Volume 15, Issue 21 - Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The multi-trillion-dollar government marketplace is rarely impacted by economic uncertainty or market trends 

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

Even as a potential recession dampens the enthusiasm for commercial spending plans, the public sector continues to advance large, complex projects of record-breaking magnitude. This is partially because public officials have many funding options, and they are faced with critical infrastructure needs. Many are using alternative funding and innovative methods to deliver infrastructure projects of all types. The support for these more collaborative methods of delivery is now pervading every level of government.  

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced a new Public-Private Partnership (P3) Program three years ago to accelerate delivery of large, revenue-generating infrastructure projects. The program works with non-federal project sponsors to deliver infrastructure upgrades estimated to cost more than $50 million. The program provides federal support that includes coordinating action items, developing project management tools and streamlining collaboration among stakeholders. It also allows USACE to provide support to 10 projects each year that use the design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) method of delivery. Currently, four designated pilot projects are underway this year. 

The most recent projects (announced in March 2023) involve restoring 719 acres of ecosystem along the Los Angeles River in California. In addition to a 119% increase in habitat, the project will provide benefits to surrounding disadvantaged communities such as improved water quality, new recreational assets and an overall improvement in quality of life. With $253 million in estimated federal support, the project is projected to create 14,000 construction jobs and attract new visitors to the area. The procurement phase is tentatively scheduled to launch at the end of 2023. 


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Baltimore Council proposes Red Line and East-West transit corridor in 25-year plan

A reimagined Red Line transportation system has been proposed to connect Howard County to eastern Baltimore County, as part of a 25-year regional transportation plan released by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. The plan also includes a multibillion-dollar transit corridor connecting Towson to Baltimore City. The proposal aims to address concerns over the lack of progress in the region and the allocation of funds to other areas like the Washington DC region and the Purple Line. 

The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board, through the council's Resilience 2050 plan, has dedicated nearly $4 billion to two major transit lines, including the East-West Transit Corridor system. This comprehensive plan encompasses over 90 major transit projects, highlighting a roadmap for regional road and transit developments in central Maryland. 

The plan includes a total of 56 road and 36 transit projects, considered priorities by the regional governments, with an estimated cost exceeding $70 billion over the 25 years. Road projects primarily involve widening and improving existing thoroughfares, while transit projects encompass various initiatives. 

Among the proposed transit projects is an express bus line connecting Columbia to the National Security Agency (NSA) and Parole near Annapolis, at an estimated cost of $45 million. Another significant project is the construction of a $147 million interchange along Interstate 695 to support the redevelopment of the Sparrows Point area in southeastern Baltimore County. 

The plan also emphasizes the replacement of 95% of the existing Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) bus fleet with zero-emission vehicles by 2050. The initial phase aims to replace 50% of the 760-vehicle fleet by 2030, at an estimated cost of nearly $1.6 billion. The subsequent phase would bring the total replacement to 95%, incurring an additional cost of over $2.2 billion, which includes buses and the construction of charging facilities.


Additionally, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council envisions a north-south transit corridor connecting central Baltimore County to Baltimore City, covering a distance of 14 miles and potentially extending as far north as Lutherville and as far south as Port Covington. Similar to the east-west project, the specific path and mode of transportation are yet to be determined, but the estimated cost exceeds $2 billion. 

University of Georgia approves $175.2M budget, plans for new track and field facility

The University of Georgia (UGA) Athletic Association Board of Directors unanimously approved a fiscal year 2024 budget of $175.2 million and a new track and field facility during its annual spring meeting. 

Plans have been revealed for new indoor and outdoor track facilities about 2.5 miles away from the current track used by UGA's track and field teams. The current site will be transformed into side-by-side grass fields for the football program.  

No timeline or cost estimate has been provided yet, however, costs for similar projects can vary based on the scope. The decision to upgrade the track facilities is part of a series of improvements to Georgia's football program. The team has already seen upgrades such as the $30.2 million indoor practice facility, an $80 million football operations center, a $63 million west end zone project and ongoing renovations to Sanford Stadium totaling $68.5 million. 

Officials emphasized that Georgia is one of only two Southeastern Conference (SEC) programs without natural grass football fields side-by-side. They say that having grass fields would save approximately $1.5 million in annual costs for re-sodding and transportation. The wear and tear on turf has been a challenge, preventing the team from practicing on the grass fields during the postseason. 

The decision to repurpose the track space will impact the community, as the Spec Towns Track has been used by residents for many years. However, the university aims to explore other opportunities and mentioned Clarke Central High as an alternative option. The focus is on providing suitable facilities while accommodating community needs. 

Legislature approves Louisiana's coastal master plan 

The Louisiana House of Representatives unanimously approved an updated coastal master plan, paving the way for $50 billion in wetland restoration and storm protection projects over the next 50 years.  


Highlights of the plan include: 


  • 77 projects that preserve, protect and restore coastal areas. 
  • Restoration and maintenance of over 300 square miles of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and reducing expected annual damage by up to $15 billion.  
  • $25 billion in funding for 65 restoration projects, including marsh creation, diversions, land bridges, ridge restorations and hydrologic restoration projects.  
  • 12 structural risk reduction projects, including new levees and improvements to existing structures to withstand greater storm surges and reduce flood damage by an estimated $7.7 billion.  
  • $11.2 billion for nonstructural risk reduction activities, such as residential elevations, commercial floodproofing and voluntary acquisition of properties.  
  • $2.5 billion is allocated to programmatic restoration efforts and small-scale strategies, such as bank stabilization and barrier island maintenance.  

The plan’s highest dollar project is Morganza to the Gulf, a $3.9 billion levee system that will protect the Houma area from storm surges and high-tide flooding. The nearly 100-mile-long project will offer protection for about 150,000 people in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. 


Both chambers also approved the $1.6 billion annual coastal plan. The 2024 plan is about $27 million more than the 2023 plan and includes several dredging projects aimed at rebuilding 22 square miles of land. 

Port Canaveral to build new garages to solve parking crunch 

Florida - Port Canaveral is planning to build two new parking garages, adding 2,700 new parking spaces, to handle increased demand from cruise passengers. Estimated completion of the project is October 2024.  

A 1,700-space garage serving Cruise Terminals 5 and 6 will be located west of the existing Terminal 6 garage. A 1,000-space garage serving Cruise Terminal 10 will be located east of the existing Terminal 10 garage. 

According to port officials, funding and contracts have been awarded for design work. Requests for bids for construction will be released to the public in July, with contract awards being determined in September. Total costs will be outlined during construction bids. The newest parking garage, built in 2020, was finished for $28.4 million and accommodated 1,804 spaces.  

The need for additional spaces has grown since the port is supporting more home-ported ships and many cruise passengers are driving their vehicles to the port. The port earns $17 per day from parking, with total estimates around $40 million a year.  

The port also started work on upgrading its North Cargo Berth 4 at an estimated cost of $39.75 million. 

Plans include building a new cruise terminal and parking garage at the current site of Bluepoints Marina on the port's south side at an estimated cost of $175 million. The new cruise terminal would open in late 2026.  

 Illinois lawmakers approve expansion of I-55  

Illinois lawmakers have given a long-awaited green light to an expansion of Interstate 55.  

During the final weeks of the legislative session, lawmakers granted permission to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to pursue a public-private partnership as a means to fund the I-55 expansion (House Joint Resolution 23). This partnership would involve private investment in proposed new toll lanes on the expressway, providing the necessary funding to proceed with the project. 

The proposed expansion of I-55 includes the addition of express toll lanes to the highway, which stretches from Chicago's Southwest Side to Joliet. The plan involves adding two toll lanes in each direction to an eastern section between I-294 and the exit ramps for I-90 and I-94. Additionally, a western section between I-294 and I-355 would have one additional toll lane in each direction.

IDOT conducted an environmental assessment in 2016 when the project was first proposed. In the report, IDOT claims the project will improve air quality and noise complaints will decrease due to less congestion on the interstate.  

Supporters of the project argue that adding lanes to I-55 is crucial. Efficient transportation is essential for commuters to access downtown areas, and the smooth movement of freight is vital for the regional economy, including the intermodal facilities in Joliet.  

Airport renovation plan clears early FAA hurdle

Missouri - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved a preliminary expansion plan for St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport. The upgrade, set for completion by 2040, aims to make the airport more user-friendly and support service for up to 21 million passengers a year.  

The renovation plan includes design to establish a single terminal and single security checkpoint, with 62 airline gates accessible from one facility.  

Other benefits of the design include: 

  • Wider corridors to allow space for travelers to move around the terminal, lines for food and beverage services and room for fliers to line up for boarding. 
  • On-site parking spaces for 8,000 vehicles. 
  • Increased space for food and beverage vendors. 

Renovation expenses will be funded by bonds, ticket fees, concessions and federal grants. Construction is expected to begin in 2026 but is dependent on final approval from the FAA’s environmental review process. Following environmental approval from the FAA, the airport will launch the architectural design phase of the project.  

San Francisco secures $369M in funding for capital improvement projects 

California - The city of San Francisco, in collaboration with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced a significant milestone in the form of a $369 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the SFPUC. This loan will be complemented by future commitments from the EPA, potentially totaling up to $791 million. The funding aims to support the city's capital improvement initiatives and address damages caused by recent winter storms, particularly in flood-prone areas. 

The allocated funds will be utilized to implement vital projects that focus on mitigating flood risks and improving stormwater management. Areas such as Wawona, Folsom and Vicente Street, which experienced significant damage during the recent winter storms, will receive stormwater upgrades and water main replacements. Additionally, the SFPUC will prioritize modernizing aging wastewater and stormwater infrastructure to enhance seismic resiliency, adapt to climate change and reduce the risk of combined sewer overflows.  

The WIFIA loan from the EPA will play a crucial role in the improvement of stormwater management in San Francisco. By upgrading pump stations, the efficient and reliable transport of combined wastewater and stormwater flows to treatment facilities will be ensured. Furthermore, the construction of the new Treasure Island Wastewater Treatment Plant will provide reliable service to residents and cater to future recycled water demands. 

The loan will finance over a dozen wastewater resiliency projects across the city, with six projects scheduled for the initial phase. One of these projects is Yosemite Creek Daylighting, a collaboration between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the SFPUC. It involves uncovering portions of Yosemite Creek within McLaren Park, creating new pathways and sidewalks, and establishing a gathering space known as "Yosemite Station." Additionally, a five-year pilot project will be conducted at the Louis Sutter Soccer Field to test a high-efficiency irrigation and stormwater reuse system. 

Another crucial project is the Folsom Area Stormwater Improvement, which aims to enhance flood resilience in the Inner Mission neighborhood. By constructing and upsizing sewer pipes and boxes, as well as a new stormwater tunnel, the project will increase collection system capacity and reduce the risk of flooding. 

Construction on the various projects is expected to take place between 2023 and 2027. 

Lexington considers future space needs and challenges

Kentucky - The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) released a draft of its deliberations on future space City Hall needs and challenges associated with implementation. The LFUCG, responsible for governing the Lexington-Fayette Urban County, is evaluating potential changes to their working environment, and exploring avenues to optimize efficiency.


The LFUCG is exploring public-private partnership agreements as funding options. 

The LFUCG has occupied the Government Center and Switow buildings for more than 40 years and the Phoenix building for more than 20 years with minimal changes to the existing spaces. 

The current City Hall complex covers an estimated 248,948 square feet, including space for 523 workstations, break areas and conference rooms.  

Proposed space modification options include the following:


  • Demolish the Government Center garage and replace it with surface parking. Renovate the Government Center and Phoenix building and leave the Switow building. Estimated costs: $78 million-$107 million.   
  • Demolish the Government Center garage and build an extension on the garage footprint. Renovate and expand the Government Center building. Leave both Phoenix and Switow buildings. Estimated costs: $94 million-$135 million. 
  • Buy an existing office facility and renovate the building. Leave all current facilities. Estimated costs: $69 million-$107 million. 
  • Identify the best-fit location and build a new Government Center. Leave all current facilities. Estimated costs: $89 million-$139 million.

Proposed new highway in Northwest Arkansas open for public comment

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) will host two public meetings in June to discuss preliminary findings of a proposed north-south highway study in Benton and Washington counties. ArDOT previously estimated the new highway might cost up to $250 million to build.  

Northwest Arkansas officials have suggested construction of a new highway west of Interstate 49 and near Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill to increase regional mobility. The proposed highway would connect Highway 612, or the Springdale Northern Bypass, to the Bella Vista Bypass, which is now part of I-49.  

According to ArDOT, the new route could be either a two- or four-lane highway. It’s expected to improve connectivity in western Benton County, mobility by providing an alternate route, XNA access and resiliency of the regional transportation system.  

ArDOT officials indicated a timeline and funding have not been set. If the project is deemed feasible, the state will secure funding and determine a start date. 

Minnehaha County sets sights on new juvenile detention center

South Dakota - Minnehaha County is in the design phase for a new $50 million Minnehaha County Juvenile Detention Center. The two-phase project is expected to start construction in April 2024 on the same campus as the existing facility. 

The new 67,000-square-foot facility would include 64 beds for detention, administrative offices, a juvenile justice courtroom and space for juvenile probation. 

Phase two of construction would add a larger courtroom, space for intake, additional room for staff resources, and outdoor space for kids, visitors and staff. 

The juvenile detention center was built in 1969 and serves 16 counties in southeastern South Dakota. Minnehaha County is the largest source of referrals and youth in the detention center.

Task force formed to explore options for new Snow Library in Orleans

Massachusetts - Orleans town officials have established a new task force dedicated to exploring possibilities for a new Snow Library. Following the approval of funding during the recent town meeting, the task force is set to commence its work as early as July. Design is estimated to cost $2.65 million, while construction of a new library is estimated to cost $25 million. The Snow Library Feasibility Study Task Force has been assigned the responsibility of examining potential locations for the new library, including the current site, as well as alternative sites. On May 17, the select board unanimously approved the scope of services for the task force.


The town meeting authorized $180,000 for a library feasibility study, with half of the funds sourced from library trustee reserves. Trustees envision building a 23,589-square-foot library that can better meet the demands and programming needs of the community. But the task force's chief charge will be to see if such a building can be accommodated at the existing location. That includes a site survey and hazardous materials assessment at the Main Street site.  

The existing Snow Library has undergone two renovations, the most recent one in 1992. However, the building's 16,000 square feet are no longer sufficient to meet the needs of a modern library. Inadequate storage space and limited flexibility for town boards and community groups necessitate the construction of a larger facility.  

  $7.8M allocated for 16 environmental restoration projects in Pennsylvania 

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has allocated $7.8 million in funding for 16 environmental restoration projects on abandoned mine lands. These projects focus on reclaiming abandoned mine land (AML), addressing acid mine drainage (AMD) through reclamation and constructing AMD treatment facilities. 

The newly established AML/AMD Grant Program, which began in the fall of 2022, will continue with three more application rounds in 2023. A total of at least $96 million is available for the year under the 2023 AML/AMD Grant Program, with each grant program round having at least $32 million to award. Any unused funds from previous rounds will carry over to subsequent rounds. 

The AML/AMD Grant program prioritizes specific objectives. It aims to reclaim abandoned coal mines that pose significant risks to human health and safety, continue restoration efforts that were identified or initiated under the AMD Set-aside Program, address the operation, maintenance and upgrade needs of existing AMD treatment systems and seek significant measurable water quality improvements that contribute to watershed restoration. 


The DEP's Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation has announced several projects under the AML/AMD Grant Program. These include the Newton Southwest project, which focuses on maintaining the Morgan Run 8 passive treatment system and constructing a full-scale system to treat four separate AMD discharges. 

The Phillips North project in Fayette County aims to complete an initial assessment, data collection and conceptual reclamation design for affected streams in the Redstone Creek Watershed. The objective is to identify suitable sites and develop a conceptual design for an active abandoned mine drainage (AMD) treatment plant. This treatment plant will significantly reduce AMD discharges into Redstone Creek and Rankin Run, both tributaries of the Monongahela River. 

Other projects include assessments, rehabilitation and localized watershed evaluations in Somerset County (Murdock) and Westmoreland County (Crabtree). The latter project focuses on conducting a comprehensive study of the Crabtree Discharge to better understand the geologic, hydrologic and historic mining conditions. The findings will inform the selection of treatment options and locations to access and treat the discharges, benefiting over nine miles of stream, eight acres of the Loyalhanna Reservoir and the Jacks Run/Sewickley Creek Watershed.   


Michigan - Buchanan City Commissioners have hired Benjamin Eldridge as the new city manager.  He is a professional water and wastewater operator with over 20 years of experience in local government management and operations and community development. Eldridge currently works for the town of Millersburg, Ind., in Elkhart County and will start his new duties in Buchanan on June 26. 


Indiana - Ports of Indiana has appointed George Ott as port director of its Ohio River Port in Jeffersonville. Ott has been serving as operations manager since 2019. He has 17 years’ experience in various operations, facility management and maintenance supervisor roles, and has served as interim leader of the Jeffersonville port since Jeff Miles retired in July of 2022. 

Washington, D.C. - Howard University Board of Trustees have selected Dr. Ben Vinson III as president, effective Sept. 1. Vinson previously served as a faculty member at Barnard College and Pennsylvania State University before moving to Johns Hopkins University, where he helped found the Center for Africana Studies and served as its inaugural director.  

Georgia - Catherine Ammons has been promoted to assistant city manager of the city of Valdosta. She has been deputy city manager of administration since November 2021. Ammons has over 30 years’ experience providing human resources leadership for various companies. Before joining the city, Ammons served as the director of human resources at a theme park. 

California - Lynn Fyhrlund has taken the position of chief information officer (CIO) in San Bernardino County. Jacqueline Bobo will take Fyhrlund’s place as interim CIO in Milwaukee County, Wis. Fyhrlund’s last day with Milwaukee County was May 5. Previously he served as IT director of Business Applications for Information Technology for Milwaukee County. 

Georgia - The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted to name Michael P. “Mike” Shannon sole finalist for president of the University of Georgia (UNG) post. The school’s current president, Bonita Jacobs, will retire next month after 12 years of service. Shannon, a retired U.S. Army officer, currently serves as interim chief business officer at Georgia Tech as well as interim executive vice president for administration and finance. 

California - Toni Lundgren has moved up from acting to interim to city manager of Manteca. Lundgren has spent the last four years in the city manager’s office either as a deputy city manager or else interim city manager. Lundgren has 25 years working in municipal government. Before starting at Manteca 16 years ago, she worked in Stockton, Lodi and Escalon. 

North Carolina - Dr. Lisa Fletcher has been chosen as superintendent of Transylvania County Schools (TCS). Fletcher has more than 20 years of education experience in Cherokee County Schools. Most recently, she has worked as the director of high school curriculum in Cherokee County Schools. She replaces Dr. Jeff McDaris, who announced in January that he would retire at the end of the current school year. Fletcher will begin her new job on July 1. 

Michigan - Branch County's economic growth alliance will have a change in leadership on July 1. Branch County Economic Growth Alliance leadership announced this week that Audrey Tappenden will take over from Lisa Miller as the alliance's executive director. Tappenden became assistant to the economic development director in the fall of 2018. She was quickly promoted to economic development coordinator and Main Street director.  


Arizona - The city of Sedona has promoted Engineering Supervisor Kurt Harris to be the new director of public works. Harris joined the city in July 2022 after a long career with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), which began in 2010. Harris takes the place of Andy Dickey who has been promoted to deputy city manager.  

Missouri - Lauren Schellenberger has been chosen as Culver-Stockton College's 28th president. Schellenberger, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the college currently, takes over on July 1. Administratively, Schellenberger has served the college in executive leadership roles since 2018 and most recently as chief academic officer in the position of provost. Schellenberger succeeds Douglas B. Palmer, who announced in March he accepted the presidency at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Mich.   

Maryland - Jack Martin will serve as Anne Arundel County’s chief information officer (CIO). Martin’s appointment began on May 25. He had served as the Acting CIO since March 17. Martin brings more than 20 years’ experience in IT in a variety of disciplines including GIS, project management and software development. Martin, who began working for the county in 2005, previously served in roles as deputy CIO and IT application teams manager. 

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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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