Washington, D.C.– The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $256 million in 81 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 35 states. The recently enacted Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes a significant boost in financial support for water and wastewater projects. It provides $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion in FY 2017.
The Florida Governmental Utility Authority will receive $12.9 million to purchase the city of Dunnellon’s water and wastewater systems. Currently, the user rates for these systems are among the highest in the area. By funding this utility purchase, user rates will stay at more affordable levels and will allow the authority to complete system improvements. The United Regional Water Cooperative in Illinois will receive $9.2 million to construct a water treatment plant for a newly organized water cooperative near Illiopolis in Logan County. Moore County, N.C., will receive $4.8 million to provide sewer service to the town of Vass. Nearly 40 percent of the town’s residents and businesses use privately-owned septic tanks and drain fields, many of which have exceeded their useful life. The new wastewater collection system will address widespread health and sanitary issues. View all recipients of the Water and Waste Disposal Program here.
New York– The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is hoping to start six waterfront projects with a price tag of $42 million using funds secured years ago from the New York Power Authority. The projects include creating a mixed-use development that could include restaurants, residences and shops where the Memorial Auditorium once stood. The $10 million plan calls for a mixed-use village with period buildings, cobblestone streets and a public square. At a cost of $8 million, the plan also includes turning the Michigan Pier into a public destination by making improvements to the Outer Harbor area south of Wilkeson Pointe.
Another project is to remake the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad line into a 1.6-mile multiuse trail offering natural views of the Buffalo River. The cost would be $7 million. At the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, invest in additional exhibit and event space as well as landscaping and lighting for $7 million. At a cost of $5 million, build a boardwalk and add beach amenities, seating, lighting and upgrade fixtures at the Erie Basin Marina. The final project is to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge from Silo City to the Outer Harbor over the City Ship Canal at a cost of $5 million. In four-to-six-months, the agency will send out a request for proposals to developers.
Connecticut– The University of Connecticut (UConn) Health Center, UConn Health, expects to begin mid-negotiations with a public-private partnership (P3) by September 2018. UConn Health is the branch of the university that oversees clinical care, advanced biomedical research and academic education in medicine. The system includes the 234-bed John Dempsey Hospital, a medical group and medical and dental schools. The system intends to issue a request for proposals for a financial consultant to help it assess the market and manage the process of soliciting and analyzing proposals from potential partners.
The academic medical center is exploring a P3 to attract more faculty and students, increase patient volume and achieve financial security. The P3 will also deliver on a promise of Bioscience Connecticut, a plan in conjunction with the state to renovate UConn health facilities and improve research capacity. Plans for the partnership come after projected budget deficits the past few years.
Indiana– Purdue University is pursuing a public-private partnership (P3) for student housing. The request for proposals (RFP) issued earlier this month details plans to add 1,100 beds without demolishing any existing housing facilities on campus. The residence hall at Fourth and Russell will be approximately 500 beds and the residence hall south of Meredith will be approximately 600 beds.
The private partner will develop, design, build, finance, operate and maintain the six-story dorms needed for undergraduates at the West Lafayette campus. The university intends to have the project completed by the 2020-2021 school year. The administration decided on a P3 to cut down on the projects expected timeline. Bids are due by April 20.