Volume 12, Issue 37 - Wednesday, September 9, 2020
People often believe that bond elections only fund construction projects. Although it’s true that construction opportunities do occur when bond packages are approved, sales of certificates of obligation or general obligation spawn hundreds of other contracting opportunities. Companies that provide services related to technology, energy systems, furniture, landscaping, and security also benefit. Voters already have approved an abundance of bond packages this year, and more are pending in November elections.

The state of Georgia has funding of $1.133 billion that will be used for new projects, the purchasing of equipment, repairs and renovations to existing facilities. Some of it will also be used to launch new construction projects. School districts have been allocated approximately $378 million and $302 million is available for projects at the University System of Georgia. The Department of Transportation will receive over $152 million for roads, bridges, and rail projects, and the Technical College System of Georgia will receive approximately $99 million for various projects. The state also allocated $20 million for a new conference center at Lake Lanier Island and $12 million for infrastructure improvements at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

West Virginia
The Cabell County Board of Education authorized the issuance of $87.5 million in public school bonds after it was approved by voters in August. Architectural firms and design teams will be in high demand soon as construction is planned for early 2021. Projects include rebuilding Meadows Elementary and Milton Elementary and construction of a new Davis Creek Elementary facility. Other school buildings will receive major renovations including new windows, doors, roofing, HVAC systems, sprinkler systems, and security upgrades.

Highway administration redistributes $4.76B to states
Washington, D.C. – The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently announced the redistribution of more than $4.76 billion in FY 2020 highway funding obligations to states.

Over $7.08 billion in additional formula obligation was requested by states that met all of their fiscal year deadlines for projects that received federal funding. Priority was given to states that have large unobligated balances.

California is set to receive $493.65 million, the most in FHWA redistributions for FY 2020. Texas was second with $470 million, followed by New York with $280.53 million, Florida with $226.89 million, and Pennsylvania with $210.34 million.

Transportation department officials in some states said the funding will assist their states in building and preserving highways and bridges.
Chicago seeks renewable energy provider for city-owned buildings
Illinois – The city of Chicago’s Department of Assets, Information, and Services issued a request for proposals (RFP) on September 4 to procure a renewable energy supply contract for city-owned buildings and other infrastructure.

The contract will provide all city-owned buildings, streetlights and other facilities with reliable, renewable electricity supply for at least five years beginning in 2022. Current costs to power only city-owned buildings with energy are about $40 million annually, resulting in an estimated renewable electricity supply contract of $200 million for the vendor.

Solicitation of a renewable energy supply contract is another step toward the city’s goal of powering all city-owned buildings and operations by 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. Additionally, the contract will enable the creation of new renewable generation facilities in the region, leading to job creation and air quality benefits, and supplying the city at least 50 percent of its electricity supply by 2025.

Once a new contract is established, the city anticipates providing other municipal entities, including sister agencies, with the ability to execute their own contracts with the city’s selected provider using the commercial framework established by the city’s RFP process.

Applications are due by November 6, and city officials plan to announce the chosen vendor for this contract in January 2021.
California county forming short list to build electric vehicle tunnel
California – San Bernadino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) is scheduled to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) to establish a short list of developers to build a $45 million tunnel connection to allow autonomous electric vehicles to transport passengers and luggage from the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink Station to the Ontario International Airport.

Staff presented a draft RFQ to the authority’s board of directors on September 2 that will use a design-build and transitional operate-maintain method for the design and construction of an approximately 4-mile underground tunnel connecting the Rancho Cucamonga station to the airport with two above ground stations at ONT2 and one at the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink Station.

Total costs are estimated at $65 million for the project that would place Rancho Cucamonga as a hub connecting the tunnel to a proposed $5 billion privately-run 170-mile high-speed rail line from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas. A 50-mile spur on the 15 Freeway and a planned bus rapid transit system also would connect to the Metrolink station.

The RFQ is set to be published on September 24 with submissions due on November 19. SBCA staff plan to evaluate and short-list firms by January 2021, release a developer request for proposals (RFP) in March 2021, and award a contract in August 2021.
Virginia DOT advances Long Bridge replacement project
Virginia – The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) completed the environmental planning process for the Long Bridge rail project.

This marks a major milestone in the planning process for the new rail bridge and independent pedestrian/bicycle bridge that will span the Potomac River and opens the door for the final engineering design, financing, and construction of Long Bridge.

Plans call for constructing a new two-track bridge upstream of the existing Long Bridge, and retaining the existing bridge to create a four-track crossing. Mitigation for the project includes construction of a new bike-pedestrian shared-use path spanning the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Potomac River.

The existing Long Bridge is the only railroad bridge connecting Virginia to the District of Columbia and is one of the most significant passenger and freight rail choke points along the entire East Coast. Expansion of the existing bridge will enable Virginia to double its state-supported Amtrak passenger rail service, significantly increase commuter rail service by 2030, and make way for potential future run-through commuter rail service connecting Virginia and Maryland.

Initial cost estimates for the bridge project comprise nearly $1.9 billion of the $3.7 billion total cost of the Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative, financed through local, regional, state, and federal sources, including a $944 million partnership with Amtrak.
Atlanta authority recommends transportation projects for state aid
Georgia – The Atlanta-Regional Transit Link Authority approved nine construction, expansion, and renovation projects at its September 3 meeting for recommendation to the Georgia Legislature for funding.

Although the authority’s board of directors did not specify allocations for each project, the total estimated cost of all nine projects is more than $2.11 billion.

The directors added an ongoing rehabilitation project to their list that will renovate all 38 stations in the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) system for a total cost of $685 million. MARTA is consolidating the work into rehabilitation of six or seven stations a year.

The authority will seek funding from the state for expansion of four segments of Interstate 285 transit in express lanes. The $660 million project will develop high capacity transit from Interstate 20 in DeKalb County, along the Top End of I-285 to I-20 in Cobb County with stations in Fulton County.

Funds awarded to the Clayton County Transit Initiative would support a $375 million project to expand bus rapid transit (BRT) service along routes 191 and 196 connecting Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Clayton County Justice Center.

The $205 million restoration of MARTA’s heavy rail lines and $96 million expansion of Capitol Avenue-Summerhill BRT service also were recommended for state funding.

A potential public-private partnership (P3) project to develop a new $50 million Cumberland Mall Transfer Center would receive state aid. The center would open in the second quarter of FY 2025.

The board also recommended state funding for the $35.87 million expansion of the State Route 316 commuter service that will add two new park-and-ride facilities and a new route.

Accessibility improvements for sidewalks in unincorporated Cobb County and transit signal priority on Marietta to Cumberland CID routes also were recommended for state funds.
California seeks Medi-Cal managed care input to develop RFP
California – The state’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) released a request for information (RFI) to provide information and solicit input regarding goals for the Medi-Cal managed care delivery system to be achieved through the upcoming Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan (MCP) request for proposal (RFP) process.

The agency also is seeking input on updates proposed to be included in contracts awarded through the RFP process. The RFP will be used to procure commercial health plans via Two-Plan Model, Geographic Managed Care (GMC), Regional Model, Imperial Model, and San Benito Model.

DHCS plans to use the updated MCP Contract as the boilerplate for all Medi-Cal MCPs, including non-commercial Local Initiative and County Organized Health System plans, concurrent with implementation of the new contracts for commercial plans through the RFP process.

It is looking for managed care plans that provide quality, access to care, continuum of care, children services, behavioral health services, and coordinated or integrated care. DCHS also is seeking plans that reduce health disparities, increase oversight of delegated entities, demonstrate a local presence and engagements, and ensure emergency preparedness and essential services.

DHCS oversees operational and program activities to meet the needs of providing health care to more than 12 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries in all of California’s 58 counties.

RFI feedback is due by October 1. The department intends to release a draft RFP for stakeholder feedback in early 2021 with potential implementation in January 2024.
Minneapolis releases RFQ for Public Service Center redevelopment
Minnesota – The city of Minneapolis issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the design and redevelopment of four city-owned parcels on the Public Service Center block in the downtown West neighborhood.

The site includes the current Public Service Center at 250 South 4th St., the Community Services Building at 215 and 217 South 3rd St., and the City of Lakes Building at 309 2nd Avenue South. The city anticipates the buildings will be vacated in summer 2021.

City officials will consider a variety of uses on the block, including housing, commercial, office, hotel, retail sales and services, and underground or enclosed parking. Active uses must be on the first floor on all street frontages.

Development on the block is guided by the adopted Minneapolis 2040 Design Plan. A phased development of the block will be allowed.

RFQ submissions are due by 4 p.m. October 16, and the city anticipates selecting a developer in December 2020 or January 2021. A preliminary design plan is expected within six months, and a final design plan must be completed within nine months.
Vermont college gets $8M for advanced manufacturing facility
Vermont – The U.S. Army awarded a $7.96 million contract to Vermont Technical College to establish the state’s first advanced manufacturing education, research, and development facility.

As part of its National Imperative for Industrial Skills, the U.S. Army’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) Office’s contract also offers an additional $4 million option.

The new center, located in Randolph Center, will bring together students, faculty, and Vermont manufacturers in a public-private partnership (P3) to educate the next-generation workforce in additive manufacturing engineering and design and support manufacturing innovation.

With the funding from IBAS, Vermont Tech will expand its advanced manufacturing engineering labs with new equipment and staff. The grant also will allow the further expansion of the Vermont Manufacturing Collaborative, which will use the new equipment and renovated facilities for prototyping, test-bed development, and small batch manufacturing.
Report warns of $338B shortfall in electric infrastructure investing
A new report by the American Society of Engineers (ASCE) highlights critical changes to the nation’s electric grid and the need for substantial investments in grid systems. 

Released on September 1, the ASCE’s “Failure to Act: Electric Infrastructure Investment Gaps in a Rapidly Changing Environment” determined that investments in the U.S. electricity grid are lacking. 

This trend of underinvesting is projected to lead to $5,800 in additional electricity costs per household between 2020 and 2039 if it continues. Closing the electricity investment gap would lead to fewer brownouts and blackouts and save U.S. businesses $637 billion. It also would prevent the loss of 540,000 jobs and $5,800 in personal income losses for each American family.  

The Western U.S. accounts for 33 percent of the national gap, according to the report, while the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions comprise 43 percent of the gap due to some of the oldest infrastructure in the country. 

Although the U.S. is facing shortfalls of $209 billion by 2029 and $338 billion by 2039, the report identified some positive trends. 

In the last 10 years, investments in transmissions systems have increased from $15.6 billion in 2012 to a planned annual average of $21 billion from 2013 through 2021. Spending also reduced congestion, eased resource pricing, and helped to better meet current and future customer needs. Recent investments appear adequate for serving the existing system. 
Utah cities join for transportation master plan updates, study
Utah – The cities of Cedar City and Enoch City are updating their respective transportation master plans and active transportation master plans via a new partnership that will develop a planning study.

According to the cities’ request for proposals issued earlier this year, consultants will be required to provide options to interlink the transportation and active transportation networks of each city.

Study components for each city will include a master transportation plan for safe and effective movement of people and goods. The goal is to develop and use approved growth predictions, data, and methods to determine the appropriate travel demand models for the 10-year, 20-year, and 30-year planning periods.

Planners also will provide implementation guidance for the State Route 130 Access Management Plan including major access points, frontage road configuration, and funding responsibility. This task includes exploring the possibility of creating a Transportation Reinvestment Zone as a method for funding improvements in the area.

Active transportation planning will identify and evaluate existing conditions for biking and walking within and around each city and establish projects to complete the network and fill the needs of various types of users. This plan will focus on strategies to interconnect bicycle, pedestrian, and transit, as well as link trip generators, destinations, and trail connections in each city and the surrounding communities.

The Utah Department of Transportation and Southwest Utah Public Health Department are providing $94,000 in funding, and each city will contribute $3,000 to the project expected to be complete by April 2021.
Massachusetts seaport council contributes to coastal construction
Massachusetts – The Seaport Economic Council distributed $7.8 million in grants to support 17 projects in Massachusetts coastal communities.

The grants will help these cities, towns, and ports advance economic growth, create jobs, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Phase 3 of the city of Fall River’s City Pier waterfront revitalization will receive $1 million to enhance public accessibility to the waterfront and pier, strengthen recreational and commercial maritime uses, create full-time and seasonal employment opportunities, and facilitate significant private investment. The city plans on leveraging $1.6 million in matching funds from the Fall River Redevelopment Authority to complete this project.

The New Bedford Port Authority also will get $1 million from the council for several upgrades. This grant will strengthen the port’s commercial fishing piers and South Terminal, as well as extend the North Terminal to provide additional berthing space for commercial fishing and offshore wind vessels.

Subject to the approval of town matching funds, the town of Oak Bluffs will collect $1 million to improve critical infrastructure needs and enhance both transportation and pedestrian connections within its North Bluff business district following comprehensive design and engineering work. Planned improvements include adding bus and taxi loading lanes and a rotary, redesigning the queuing area at the Vineyard Fast Ferry terminal, updated wayfinding signage, and a new shelter for passengers transferring from ferry to bus.

The council also awarded $1 million for the construction of a new Salisbury Beach Welcome Center at the town of Salisbury. The energy efficient and ADA-compliant welcome center will include new restrooms, terraced seating, an information booth, picnic plaza, and a rinse station.

Yarmouth will receive $1 million for the town’s construction of the Riverwalk Park, woodland trails, and boardwalk loop. The final park will include a variety of amenities including parking, restroom facilities, restorative landscaping, environmentally sensitive design, walking trails, seating options, interactive playscape area, kayak launch, and storage for future boat rentals or other park activities.

Grant funding of $990,000 will upgrade the existing Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s Aquaculture and Marine Sciences Laboratory facility in Buzzards Bay, add modernized instrumentation, improve clean lab culture capabilities, and install a renewable energy storage system. Once upgraded and fully operational, the AMS Laboratory will provide local, regional and national scientists a platform to focus on economically important species and habitats.

Since its re-launch by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2015, the Seaport Economic Council has awarded more than $52 million through 113 grants in 47 coastal communities.
Wyoming airport to build snow removal equipment facility
Wyoming – High winds and compacted ice and snow forced the Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport to temporarily close this week, but the timing of a new federal grant will help the airport prepare for future flurries. 

Airport leaders will use a $3.2 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant for the construction of a 23,000-square-foot snow removal equipment building. The new $5.1 million structure will provide storage and maintenance space for the airport’s fleet of FAA required equipment. 

The Wyoming Department of Transportation also will contribute $912,500 to this project. 
Colorado – The Durango City Council approved a contract on September 4 with José Madrigal to be the city’s permanent city manager, effective September 14. He will succeed Interim City Manager Amber Blake who filled the position after the city and former City Manager Ron LeBlanc parted ways in September 2019. Madrigal currently serves as the interim director of solid waste services for the city of Irving, Texas. Prior to that, he was deputy city manager for the city of McKinney, Texas. 

Tennessee – The Memphis Area Transit Authority appointed Ted Harris as chief operations officer on August 25. Harris most recently served as chief customer experience officer at the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority in Tampa, Florida. Prior to that, he was vice president of operations for MV Transportation in Fairfax County, Virginia. 

Idaho – Gov. Brad Little appointed Jess Byrne as director of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. He will replace Director John Tippets who retired in July. Byrne previously was deputy director of the department since April 2012, twice serving as interim director. 

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Defense named Dr. Victoria Coleman as the director of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Coleman’s previous roles included serving as founding chair of DARPA’s Microsystems Exploratory Council and membership on the Defense Science Board. She also held roles in the private sector as chief executive officer, senior vice president, chief technology officer, vice president of engineering, and director for security initiatives. 

Nevada – Gov. Steve Sisolak recently appointed Alan Cunningham as the state’s chief information officer (CIO). He succeeded Michael Dietrich who took a position in the private sector. Cunningham has served as the Washoe County School District’s information security officer since 2016, following a 14-year information technology career in the private sector. 

Louisiana – The University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) board of supervisors named Dr. Ronald Berry as the ninth president of the university on September. He will succeed Interim President Edwin Litolff who took over for President Nick Bruno who retired in June. Berry currently serves as dean of the university’s college of business and social sciences. He also was the director of technology, an associate professor, and a head professor at ULM.
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