Volume 15, Issue 4 - Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The new year will usher in thousands of

technology modernization projects in America

By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Last year, Congress allocated $1 billion in funding to support technology modernization projects. States, counties, cities and educational institutions are now receiving funding and $100 million flowed to modernization projects at the state and local levels of government last month alone. The funding will support long-overdue efforts to modernize technology systems, secure networks, enhance efficiency and expand the public’s access to services. 

The surge in funding has led to intensive planning for modernization projects. Public officials have signed off on planning documents and contracting partners are already in high demand. The need for collaboration will escalate quickly in the coming months and continue for the next several years because modernizing public sector technology will not be quick.

A $12.9 million project at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in Texas is scheduled to launch in 2023. Initial plans outline an investment of $6 million to modernize an expansive archive of legal records. The agency plans to migrate thousands of records from several legal divisions within the agency to a consolidated case management platform. The data can then be shared across all legal divisions to improve operational efficiency. The effort will also allow for enhanced security. Beginning in 2024, request for proposals (RFPs) will be issued and agency officials will begin selecting contractors and service providers to consolidate and migrate 14 different case management systems. The case modernization project will ultimately require more than $12 million in funding. The project will include funding for professional services as well because of ongoing understaffing issues at the agency. 

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University of Iowa announces more

than $1B in construction projects

The University of Iowa Health Care (UIHC) recently announced more than $1 billion in new construction projects underway or upcoming, including a $525.6 million hospital in North Liberty. Other projects include a $95 million vertical expansion of its existing inpatient tower, currently in the planning phases with expectations of completion in 2025. Also included is a $24.6 million renovation of its emergency room. The emergency room renovation and expansion would be in two phases.

Construction on its north side begins in February and wraps up in November 2024. Work on its south side would start in May and finish in April 2024. An $8 million project to convert the second level of UIHC’s south wing into 13 inpatient rooms also is being planned. 

Through at least 2029, UIHC expects to spend more than $620.9 million building a new inpatient tower on the main campus — a cost that doesn’t include expenses this year or in fiscal 2029. UIHC officials have cited crowded corridors, patient rooms, operating suites and waiting spaces to support the need for more facilities and construction on its main campus and across the community and region. 

UIHC also wants to spend $2.3 million building a new ophthalmology simulation lab on a lower level of its Parking Ramp 4. The project will renovate storage space for a wet lab where students could conduct dissections and other simulated surgical procedures. University officials have proposed spending $212 million over the next five years on a new modern health care research facility scheduled to start in 2024 and end in 2027. 

Westside infrastructure and equipment-related projects include four hospital elevator modernization projects. The first project, estimated to cost $5.6 million, would upgrade three elevators with new control systems, doors, cables, call buttons and other amenities. An initiative to upgrade HVAC systems throughout the Medical Laboratories building is expected to cost $4.5 million. 

(Photo: Courtesy University of Iowa.)

Missouri governor introduces major investment in infrastructure

The governor of Missouri is proposing a $51.6 billion state budget with $14.3 billion in spending from the general revenue fund. The governor wants to spend nearly $1 billion to widen Interstate 70 in congested areas while seeking federal funding to complete the job statewide. The governor’s budget proposal is asking for $859 million from the more than $5 billion surplus general revenue to expand a 20-mile stretch of the highway. The plan would expand six lanes from St. Louis to Warrenton, Kansas City to Odessa, and extend both East and West from Columbia. I-70 is one of the most traveled stretches of highway in Missouri. 

The proposal is just a piece of a project Missouri Department of Transportation officials estimate would cost $2.7 billion if I-70 was widened statewide. The governor also wants to add $379 million for other highway and transit projects. 

In the proposed budget, the governor also is asking for $35 million to fund a program dedicated to railroad crossing safety improvements. The request follows an Amtrak crash near Mendon last year. As part of the program, the state will partner with local communities and railroad companies to identify crossings that need improvement. There are hundreds of unprotected crossings across the country that have been put on lists for safety improvements. 

Other major initiatives in the budget include more than $400 million for higher education which includes $272.4 million for construction projects and $25 million to prepare the state for semiconductor manufacturing. 

Almost $700 million would be allotted for infrastructure, with $379 million for state highways and $247.7 million for broadband expansion. 

(Photo: Courtesy of Missouri Department of Transportation.)

New York governor introduces first light

rail line for Interborough Express project 

The governor of New York announced on Jan. 10 in a 2023 State of the State address that the Interborough Express project will move forward using light rail following a Planning and Environmental Linkages study by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). Light rail can operate on both dedicated tracks and city streets with tramlike passenger cars smaller than the average subway car. The project will connect Brooklyn and Queens on an existing Long Island Railroad (LIRR) freight right-of-way that will connect 17 subway lines and LIRR passenger service. 

The MTA will be responsible for building and operating the 14-mile light rail line. A timeline for the $5.5 billion project has yet to be detailed, but MTA officials had estimated completion of the project will likely take from three to five years.  

Queens station sites considered in the planning study include Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Service to and from Brooklyn would include stations in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York and Bushwick.

(Photo: A rendering of the light rail proposal for the Interborough Express. Courtesy of MTA.)

New Jersey to distribute $228M in Hurricane Ida recovery funds

New Jersey is moving ahead with plans to spend $228 million in disaster funds to help cover damages caused by Hurricane Ida, which destroyed the state nearly two years ago. The approval of New Jersey’s Hurricane Ida Action Plan by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will allow the state to restore Ida-damaged homes; support hardest hit and financially strained communities; buy out homes in communities vulnerable to repetitive flooding; and finance resilient infrastructure projects throughout New Jersey to protect the state from future storms. 

A portion of the action plan calls for: 

  • $54 million for the Resilient Communities Program. This competitive program will provide funding to local governments in those counties most impacted and distressed by Hurricane Ida for infrastructure projects. 
  • $16 million for the Blue Acres Program, which involves the voluntary buyout of residential properties located in floodways and floodplains to reduce the risk from future flooding. Buyout properties will be voluntarily sold to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for current fair market value and converted to open space, recreation, or wetlands.  
  • $5 million for the Resilient New Jersey Program, which will make direct allocations to units comprised of local governments, regional teams and consultant teams to support local and regional resilience planning. The program will build on the existing efforts of Resilient NJ, a climate resilience planning, guidance and technical assistance program set up following Superstorm Sandy to support local and regional climate resilience planning. 
  • $4 million for FEMA Non-Federal Cost Share. This program will fund the non-federal cost share faced by state government and local governments that rehabilitate damaged public infrastructure systems and/or build new systems under FEMA’s Public Assistance program. 

University of Minnesota proposes $1B replacement

hospital on East Bank of Twin Cities’ campus

As part of its systemwide strategic plan, MPact 2025, the University of Minnesota is seeking opportunities for partnerships with health systems that will maximize its statewide impact in health care innovations and research. The university has made several goals, which include acquiring medical facilities, increasing funding and building a new hospital on campus. 

The university is seeking state and community investments to upgrade medical facilities that bridge the present medical centers to a new hospital that would encompass several blocks. The new hospital will be located on the Twin Cities’ East Bank campus and will take at least five years to develop, costing approximately $1 billion. Necessary public funding has not been secured, so more cost estimates and detailed planning need to occur before construction can begin. The university is looking for support from the governor, the state legislature and community leaders to help fund this vision. The university expects to staff the new hospital with 1,500 physicians and health professionals who are currently working on campus. 

The university plans to own, govern and control all existing health care facilities on the Twin Cities campus, which Fairview Health Services currently owns. Without Fairview, the medical center could lose up to $80 million worth of support annually. The university's medical center is a teaching hospital that was struggling financially until Fairview bought it some 25 years ago. The school plans on buying back its health care facilities from Fairview Health Services. In November, Fairview Health Services, a Minneapolis-based health system, announced plans to merge with Sanford Health, which is based in South Dakota. It's a move some people are criticizing. 

(Photo: Courtesy of University of Minnesota.)

Metro Transit system takes safety to

next level with Secure Platform Plan

Illinois - Commuters of east St. Louis will benefit from a new $13.6 million public safety center at the Emerson Park Transit Center. The two-story, 16,000-square-foot facility will house the Metro Operation Control Center, a new St. Clair County 911 dispatch unit, office space for MetroLink county sheriff deputies and public restrooms for commuters. The center is expected to open next February.

The safety center is one of many safety improvements planned for the transit agency. Last year, MetroLink announced plans for “secure platforms” with added gates. The Secure Platform Plan (SPP) will greatly enhance customer convenience, and the transit experience, by creating centralized, highly secure customer entrances at all 38 MetroLink stations. Stations at Emerson Park, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center and Washington Park and College near Southwestern Illinois’ campus will see the first secure platforms. Solicitations for construction on secure platforms are expected to be released in the coming months. Once started, the construction portion of the project is expected to take 24 to 30 months to complete. The total estimated cost is $52 million.

Each station will include:

  • Fare collection gates.
  • New ticket/fare purchasing system with expanded mobile and payment solutions.
  • Card readers and ticket vending machines.
  • Passenger Assist Telephones.
  • Facial recognition capabilities.
  • Additional fencing.
  • Security cameras monitored from a real-time camera center.

(Photo: A conceptual rendering of the Secure Platform Plan.)

Port of Inola wastewater treatment plant ready for design phase

Oklahoma - The city of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority was awarded a $22.3 million grant in September 2022 for the Port of Inola Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant. The money was part of $38.2 million the Tulsa region received as one of 21 recipients of a Build Back Better Regional Challenge.  

The Port of Inola project is estimated to cost a total of $27.9 million, with Tulsa Ports paying the $5.58 million balance. The Inola plant will be in a 2,400-acre industrial park at the port. 

On Jan. 19, the port authority board approved engineering services for the plant. This is the first step before requesting federal approval to proceed with construction. Schematic design for the plant will take approximately eight months showing it can treat about 3.1 million gallons of water per day (MGD), with plans for an ultimate capacity of 20 MGD. 

Port officials want to build the wastewater treatment plant to possibly lure additional manufacturing plants to the Tulsa Port of Inola’s Industrial Park.

(Photo: Courtesy of Tulsa Ports.)

$20M Bud Metheny Ballpark renovation moves forward

Virginia - Old Dominion University (ODU) has selected an architectural firm to design the $20 million Bud Metheny Ballpark baseball stadium renovation and expansion. 

The stadium, which opened in 1983, no longer complies with National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) minimum standards. Because of this, ODU authorized a feasibility study that recommended renovating the stadium. 

Envisioned in the study, the stadium will have new locker rooms and offices, improved sightlines, a larger press box and expanded restrooms and concessions. Behind home plate will encompass new chairback seating as well as a premium club that will carry donor’s names. 

The club would have luxury seating, big screen televisions, upscale concessions, and an entrance to a covered outdoor terrace with standup tables, chairback seats and patio heaters for early-season games in February and March. The most visible portion of the stadium, the back façade, will be encased in “ODU brick”, an orange brick used for most university facilities, as well as blue steel. 

After the study was complete, university officials began fundraising and have acquired nearly $18 million of the $20 million goal. Once the school reaches that mark, however, fundraising will continue for future stadium improvements. 

(Photo: Courtesy Old Dominion University.)

Maryland counties seek proposals for ferry system

Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) and five Maryland counties – Ann Arundel, Calvert, Queen Anne’s, Somerset and St. Mary’s – have published a request for proposals for ferry service on Chesapeake Bay. The proposals are for studies that will explore the financial and operational viability and economic impact of a passenger ferry system potentially connecting up to 18 destinations of the Maryland section of the bay. 

The primary locations the studies will rank are Annapolis, Galesville, Chesapeake Beach, St. Mary’s City, Leonardtown, Crisfield, Matapeake, Kent Narrows and Baltimore. The secondary ones include Solomons, Cambridge, St. Michaels, Easton, Rock Hall, Chestertown, Chesapeake City, North East and Havre de Grace. The focus is on destinations that have the infrastructure needed to support the ferry service with hopes that at least some are ripe for ferry departure and arrivals. 

The deadline for proposals is Feb. 15, with VAAAC aiming to select a consultant within 40 days. The plan is to release the results of the study to the public in June. 

University of St. Thomas announces

record breaking, $75M donation

Marking the largest donation ever given to a Minnesota university, the University of St. Thomas has received a $75 million lead naming gift to construct a multiuse, on-campus arena in St. Paul. The arena will be home to its Division I men’s and women’s hockey and basketball programs. 

The arena is being envisioned as the new home for commencement ceremonies, academic convocations, speakers, career fairs and other special events for the university and broader community. It also would provide St. Thomas with opportunities to partner with local schools, youth sports organizations, nonprofits, businesses and other organizations. 

Designs are still being finalized but the gift will officially kick off fundraising with the project estimated to cost $175 million. University officials aim to break ground on the university’s south campus in 2024 with a target opening of fall 2025. 

(Photo: Courtesy of the University of St. Thomas.)

City of Ames updates $309 Capital Improvement Plan

Iowa - The city of Ames has reviewed updates for its proposed $309 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that will cover the next five years. The CIP proposes $33 million to be spent on the Fitch Family Indoor Aquatic Center. Funds will also go toward projects like the ADA transition plan for parks and playground equipment replacements at 13 parks.  

Transportation will receive $125 million to help reduce carbon emissions. The city’s CyRide fleet will be upgraded with seven electric buses, sixteen 40-foot buses and five administrative vehicles. There will also be improvements to the intelligent transportation system application and traffic system capacity. Transportation funds will support several road construction projects and CyRide route pavement improvements. The James Herman Banning Ames Municipal Airport would install wildlife fencing, demolish the vacant terminal building, replace the internal road system, restore taxiways and rehabilitate drainage. 

The utility portion of the CIP will distribute $146 million toward stormwater, sewer, electric, water and resource recovery utilities. Some of the turbine units at the power plant need to be addressed as well as installing fire suppression systems. There is a proposed 5-million-gallon reservoir that would add additional redundancy in case of a natural disaster. The plan also invests in watershed-based nutrient reduction, which is a result of an Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) mandate to reduce specific nutrients. 

(Photo: Courtesy city of Ames.)

Tampa’s Riverwalk expansion continues 

Florida - Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a $24 million grant to the city of Tampa to expand the Riverwalk and link it to neighborhoods west of the Hillsborough River. The city plans to post a solicitation for a design-build contractor.  

The 6-mile expansion will provide a more complete street with protected bike lanes. The project will also include trail segments running through Ridgewood Park. Other upgrades include enhanced flashing pedestrian crossings, sidewalk upgrades, new lighting and restoring native shorelines.  

While much of the new loop will travel through streets and neighborhoods, more than two miles of it will run directly along the west bank of the Hillsborough River. That new trail will take walkers, cyclists and runners along the water with the historic University of Tampa campus. Once complete, it will be a 12.2-mile path/trail as part of the nationwide Vision Zero initiative. 

The total project cost is approximately $30 million. The plan is to have it up and running by December 2026. 

(Photo: Courtesy of Friends of the Riverwalk.)


Florida - The Palm Springs City Council has chosen Scott Stiles as the new city manager. Stiles will replace Justin Clifton, who left the role in September after a year on the job. He is currently the city manager for Garden Grove in Orange County. Prior to that role, which he accepted in 2015, Stiles was the interim and assistant city manager in Cincinnati. 

Nevada - The state Transportation Board of Directors has appointed Tracy Larkin-Thomason as the director of the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). Larkin-Thomason officially assumed her new role as director on Jan. 17. She most recently served as the senior vice president of program development for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) in Washington, D.C. 

Wyoming - Sheridan County named Robert Gill as airport manager for Sheridan County Airport (SHR). In this position, Gill is responsible for planning, directing and managing all activities of the airport. He began his new position on Jan. 1. Gill joined SHR 12 years ago. He previously served as airport training coordinator and airport maintenance technician.  

New York - Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, a leading economist whose career has focused on public policy and academia, will become president of Columbia University on July 1. She will be succeeding President Lee C. Bollinger who announced he would be stepping down in August 2022. Shafik has led the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) since 2017. 

North Carolina - Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) has appointed Jamar Jones to serve as chief information officer (CIO) effective Feb. 1. Jones joins ECSU after serving as director of Information Technology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Government. As CIO, he will manage the IT team members in serving the campus, achieving the university’s strategic goals and collaborating with strategic stakeholders to lead ECSU into digital transformation.  

California - The city of Mississauga has selected Cielo Medel as the new director of information technology and chief information officer, effective Jan. 30. Prior to joining the city of Mississauga, Medel served as the director of operations support services at the city of Toronto. He will oversee six key areas of operations that focus on the innovation, development, maintenance and security of the city’s IT business applications, services and infrastructure.  

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About Government Contracting Pipeline

Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers

Editors: Kristin Gordon

             Claire Robertson      


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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