Volume 13, Issue 3 - Wednesday, January 20, 2021
New York governor launches $306B infrastructure plan
New York – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans for a public-private partnership (P3) to contract for 24 large-scale renewable energy projects in 2021 as part of his $306 billion infrastructure plan.

Construction of 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility in Upstate New York, which would generate more than 2,200 megawatts of clean power and increase the state’s total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects totaling $26 billion.

These 24 facilities will bring substantial economic activity to 16 different Upstate counties and generate more than $2.9 billion of investment.

Cuomo outlined the proposal in his State of the State Address on January 13 in which he released his 2021 agenda proposing the:
  • Largest off-shore wind program in the nation. 
  • Five dedicated port facilities to support New York’s global wind energy manufacturing industry.
  • Construction of a green energy transmission superhighway. 
  • An infrastructure plan in the nation to update the state’s airports and transportation infrastructure, including a new Port Authority Bus Terminal, and redevelop Manhattan’s Midtown West neighborhood. 

The governor stated it is the largest infrastructure plan in the nation.
MassDOT proposes East-West Passenger Rail routes up to $4.6B
Massachusetts – The state’s Department of Transportation (MassDOT) released a final report for the East-West Passenger Rail Study earlier this month that identifies three proposed routes to provide new passenger rail connections between Pittsfield and Boston that range in estimated cost from $2.4 billion to $4.6 billion. 

One final alternative could provide direct passenger rail service between Pittsfield and Boston along a shared track / shared CSX and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) corridor.

Up to eight round trips (seven new East-West round trips) could be provided, with an average travel time of just over three hours between Pittsfield and Boston, and nearly two hours between Springfield and Boston. The estimated capital cost for this alternative is $2.4 billion. 

Another final alternative could provide direct passenger rail service between Pittsfield and Springfield along a shared track/shared CSX corridor, along an independent passenger track between Springfield and Worcester, and along a shared track/shared MBTA corridor between Worcester and Boston. Up to 10 round trips (nine new East-West round trips) could be provided, with an average travel time of three hours between Pittsfield and Boston, and under two hours between Springfield and Boston. The estimated cost for this alternative is $3.9 billion. 

A hybrid alternative could provide direct passenger rail service between Pittsfield and Springfield along a shared track/shared CSX corridor, along an independent passenger track with high-speed shortcuts between Springfield and Worcester, and along a shared track/shared MBTA corridor between Worcester and Boston. Up to 10 round trips (nine new East-West round trips) could be provided, with an average travel time of almost three hours between Pittsfield and Boston, and 97 minutes between Springfield and Boston. The estimated cost for this alternative is $4.6 billion. 

MassDOT will continue to evaluate funding sources and strategies while it conducts a detailed study of economic and community benefits.
Clemson University issues RFI for online discussion board
South Carolina – Clemson University is seeking vendor input via a request for information (RFI) for the integration of an online discussion board that will be used with the campus’ Learning Management System (LMS) deployment.

The goal of the integrated solution is to enhance student engagement through a robust discussion board integration for use by various disciplines in the university’s departments and entities within the campus LMS infrastructure.

Some of the required capabilities are:
  • Seamless integration with Canvas that allows students to access the discussion board without leaving Canvas. 
  • Ability to have ungraded discussion topics or boards. 
  • Ability to be added as an assignment to connect with the Canvas Gradebook. 
  • Capability to automatically grade based on participation. 
  • Capability to allow teacher assistants to have the same ability to grade as an instructor. 
  • Ability for graders to see all of the student’s activity on a topic or post in a grading application. 
  • Allow students to upload pictures or videos as a part of the discussion. 
  • Full feature capabilities when being accessed via smartphone. 
  • Have social media-like capabilities with the ability to like posts or comments. 
  • Ability for students to subscribe to posts or comments to receive notifications about responses or updates. 

RFI submissions are due by 2:45 p.m. EST on January 31. This RFI may be used as the basis for a future request for proposals or other procurement method.
California seeks business continuity management program
California – The state’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) issued a request for information (RFI) soliciting input from vendors on a business continuity management program solution. 

Estimated catalog pricing on a total solution is being sought as the state anticipates replacing its Living Disaster Recovery Planning System, which has reached end of life. 

The FTB is asking vendors to provide estimated catalog pricing on product(s), solution maintenance and licensing, training, implementation, or any additional or potential costs for the solution. 

One program requirement is that it must provide licenses for a minimum of 250 named or concurrent users and a minimum of 50 named or concurrent state administrators who can be logged in simultaneously. 

RFI submissions are due by 4 p.m. PST on February 8. 
Air Force selects Huntsville as site for new Space Command HQ
Alabama – Huntsville prevailed in the bidding war to be the new site of the U.S. Space Command headquarters.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett selected Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville as the preferred location for the headquarters on January 13 for factors related to mission, infrastructure capacity, community support, and costs to the Department of Defense.

Air Force officials said Huntsville compared favorably across more of these factors than any other community, providing a large, qualified workforce, quality schools, superior infrastructure capacity, and low initial and recurring costs. Additionally, Redstone Arsenal offered a facility to support the headquarters, at no cost, while the permanent facility is being constructed.

Redstone Arsenal and Huntsville are home to several Air Force, Army, and space centers and industries including NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center, Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, U.S. Army Materiel Command, and Redstone Test Center.

Joint Base San Antonio; Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) in Albuquerque; Offutt AFB in Bellevue, Nebraska; Patrick AFB in Cape Canaveral, Florida; and Peterson AFB Colorado Springs will remain reasonable alternative locations for the U.S. Space Command headquarters. The preferred and reasonable alternative locations were chosen from among 24 states that were evaluated as potential locations for hosting the headquarters.

The Department of the Air Force anticipates making a final decision for the location of U.S. Space Command Headquarters in spring 2023, pending the results from the required environmental impact analysis.

Peterson AFB remains the provisional headquarters until the permanent location is ready to support the mission.
Washington state identifies 6 potential sites for new airport
Washington – The Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission released a report that outlines the future of the state’s aviation industry.

Among the report’s recommendations are a preliminary list of six sites for a future airport with expansion potential and a proposal to meet near-term aviation demand at two or more existing airports while the work to locate a new airport progresses. Current modeling projects that demand at Seattle Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) will exceed capacity by 2027.

The six preliminary airport sites are Arlington Municipal Airport, Bremerton National Airport, Paine Field (Snohomish County Airport), Sanderson Field Airport (Shelton), Tacoma Narrows Airport (Gig Harbor), and Ed Carlson Memorial Field (South Lewis County Airport). These airports could meet some of the demand for air passenger service, air cargo operations, and general aviation.

Olympia Regional Airport and McChord Field possess potential for additional capacity, but both lack sponsor support, according to the report.

The commission developed six site selection factors in compiling the preliminary list:
  • Available land. 
  • Existing facilities. 
  • Environmental constraints. 
  • Proximity to population centers. 
  • Airport sponsor. 
  • Multimodal transportation. 

Created by the Legislature in July 2019, the commission also is seeking to extend its final recommendation deadline from 2022 to 2024.
Civil engineers identify $5.6B infrastructure investment gap
Washington, D.C. – A $5.6 trillion investment gap in infrastructure spending looms on the horizon by 2039 unless the U.S. contributes $281 billion more per year, according to a new report. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released the 2021 Report: Economic Impacts of Status Quo Investment Across Infrastructure Systems that emphasizes such an investment would protect: 
  • $10 trillion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), nearly half of the annual U.S. GDP in 2019.  
  • More than $23 trillion in total output (primarily business sales). 
  • More than 3 million jobs in 2039.  
  • More than $3,300 in a family’s annual disposable income each year from 2020 to 2039. 

ASCE compared current and projected needs for infrastructure investment against the current funding trends in: surface transportation; water and wastewater; electricity; and airports, seaports, and inland waterways. 

Projections include costs of building new infrastructure where necessary, such as transmission lines or water treatment plants, and for maintaining or rebuilding existing infrastructure that needs repair or replacement. 

The total documented cumulative investment gap between projected needs and likely investment in these critical major infrastructure systems is more than $2.6 trillion by 2029, and more than $5.6 trillion by 2039. 

The analysis in this report relies on baseline data that predates the COVID-19 pandemic. Data sets and economic models generally lag one to three years behind the present day. As a result, a full set of economic data does not yet account for COVID-19 impacts. However, a key assumption for this study is that there will be a bounce back over the course of this 20-year analysis. 
Counties planning passenger rail lines in southern Montana
Montana – The newly formed Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority is set to take more foundational steps at its January 20 meeting that will shape the organization’s efforts to build passenger rail lines in the southern part of the state.

An Amtrak government affairs director is scheduled to speak at the authority’s meeting at which the board will consider developing a strategic planning framework and adding more counties to the organization.

Twelve Montana counties united to establish the authority with the purpose of connecting Montana for passenger, agricultural, and industrial rail service. The new authority is empowered with autonomous jurisdiction and will be able to accept federal grant funding.

County officials envision restoring passenger rail service to connect Spokane, Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, and Miles City. Later expansions could launch north-south service between Butte and Salt Lake City and Billings and Denver. Enhancements to existing track infrastructure and additions of double track in some sections would be required.

At the inaugural Montana Passenger Rail Summit in September 2020, leaders from the state, region, and across the country convened virtually to discuss the economic benefits of expanded passenger rail service and opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s).
SIUE's $105M Health Science Building advances to design phase
Illinois – The state’s Capital Development Board (CDB) has advanced the $105 million Health Science Building (HSB) to the preliminary design phase for the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) campus.

Board members released $10.54 million in planning funds in January 2020 to create preliminary designs for the approximately 221,000-square-foot building.

The HSB will house the university’s School of Pharmacy, a School of Nursing, and various SIUE health science programs, particularly in Applied Health.

It will provide modern classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, faculty offices, administrative spaces, and student resource and study spaces. It would increase nursing student capacity and increase the size of the nursing school’s simulation laboratory.

As part of the HSB project, renovations and modifications are expected for the existing pharmacy school buildings and the surrounding proposed site in University Park, such as parking lots, sidewalks, pathways and roadways. The HSB will include considerations for seismic loads and must achieve LEED silver.
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport set to issue RFQ for development
Arizona – The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority is scheduled to release a request for qualifications (RFQ) on January 21 for a master developer to execute the authority’s plans for the GatewayEast project.

The 400-acre mixed use non-aeronautical development is situated adjacent to Ellsworth Road, the expanding SR 24, and the Loop 202 San Tan Freeway. The authority is inviting experienced large-scale developers nationwide to participate in the procurement. Gateway Airport is planning a new airport terminal for the east side of the airport as well.

A request for proposals is scheduled for early May.

Development on the east of the airport will complement projects on its south end.

Two years ago, the authority entered into a long-term master developer agreement to develop 360 acres of mostly aeronautical land located at the south end of the airport. Since that time, SkyBridge Arizona was born and the developer has constructed a 53,000-square-foot industrial building, an 82,500-square-foot hangar, and is in the planning process for a 127-room dual brand hotel.
Colorado DOT seeking construction estimation system solution
Colorado – The state’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) released a request for information (RFI) for construction estimation systems.

CDOT is looking for a web-based/cloud-based construction estimation system that is used at another state department of transportation. This system will provide overall functionality of a variety of estimation methodologies including bid-based, cost-based, reference-based, parametric estimation, ad hoc pricing, and collection bases to perform estimates. 

The system must provide assessment and assignment of the risk contingency, life cycle analysis tools, expansion of existing import/export capabilities, the inclusion of non-bid costs, non-construction costs and markups, and the ability to use snapshots in creating an audit trail of estimates. It must have the ability to run bid-history pricing analysis for planning discussions. 

Additional areas of functionality should include: 
  • Lump sum items automatically based on formulas. 
  • Configurable production rates. 
  • Comparison of alternate design options (i.e. HMA vs Concrete). 
  • Electronic integration of project drawings to automate cost estimates. 
  • Life-cycle cost analysis. 
  • Effects of seasonal pricing. 
  • Configuration of bid history for data to arrive at best average-datum price. 
  • Varying quantity abilities (i.e. incorporate economy of scale). 
  • Offline data entry abilities. 

RFI submissions are due by January 29. Submitted responses will be summarized and used as a foundation for discussion during an RFI Industry Meeting in February.
Grand Haven considers riverfront redevelopment
Michigan – The Grand Haven City Council reviewed a proposed master plan for a riverfront development in the city’s downtown that would feature a market, recreation and open spaces, and small retail uses.

Consultants presented the “Beyond the Pier” concept to councilmembers for redeveloping the former Chinook Pier retail center with a mix of residential homes, a parking structure, incubator shops including retail and food trucks, and reconfiguring Franklin Avenue into a two-way street.

The proposal features ideas for year-round use of the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium and a gateway building to anchor the project.

City consultants said they anticipate completing a business strategy and action plan in February and releasing a request for qualifications (RFQ) by March.
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. State Department selected Matthew Graviss as its first chief data officer. Graviss most recently served as chief data officer for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Before that, he held positions with the Transporation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

California – Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Rita Saenz as director of the California Employment Development Department. Saenz most recently was a consultant from 2016 to 2020 after several positions in the private sector. Prior to that, she served in several positions in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and was director of the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

North Carolina – The Charlottesville City Council appointed Chip Boyles as its new city manager on January 14. He will take over for John Blair who accepted a position as city attorney for the city of Staunton. Boyles is the executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. Before that, he was urban development director in the Mayor’s Office of the City/Parish of Baton Rouge.

Oregon – The Port of Toledo Commission named Lorna Davis as general manager. She will succeed Port Manager Bud Shoemake who is retiring. Davis most recently served as a sales manager for Travel Oregon. Prior to that, she was the executive director of the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce.

Illinois – The Sangamon Mass Transit District board of trustees selected Steve Schoeffel as its managing director. He took over for Frank Squires who is retiring. Schoeffel most recently served as the agency’s deputy director. Before that, he was a planner at the district.

Washington – The Central Washington University board of trustees selected Dr. James Wohlpart as the university’s president. He will succeed James Gaudino who is scheduled to retire in July. Wohlpart currently serves as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Northern Iowa. Prior to that, he was dean of undergraduate studies at Florida Gulf Coast University.
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