Volume 13, Issue 2 - Wednesday, January 13, 2021
$14B in relief funding coming to transportation systems
Washington, D.C. – The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced $14 billion in funding allocations to transportation systems on January 11 from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) of 2021.

FTA is allocating $13.26 billion to large and small urban areas, $678.2 million to rural areas and tribes, and $50 million for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities. The supplemental funding will be provided at 100 percent federal share, with no local match required.

The act directs recipients to prioritize payroll and operational needs as well as expenses traditionally eligible under the relevant program.

Urban areas of populations greater than 1 million will receive a total of $12.31 billion with New York getting $3.99 billion, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area getting $954.9 million, and the Washington, D.C.-Virginia-Maryland area accepting $830.71 million.

San Francisco-Oakland will receive $822.68 million, Seattle will get more than $565.95 million, the Chicago-Indiana area will accept $486.2 million, and the Boston-New Hampshire-Rhode Island area will get $309.55 million.

Cities and metropolitan areas with populations of 200,000 to 999,999 will receive a total of $745.54 million. Of those, Honolulu will receive the most funding of $91.55 million. New Haven, Connecticut will get $53.34 million, Buffalo will accept $43.18 million, and New Orleans will collect $34.93 million.

Cities with 50,000 to 199,999 residents will receive $208.59 million total.
Sound Transit estimates proposed projects will cost $6.2B more
Washington – Sound Transit is close to procuring an independent cost estimate assessment for several capital projects that have increased in estimated costs by up to $6.2 billion total from 2019 projections.

The pandemic’s effects combined with growing populations, real estate appreciation, and increased right-of-way costs have required Sound Transit to modify its designs and update its cost estimates.

Preliminary analysis of the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions project estimates an increase of about $4 billion for the construction of a new tunnel through the West Coast’s densest urban environment north of San Francisco, as well as crossing the Ballard Ship Canal and Duwamish Waterway. The recent estimates that will undergo independent review reflect increased property costs of $2.13 billion, or an increase of 263 percent from 2019 projections.

Plans for the Operations and Maintenance Facility South include three potential sites. The updated estimates that will be independently reviewed include increases over the 2019 estimates of $424 million for the South 336th Street site option, $360 million to $365 million for the South 344th Street site alternative, and $478 million to $1.1 billion for the design options at the Midway Landfill site.

While estimates for many elements of the Tacoma Dome Link Extension project remain consistent with the 2019 estimates, the advancement of the design for this project has identified adjustments resulting in a cost estimate increase of $300,000, for both design options under consideration.

Sound Transit officials anticipate sharing the findings of the cost estimate assessment with board members in April. Updated cost and revenue assumptions will be developed for the realignment process.
Michigan county issues RFI for transportation dashboard
Michigan – The Macomb County Department of Roads issued a request for information (RFI) on deploying a countywide transportation system and program dashboard.

County officials desire a data exchange platform that functions as a dashboard to integrate numerous transportation data sources into a single interface. The new dashboard would enable the department to monitor its transportation system and programs in real time.

Information is being solicited from vendors interested in providing a data management system, analytics platform, and dashboards for transportation infrastructure and operations.

The department has been modernizing traffic signals with advanced traffic signal controllers and adding travel time and speed measuring devices to provide real-time data, along with connected vehicle roadside units.

Macomb County is home to the Innovate Mound project that is establishing a transformative corridor of the future, using innovations throughout planning, design, construction, and ongoing operations and maintenance. The corridor will serve as an example of the future of mobility and as a test bed for emerging technologies that can improve safety and convenience in transportation.

The deadline for RFI responses is 4 p.m. EST on January 29.
Army Corps recommends $1.9B Upper Barataria levee
Louisiana – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers re-released the Upper Barataria Basin, Louisiana Feasibility Study with an integrated environmental impact statement that proposes the construction of a new levee.

The new report proposes a 30.6-mile alignment built to current hurricane and storm damage risk reduction specifications at a project elevation of 14 feet, relative to current ground conditions, from Luling to Raceland.

Engineers developed two alternatives to better protect the area – one to build a 7.5-foot-tall levee with overtopping estimated to cost $514 million and the other projected at $1.9 billion that would erect a 16- to 18.5-foot elevation levee alignment.

Upper Barataria Basin contains 25,000 structures, and around 3,600 could be at risk of coastal storm damage. The 800-square-mile study area is defined by the Mississippi River Levee to the north, Bayou Lafourche to the south, and extends from Donaldsonville to just past US Highway 90.

It includes a 270-foot barge gate across Bayou Des Allemands, which would be closed during tropical events. The system outlined in this report would provide a minimum of 100-year level of risk reduction, or a storm surge that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year.
Oklahoma authority issues RFI for energy center solar project
Oklahoma – The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) issued a request for information (RFI) to assist in evaluating the feasibility of a utility scale photovoltaic solar project at GRDA’s Grand River Energy Center (GREC) in Chouteau.

The purpose of this RFI is to solicit cost, technical, and performance information for development of a PV solar project under both power purchase agreement and build-transfer structures.

GREC consists of two coal-fired units, GREC Unit 1 and GREC Unit 2 and one gas-fired combined cycle unit, GREC Unit 3. The three units are nominally rated at 500 MW each. GREC Unit 1 stopped operating in 2017 and was scheduled to be fully retired at the end of 2020. GREC Unit 2 continues to operate.

Although the primary purpose of this solicitation is to seek information for potential development of a solar project at the center, GRDA will consider information related to battery storage paired with PV solar.

GRDA has approximately 650 acres of land available for development at the site. It owns and operates 1,215 miles of transmission lines and the distribution system serving the Mid-America Industrial Park.

The deadline for RFI submissions is 4:45 p.m. CST on February 1.
USDOT reaches $766M grant agreement for Portal North Bridge
New Jersey – The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) reached a $766.5 million Capital Investment Grant (CIG) agreement with the New Jersey Transit Corporation for the $1.89 billion Portal North Bridge Project.

By increasing capacity and reducing bridge maintenance expenses of the 100-year-old bridge, New Jersey Transit will improve the reliability of commuter rail service between New Jersey and New York.

The two-track span is a “movable” railroad swing-bridge that spans the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus, New Jersey. The structure is a major bottleneck and source of delay, particularly when the aging mechanical components malfunction when opening and closing for maritime traffic.

New Jersey Transit will construct a new high-level, two-track fixed structure railroad bridge to replace the aging bridge. The overall construction project will be approximately 2.44 miles in length, including a 3,660-foot-long approach span located on the west side of the river, a 2,540-foot-long approach span on the east side of the river, and a 1,200-foot-long center span crossing directly over the Hackensack River.
Texas cities top corporate, consumer moving destinations in 2020
Illinois – Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, and North Carolina were the top five destination states for corporate moves in 2020, according to the annual Magnet States Report released by a moving and specialized transportation services company. These five states continue to be the highest volume destination states in line with trends from 2019.

The top corporate move destination city is Houston for two years in a row. Most moves to Houston came from Chicago, Baton Rouge, Atlanta, Los Angeles-Long Beach, and Denver.

For consumer moves, the top destination state was Florida followed by Texas, California, Arizona, and North Carolina.

Austin, Texas remains the top destination city for consumers for the second year in a row with most moves coming from California cities of San Jose, Los-Angeles-Long Beach, San Diego, and San Francisco as well as from Chicago.

Denver moved up from its No. 3 spot in 2019 to the No. 2 spot in 2020, switching places with Chicago that fell to the No. 3 position.

The Magnet States Report data align with Census Bureau estimates reported in April 2020 that counties in the South and West lead the country in population growth.

Analysis determined the most popular month for the company’s corporate moves was June, and the most popular day of the week to move was Friday. For consumers, the top month to move was July and the most popular day of the week to move was Monday.
Wayne County Airport Authority plans spring RFBs
Michigan – The Wayne County Airport Authority is preparing to issue several requests for bids (RFBs) this spring for airfield construction projects at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport County (DTW) and Willow Run Airport (YIP).

In March, the authority plans to issue a RFB for the rehabilitation of the McNamara Terminal apron at DTW. Work will involve gates A1 through A35 and taxilanes J7 and J8. Construction is anticipated to begin in May.

A RFB is expected in May for the reconstruction of Taxiway Y north of Runway 9L/27R at DTW. Construction is set to begin in March 2022. The authority is anticipating partial funding for this project from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants.

For the Willow Run Airport, the authority intends to release a RFB in April for the reconstruction of Runway 9/27. Construction is scheduled to start in March 2022. Partial funding from FAA grants is anticipated.

The authority intends to conduct a contractor outreach meeting related to these airfield project solicitations in February. More than $922 million in capital projects at Detroit Metropolitan Airport are included in the authority’s Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2020-2024.
Jefferson Parish releases RFI for Fat City development ideas
Louisiana – Greater New Orleans Inc. (GNO) issued a request for information (RFI) regarding innovative development ideas for an area within the Fat City neighborhood located in Metairie, Louisiana.

“Fat City” was primarily built in the early 1970s as a planned second “French Quarter” for the New Orleans region, but over time it began to deteriorate. The establishment of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district kickstarted efforts to revitalize the area.

The 134-acre neighborhood is in Metairie’s central business district and retail heart of Jefferson Parish. It is adjacent to Lakeside Shopping Center. The area under consideration for development is bordered by West Esplanade Avenue on the north, Severn Avenue on the east, Veterans Boulevard on the south, and Division Street on the West. Edenborn and Hessmer avenues and North Arnoult Road run north-to-south within the area, and 18th Street runs east-to-west through the center of Fat City.

In past development-related discussions, stakeholders developed a concept for an anchor building that interacts with a recreational park and includes a Fat City tech library. Other amenities would include a technology engagement lab, a tinkers’ workshop, meeting spaces and community gathering rooms, business incubator spaces, hot-desk and co-working spaces, government and business satellite offices, a workforce connection office, and a public parking deck.

Specific priorities for the area include:
  • Recreational park. 
  • Library space. 
  • Event spaces and community gathering spots. 
  • Public parking. 

GNO and its partners - Jefferson Parish, the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO), and the Metairie Business Development District (MBDD) - are seeking interest and qualifications from experienced development teams and other interested parties to work in partnership with Jefferson Parish and others to design and construct an appropriate Fat City project and to then operate the site’s developed facility or facilities in conjunction with any overlapping government interests.

RFI responses are due by 5 p.m. CST on February 22.
Joplin council exploring options for Memorial Hall renovation
Missouri – Joplin councilmembers are considering consultants’ recommendation for a $25 million full renovation of Memorial Hall that could be funded by a combination of public-private partnerships (P3s), Historic Tax Credits, and private donations.

The consultants’ feasibility study advised the city to renovate the structure built in 1925 as a war veteran memorial. A partial roof collapse closed the building in June 2020, and since then it has not been utilized for any public gatherings or events.

Proposed features include:
  • New functional dock and service area. 
  • Demolition and removal of existing ramp. 
  • New grand stair and accessible ramp. 
  • New covered dock. 
  • New service elevator. 
  • HVAC overhaul. 
  • Accessible parking lot. 
  • Roof and roof structure replacement. 

The community indicated a desire for meeting spaces and performing arts space for capacities of 1,000 to 2,000 people. Other proposed amenities include space for indoor recreation, fitness-wellness classes, sports programming, cheerleading and dance, and continued and expanded veteran recognition.

In addition, the consultants recommend an 8,500-square-foot building addition on the hall’s west side and directly connected to the auditorium floor level. The addition would include a multi-purpose recreation space, large event or banquet space, warming or catering kitchen, and the ability to operate separately or jointly with Memorial Hall.

The construction delivery method recommended for the project is Construction Manager at Risk with preconstruction services.
Leesburg Executive Airport preparing $8.2M land development
Virginia – The Leesburg Executive Airport, which reported more takeoffs and landings for all but two months in 2020 than in 2019, is planning an $8.21 million land development.

Based on the forecasts of aviation demand, airport officials anticipate they will need to begin developing the west side of the airport to accommodate the projected growth in based aircraft.

Proposed airport development west of the runway will require vehicular access from Compass Creek Parkway, which is under construction and immediately west of airport property. Entrance along this roadway will accommodate the airport vehicular traffic and allow direct access to the Dulles Greenway.

Project start is scheduled for 2024 with completion in 2028. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to contribute $6.31 million to the development.

Other capital projects and their statuses are:
  • Airport Remote Tower Control Room – Negotiating logistics and scope.  
  • Runway 17 extension - Extend the runway for approximately 500 linear feet to accommodate larger aircraft. The project is part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Town Master Plan for the airport. Significant funding to be provided by FAA and the Virginia Department of Aviation.  
  • South Apron Expansion Phase II - This project is the final phase of the South Apron Development project. It is contiguous with the recently completed South Apron Expansion Phase I and the South Apron Hangar project. It includes incidental development of additional aircraft tie-downs, wash rack, and relocation of the existing fuel farm. 

Owned and operated by the town of Leesburg, the airport is the second busiest general aviation airport in Virginia. It is a designated reliever airport for Washington-Dulles International Airport.
Fort Collins seeking RFI responses for mobile parking app
Colorado – The city of Fort Collins released a request for information (RFI) to solicit input from vendors prior to a possible future procurement by the city of a mobile parking app.

Fort Collins is seeking an app that integrates with the city’s existing mobile license plate recognition system as well as with two commercial license plate recognition systems, and one credit card vending processor.

The system must provide parking patrons with a means of payment for a parking session at configurable intervals and rate schedules and at various locations such as parking structures, surface lots, and on-street public parking spaces.

It shall use the mobile wallet concept with a configurable minimum purchase amount and accept credit card information for the wallet.

The total public parking supply in the 48-block downtown area is 3,149 on-street and 1,697 off-street spaces, which represents about 50 percent of the total downtown.

RFI response submittals must be received by 3 p.m. MST on February 2. Fort Collins anticipates issuing a request for proposals in mid-2021 and selecting an app in late-2021.
California – The city of San Diego appointed Kirby Brady as its first chief innovation officer. Brady will continue as the city’s performance and analytics director. Before joining the city of San Diego, she spent four years working for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation where she oversaw the research efforts of the organization.

Georgia – The Forsyth County board of commissioners selected Kevin Tanner as the new county manager. He succeeds former County Manager Eric Johnson. Tanner brings more than 30 years of public service experience, including five as Dawson County manager. Most recently, he was a four-term state representative for District 9.

Washington – King County named Terry White as the general manager of King County Metro. He will take over for Rob Gannon who accepted a position in Montana. White previously served as interim general manager and deputy general manager of King County Metro. Before that, he was transportation planner, customer service administrator, communications superintendent, and managing director of bus operations.

Michigan – The city of East Grand Rapids selected Shea Charles as its new city manager. He will succeed Interim City Manager Doug La Fave who filled the position after the retirement of Brian Donovan. Charles most recently served as interim chief executive officer of the Michigan Municipal Services Authority. Prior to that, he was city manager for the city of Howell, Michigan.

Kansas – The state’s Department of Transportation (KDOT) named Carmen Bakarich as manager of special projects. Bakarich most recently served as manager of contract claims. She began at KDOT as a staff attorney and was later promoted to the Bureau of Construction and Materials.

Florida – The Naples Airport Authority appointed Justin Lobb as deputy director of aviation for the authority, effective January 18. Lobb most recently served as executive manager for Collier County Airport Authority. Prior to that, he worked for Sanford Airport Authority.
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Devin Monk, Editor
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