Florida– Advocates for Florida A&M University gathered for ‘FAMU Day’ at the Capitol to solicit support for the 130-year-old institution of higher learning. Administrators from the university spoke about the increase in enrollment and how student housing has reached its capacity. To accommodate the growing population, the school plans to solicit for a public-private partnership (P3) to design, build and finance a 700-bed residence hall on campus in the next two years.
The addition of a new residence hall is just one of several construction projects the campus has planned. Other priorities include $7.5 million in technological improvements, $1.2 million for improvements to the Brooksville Agricultural and Environmental Research Station and $6.2 million for the College of Engineering.
Washington State– The Port of Kalama has issued a request for interest (RFI) from developers for a 5-acre parcel of land located near the old Kalama fairgrounds. The site, that is part of the Spencer Creek Business Park, could potentially feature a range of retail or commercial services, including a fuel station, hotel, restaurants and coffee shops. The parcel’s development is expected to set the tone for the business park’s remaining 65 acres. The RFI is expected to result in the selection of a development team for an exclusive negotiating period.
The port has considered developing its property east of Interstate 5 for more than a decade – slowly purchasing nearby land and conducting economic feasibility studies. The port will also seek bids in the spring for a $5 million road project that will add a new roundabout at the intersection of Kalama River Road and Highway 99. Street improvements for the area between Haydu Park and Meeker Drive are under design, as well. The port also plans to relocate and install utilities to support the site’s development. Responses for the RFI are due at the end of this month.
California– San Francisco is moving ahead with plans for a public-private partnership (P3) to build a city-wide fiber network that will encompass the almost 47-square miles of the city. The city has issued a request for information (RFI) for the project and also plans to select five proposals by April 30. The city will then issue a follow-up request by the end of the year for three proposals to enter into the design phase. Early estimates put the cost of the project around $1.9 billion.
The network would be owned by the city but built and managed as a P3 – an arrangement that allows the city to alleviate some of the costs and risks of creating a brand-new utility. The city would maintain significant control over the price consumers would pay if they sign up for the service. The new network is expected to include subsidized rates to close the digital divide for low income residents. Currently about 100,000 residents of the city don’t have internet in their home.
Illinois-The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is pushing for congestion pricing to ease Chicago’s traffic troubles. Highway gridlock is costing the city $7.3 billion a year in lost productivity and fuel. IDOT is considering an express lane on the Stevenson Expressway that would allow drivers to bypass traffic by paying a toll on an adjustable scale based on current demand and overall distance traveled.
The expressway would be a public-private partnership in which a developer would build, operate and maintain the lanes in exchange for tolls. While congestion pricing is a key part of Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s “Go to 2040” long-term planning strategy, the system could debut in a pilot capacity relatively soon. IDOT is hoping to study the concept by implementing a managed lane on Interstate 55 by as early as 2019.