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President-elect Donald Trump’s vision for improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure — and his selection of the official who will spearhead it — dominated the news over the past week. Meanwhile, one of Maryland’s ambitious rail projects remains in limbo and Congress continues to struggle to pass a much needed water bill. Student housing P3 projects are continuing at a brisk pace and NCPPP’s exclusive interview with a key player in this arena provides insight into how and why this type of social infrastructure is thriving.
Trump names Transportation Secretary. Elaine Chao, one-time labor secretary and former deputy transportation secretary, is President-elect Trump’s choice to head the U.S. Department of Transportation. Chao also chaired the Federal Maritime Commission and was deputy administrator of the Maritime Administration. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, among other organizations, expressed support for her nomination.
Trump’s infra financing plan gets high marks but not everyone’s a fan. President-elect Trump’s plans to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure would help pump up the U.S. economy and could have a positive financial impact outside its borders, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in a new report. Adoption of a more active fiscal policy, which includes tax cuts and infrastructure spending, “should revive expectations for faster and more inclusive growth, thus allowing monetary policy to move toward a more neutral stance in the United States at least, and possibly other countries as well,” the OECD predicted. … However, Trump may face significant opposition from fiscally conservative Republicans who worry his policies could significantly increase the budget deficit, reported the Wall Street Journal (paywall). … Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) said he will reintroduce the Rebuild America Act, which would fund $1 trillion in infrastructure spending by wiping out tax loopholes that permit multinational corporations to park their profits in offshore tax havens, reported Politico. … Views of Trump’s infrastructure spending plan at the state level also are mixed. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) hopes that Trump’s plan will give his state the financial infusion it needs to address various ambitious transportation and water projects. … Texans, on the other hand, are afraid his proposal will lead to the construction of more toll roads in the state while overlooking transportation needs in rural areas and public transit.
MI P3 bill has legs. Michigan’s Senate has passed a bill, the “Michigan Alternative Project Delivery Act,” which would allow state agencies to develop transportation or facility P3s. with federal, state or local agencies. The bill also allows several projects to be bundled under a single P3 agreement and permits the consideration of unsolicited proposals as long as competing proposals are considered. State agencies would be permitted to develop, maintain or expand a facility that could complete with an authorized P3 project that entails the collection of user fees.
Time is money. A series of unforeseen service disruptions to a new rail line running between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport has resulted in hefty fines for the P3 project’s developer, Denver Transit Partners. The headaches include crossing gates that remain down too long, gaps between power sources that could leave unpowered trains stranded and lightning strikes hitting overhead wires. The company has paid $78,000 in fines for failing to make on-time performance goals and $1.25 million because of signaling problems.
Purple Line start still stalled. A U.S. District Court judge is sticking by his decision to delay construction of Maryland’s Purple Line project, which would connect Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The project was supposed to begin in October, but Judge Richard Leon ruled in August that the project will not proceed until federal officials determine whether declining ridership on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metrorail system will have a significant financial impact on the independently operated light-rail line. About 27 percent of the Purple Line’s travelers are expected to use it to travel to or from Metrorail. However, the judge reversed his decision to order the Federal Transit Administration to reopen the project’s federally approved environmental review process, which would have added months to the current delay. Leon will let transit officials decide whether the Metrorail issue should trigger more environmental study.
More progress on GO transit project. Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx have issued an RFQ for developers to design, build and finance the Kipling Bus Terminal project in suburban Toronto, which is part of a larger, system-wide plan to improve overall GO Transit service, including the delivery of GO Regional Express Rail by 2025. The scope of work for this project includes building an elevated pedestrian bridge and pedestrian tunnel, renovations to and expansion of the existing GO building and a new bus terminal. Teams that qualify will be invited to respond to a request for proposals in spring 2017. Interested companies must register to download the RFQ.
One-stop car rental shop coming to LAX. Los Angeles World Airports has issued an RFQ for the design and development of a car rental center at Los Angeles International Airport that will consolidate more than 20 rental offices in one location and help free up terminal curb space and improve traffic conditions in the central terminal area. The deadline for responses to the RFQ is Feb. 21. The center is one of two customer service-oriented P3 projects the airport is conducting to improve passenger flow and use airport space more efficiently. Developers responded in August to an RFQ for the development of an automated people mover, which will connect passengers to the airline terminals and rental car, airport parking and transit facilities.
Get the low-down on WIFIA. The Environmental Protection Agency has been hosting a series of webinars about the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program for prospective borrowers including municipal entities, corporations, partnerships, state revolving fund programs and non-governmental organizations, and organizations that support prospective borrowers. In each session, EPA will focus on a specific topic and provide participants the opportunity to ask questions. The next session will be Monday, Dec. 12. Advance registration is required.
Latest word on WRDA: agreement reportedly reached but the wrangling continues. The House and Senate reached a deal on the Water Resources Development Act, a bill to improve water infrastructure that authorizes $170 million to help remove lead from communities’ drinking water but does not appropriate funding for this measure. Lawmakers expect to include the funding in a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded beyond Dec. 9, when the current CR expires, although many details have yet to be spelled out. The bill now is part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. This legislation faces opposition from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) who argues a newly added provision would cause environmental harm in drought-stricken parts of California. A requirement in the Senate version of the bill stipulates that American iron and steel products must be used in projects supported by the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, has been stripped.
Three in for Vancouver wastewater project. Metro Vancouver has received proposals from the three shortlisted teams for its estimated C$700 million Lions Gate secondary wastewater treatment replacement project. The three developers vying for the project are ADAPT (Acciona Infrastructure/Dialog Design/Amec Foster Wheeler/TetraTech); First Narrows (CH2M Hill/Kenaidan/EllisDon); and PCL Partnerships (PCL Constructors and North America Construction). Metro Vancouver expects to award the DBF contract in the second quarter of 2017 and the plant is expected to go online by the end of 2020.
P3 scorecard update. Associated Builders and Contractors released its annual update to “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard.” The scorecard reviews and grades state-specific policies that affect the commercial and industrial construction industry and highlights states that promote a free enterprise-based environment. The update ranks Louisiana, Virginia and North Carolina first, second and third, respectively — all three received an “A” grade in the pro-P3 category — while Illinois, New Mexico and Alaska were ranked the lowest. Alaska and New Mexico received an “F” grade and Illinois received a “C” grade in the pro-P3 category.
Projects underway in three states. Ohio University has issued an RFQ to identify a team to design, build, operate and maintain a mixed-use development at the Ridges, a former mental health facility the university owns near its Athens campus. The project involves renovating or removing more than 30 buildings with 700,000 gross square feet and 700 acres of adjoining land. Potential uses range from housing and academic uses to office space, retail and restaurants. Responses to the RFQ are due Dec. 21. An RFP will be issued Jan. 13 for which responses will be due Feb. 17. The developer will be selected in May. … Capstone Development Partners and Provident Commonwealth Education Resources Inc. have closed on the financing for the University of Massachusetts’s first on-campus student housing project. The $139 million P3 project, to be located on the university’s Boston campus, will consist of two buildings of up to 12 stories each to accommodate 1,077 student beds and will include amenities such as seminar rooms and study lounges. The project is being financed by tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the Massachusetts Development Authority and underwritten by Citigroup. Provident Commonwealth Education Resources will own the housing and dining space on land to be leased by the university, which will manage the housing with Capstone On-Campus Management. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2018. … American Campus Communities and the University of California, Berkeley have broken ground on a 781-bed residence hall located on the south side of the campus. The P3 project was structured under the American Campus Equity program, which allows universities to expand and modernize their student housing portfolio without the use of university financial resources. The development, expected to house first-year students, will feature eight stories of residential and amenity space, 7,000 square feet of ground floor retail and an 11,000-square-foot community center.
On campus, the living is easy. American Campus Communities, Inc. (ACC) is the largest owner, manager and developer of student housing communities in the United States. Many of these projects are conducted as P3s on the campuses of universities that host them. One of ACC’s most successful and widely recognized partnerships is with Drexel University. ACC and the university collaborated to develop mixed-use retail, dining, academic offices and high-quality student housing at the West Philadelphia institution. The five-year, multi-project P3 has delivered more than 1.4 million square feet of development, nearly 3,200 residential beds and more than 60,000 square feet of appealing urban retail space. NCPPP recently sat down with Jamie Wilhelm, ACC’s executive vice president of public-private transactions, to discuss ACC’s approach toward developing student housing P3s, and what project trends are or may soon be emerging. (Read more)
WHAT’S NEW AT P3 INGENIUM
Here are the latest P3 projects that P3 INGENIUM began following over the past two weeks:
Arkansas I-49 Extension, Fayetteville to Bentonville, Ark.
Georgia Convention Center, Albany, Ga.
Indiana Convention Center, Lake County, Ind.
Indiana Police Station/Parking Garage, Fishers, Ind.
Moncton Royal Canadian Mounted Police Facility, Moncton, New Brunswick
Santa Cruz 36.8 MW Solar Project, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Timmins Bypass Project, Timmins, Ontario
Topeka Broadband, Topeka, Kan.
WHAT’S GOING ON AT NCPPP?
Here’s a quick peek at the upcoming NCPPP calendar.
- P3Bootcamp— Dec. 13-14 — Chicago
- P3Bootcamp — Feb. 21-22 — Miami
- P3Bootcamp — March 15-16 — San Francisco
- P3Bootcamp — May 2-3 — Philadelphia
For more information about event programs, registration and sponsorship, please visit NCCCP’s website.
The next issue of P3 Digest will hit your mailbox on Monday, Dec. 12.