5 billion.

The county’s Recommended FY 21-FY 25 Transportation Program totals $751.4 million and includes funding for bridge replacements, Bell Shoals Road widening, bridge repairs, intersection improvements, sidewalks, pavement preservation, paved shoulders, and safety improvements.

Several projects were created as part of the Hillsborough County One Water Campus including the Hillsborough County One Water Campus wastewater treatment and collection project.

This project will co-locate a new wastewater reclamation facility with a new potable water treatment facility, as well as construct conveyance and pumping systems for wastewater and reclaimed water at a total cost of $440.1 million.

A set of consolidated and hardened maintenance facilities projects funded in large part by a 2019 bond will design and construct four new facilities for the Public Works, Public Utilities, and Fleet Services Departments to replace the west, east, and south service units and the Traffic Operations/Maintenance Facility at Sabal Park. The current facilities are 40 to 50 years old and are near the end of their useful lives. The new facilities will provide efficient and secure shelter for pre- and post-disaster response.

One new project has been added to the Solid Waste Enterprise Capital Budget. The Hillsborough County Material Recovery Facility (MRF) project is planned to be a 35-ton per hour, single-stream recycling facility designed to process the County’s residential recyclables and operated via a public-private partnership (P3).

Phase 2 of the Brandon Library replacement project would provide $10.5 million in funds to design and construct a new, expanded, and relocated library in Brandon. Funds also may be used for improvements to the existing facility. Six continuing projects will renovate existing libraries at Austin Davis, Fendig, Lutz, North Tampa, Southshore, and Town 'N Country.

The South County Cultural Arts Center project will develop options for locations, scope, and cost for a $3.1 million cultural arts center in the Southshore area of Hillsborough County. Various options will be considered, including partnering with Hillsborough Community College.

County commissioners are scheduled to conduct two public hearings on the budget on September 10 and 17 before they adopt it.
Portland Public Schools seeks $1.2B bond renewal
Oregon – Board of Education members at Portland Public Schools voted on July 28 to place a $1.2 billion bond renewal referendum on the November 3 ballot.

If approved, bond funding would also develop and begin implementation of the community-driven concept of a Center for Black Student Excellence, including the full modernization of Jefferson High School, estimated to cost $320 million and increase capacity to 1,750 students.

The proposed bond also would complete the $138 million modernization of Benson Polytechnic High School, build a facility for the Multiple Pathways to Graduation programs, plan and design for additional capacity at Roosevelt High School, and finalize $40 million in master planning and design of Cleveland and Wilson high schools.

In addition, the bond would fund critical health and safety improvements throughout the district, including at least $33.8 million for improved accessibility for students, staff, and other people with disabilities.

The bond also would finance repairs or replacement of outdated roofs and mechanical systems and improved seismic safety and school security systems.
Oklahoma commission approves $880M road, bridge plan
Oklahoma – The state’s Transportation Commission approved a County Improvements for Roads and Bridges plan totaling almost $880 million on August 3.

The plan, managed by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, is set to replace or rehabilitate 313 bridges on the county system – of which 151 are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete – and to improve 585 miles of county roads in the next five years.

Some of the significant projects new to the plan this year are:

A more than $2 million project to replace a Kingfisher County bridge that was damaged beyond repair in the 2019 spring floods;

A nearly $4.5 million project to reconstruct a Custer County road that serves as a collector route for Interstate 40 traffic. This project will also improve a railroad crossing; and,

A more than $3 million project to replace a one-and-a-half lane, 600-foot-long McCurtain County bridge with a full two-lane structure on a safer alignment to improve sight distances.

The plan is comprised of 209 projects with all 77 counties represented. The department works with the counties’ eight Circuit Engineering Districts to prioritize projects of the highest need in each county and make the most of state, federal, local, and tribal funding sources.
Authority plans $403M Mobile Downtown Airport expansion
Alabama – The Mobile Airport Authority (MAA) unveiled a master plan for the Mobile Downtown Airport on August 4 that includes a new $170 million terminal. 

The master plan features $403.57 million in improvements within the Brookley Aeroplex south of downtown Mobile that include a 130,000-square-foot terminal with eight gates, a new apron, a new air control tower, a 3,025-stall parking garage, and two surface parking lots with a combined 480 stalls. 

MAA will transfer commercial aviation business from its Mobile Regional Airport to the expanded facility to better compete with Pensacola and New Orleans airports. 

The airport authority will contribute a 5 percent match, which is likely to be about $19.53 million, and $351.5 million in federal funding is expected from entitlement and discretionary grants. 

The MAA board is scheduled to vote on the master plan in about two weeks. If approved, the authority would engage a design and construction team to implement the master plan with the goal of having the new location operational in two to five years.
Illinois counties, cities to receive $250M in transportation funding
Illinois – Infrastructure grants totaling $250 million will be distributed to counties, municipalities, and townships to help them address local transportation needs in a second installment of funding from the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced the funding, which is part of $1.5 billion being distributed through six grants over three years to advance municipal, township, and county infrastructure projects statewide.

Eligible projects include road and bridge improvements, traffic signal upgrades, new storm sewers and bike paths, sidewalk replacements, and other long-term maintenance needs. Projects will be selected and managed locally with IDOT oversight.

The local component of the Rebuild Illinois grant program is distributed via the state motor fuel tax formula.
Local, regional partners seek grant for Potomac River ferry system
Maryland – The Charles County Board of Commissioners voiced its support for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s application for a Marine Highway Grant to support a new ferry system.

The grant from the America’s Marine Highway Program through the Maritime Administration (MARAD) would help finance a transit alternative on the Occoquan, Potomac, and Anacostia rivers with potential public-private partnership (P3) opportunities.

Plans call for ferry service on a primary route on a marine highway known as the M-495 from Woodbridge, Virginia, to Joint Base Ancostia-Bolling and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C. Additional routes would travel to the National Airport, The Wharf, Old Town Alexandria, and other destinations.

A request for information in 2019, solicited information on commuter services and the feasibility of small package freight deliveries.

Infrastructure costs are estimated range from an initial $75 million to $100 million to build docks, parking lots or structures, and ferry vessels. The infrastructure upgrades needed to support ferry service could be publicly or privately financed and could require a P3 for ferry operators servicing the dock.
Indianapolis considering $150M convention center expansion
Indiana – The mayor of Indianapolis is pitching a 25-year bond to fund a $150 million expansion of the Indiana Convention Center.

Tax revenues from two proposed hotels would help finance a 300,000-square-foot addition to the center that would feature a 50,000-square-foot ballroom. A skywalk would connect the center to the proposed hotels.

A developer would incur construction costs for the hotels, and the city would be responsible for the costs of expanding the convention center, which it will own and lease to the Capital Improvement Board.

The Metropolitan Development Commission is scheduled to review the proposal August 5, followed by the City-County Council on August 10. City officials are aiming for project approval by September.

A five-year construction timeline is anticipated to start in 2022.
FTA opens funding for $225M in expedited project delivery pilot
Washington, D.C. – The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) opened the Expedited Project Delivery (EPD) Pilot Program on July 28 to applicants vying for $225 million in grant funding.

Of the program’s total, $100 million is available for allocation from the program that will strive for faster delivery of new transit capital projects.

Eligible projects are new fixed guideway capital projects, small start projects, or core capacity improvement projects that have not entered into a full funding grant agreement with the FTA.

New fixed guideway capital projects or small start projects may include the acquisition of real property, the initial acquisition of rolling stock for the system, the acquisition of right-of-way, and relocation.

Core capacity improvement projects may include the acquisition of real property, the acquisition of rights-of-way, double tracking, signalization improvements, electrification, expanding system platforms, acquisition of rolling stock associated with corridor improvements increasing capacity, and construction of infill stations.

State and local governments are eligible to apply, but projects must utilize public-private partnerships (P3s), be operated and maintained by employees of an existing public transportation provider, and have a federal cost share not exceeding 25 percent of the project cost.

Not more than eight projects may be awarded grants under the EPD program. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until up to eight grants are awarded, subject to funding availability.

FTA’s Notice of Funding Opportunity describes how to apply for funding under the EPD Pilot Program and includes the criteria FTA will use to evaluate proposed projects for funding.
New Jersey to distribute $161M to county road, bridge projects
New Jersey – County infrastructure improvement projects around the state will receive $161.25 million from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).

The FY 2021 County Aid grants will be distributed to 21 counties to help preserve local roads and bridges in a state of good repair.

County Aid grants are allocated based on population and road mileage in each county, which determines which of its projects will receive funding.

The counties and their FY 2021 allocations are:
  • Atlantic - $6.94 million; 
  • Bergen - $13.56 million; 
  • Burlington - $10.14 million; 
  • Camden - $9.44 million; 
  • Cape May - $3.4 million; 
  • Cumberland - $7.86 million; 
  • Essex - $9.74 million; 
  • Gloucester - $7.57 million; 
  • Hudson - $6.48 million; 
  • Hunterdon - $4.06 million; 
  • Mercer - $5.49 million; 
  • Monmouth - $10.26 million; 
  • Morris - $7.94 million; 
  • Ocean - $12.62 million; 
  • Passaic - $7.53 million; 
  • Salem - $4.89 million; 
  • Somerset - $5.9 million; 
  • Sussex - $5.1 million; 
  • Union - $7 million; and, 
  • Warren - $4.11 million. 
Projects may be improvements to public roads and bridges under county jurisdiction or other transportation related work.
New map points to projects awaiting federal funding to advance
Washington, D.C. – The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released a new online interactive map on July 29 of dam, inland waterway, water system, and multimodal freight corridor projects that are ready for construction across the country.

ASCE stated that the list of projects is not comprehensive. It is a snapshot of infrastructure projects that could progress quickly if they receive federal funding and appropriations.

In Louisiana, the Port of New Orleans has over $123 million in multimodal freight projects that can break ground quickly. Ohio is home to nearly $58 million in dam improvement projects that are ready to break ground, and Washington state has at least $398 million of clean water and $72 million of drinking water infrastructure projects that are construction ready.

According to information from one of ASCE’s industry partners, more than $38.5 million in authorized inland waterway projects in Texas are awaiting construction.

ASCE developed the map using data from industry partners, including the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, Water Environment Federation, and American Association of State Dam Safety Officials.
Bidding imminent for $50M Worcester Union Station upgrades
Massachusetts – The $50 million project to build a new center island platform and pedestrian bridge at the Worcester Union Station is set to be advertised for bids in August.

More than $2.6 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will aid the demolition of the station’s existing platform, which is prone to water leaks, and replacement of its deck with a waterproof layer.

The new platform will enable the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to simultaneously operate two trains at the station.

Construction is scheduled to start in November with completion set for November 2022.
California – The University of California (UC) board of regents appointed Michael Drake as president. He will succeed UC President Janet Napolitano who resigned in August. Drake most recently served as president of The Ohio State University. Prior to that, he was chancellor of UC Irvine and UC’s systemwide vice president for health affairs.

Washington – The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) named Dawn Hunter as director of aviation commercial management. Hunter joined the Port of Seattle as the senior manager of airport dining and retail at SEA. Before joining the port, she was the senior concessions manager and security manager in Los Angeles World Airports’ credential center.

Colorado – The Brighton City Council appointed Jane Bais-DiSessa as the next city manager, effective September 14. Bais-DiSessa currently serves as deputy mayor for the city of Pontiac, Michigan. Before that, she was city manager for the city of Berkley, Michigan, and village administrator for Franklin, Michigan.

Ohio – The Board of County Commissioners for Clermont County approved the hiring of Michael McNamara as director of economic development. McNamara previously served as development administrator for Butler County. In that role, he also was executive director of the Butler County Port Authority and president of the Butler County Land Bank.

Nebraska – The Omaha Metro Transit board of directors appointed Lauren Cencic as Metro’s new chief executive officer. She will succeed Executive Director Curt Simon who is retiring. Cencic most recently served as a senior director at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. Prior to her work at LA Metro, Cencic served as the special projects manager at Omaha Metro Transit.

Alabama – The Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority named Danielle Winningham as its new executive director, effective August 10. She will take over for interim executive director Bryan Chandler. Winningham most recently served as chief operating officer and director of business development for the Madison County Economic Development Authority. Prior to those roles, she was business development manager and marketing director for the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation.
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