Indiana– Indiana and the Environmental Protection Agency plan to leverage $436 million in public loans into an even larger private capital investment to modernize Indiana’s aging water infrastructure. The federal government will provide around $30 million for wastewater projects and an estimated $12 million in drinking water projects. Hammond is one of several cities receiving funding in the amount of $67.5 million to increase the capacity of its sewer system. The city of Crown Point will receive $19.3 million and East Chicago $14.1 million.
Most of Indiana’s pipes were installed after World War II, though some still in use date back to the 1890s. Many of the pipes are made of lead or other metals that are corroded due to age. Indiana has more than 46,000 miles of water pipes operated by community water systems that serve 72 percent of the state’s population.
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is planning for a new National Security Collaboration Center. This stand-alone facility would provide a growing need for students looking to study in cybersecurity. The university currently has about 2,500 students in this type of program. The project’s goal is to contribute to the country’s national security.
Opportunities are still available for businesses that would like to connect with the collaboration center. This cybersecurity program is designed to give students a strong pipeline into defense contracting or the federal government. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the National Security Agency in Texas already have a presence at UTSA. Under the plan, those existing offices will be brought together and a secure facility for classified research will be built out. The university also plans to have an “innovation factory” for cybersecurity technology startups.
Other government entities that have been invited to participate in the new center include the 24th Air Force Cyber Command, 25th Air Force, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. A timeline for construction has not been released.
Louisiana– Louisiana issued a request for proposal for contractors to supply new voting machines. The state is receiving $6 million in federal grant money to help complete the project. The project is estimated to cost anywhere from $40 million to $60 million. There is a need to allocate additional funding for this project in next year’s budget. The request for proposals is wide open but likely will not consider anything that has a Wi-Fi or other internet connection. With past elections being vulnerable to hackers, Louisiana believes the safest voting booths are those that have limited connectivity and point of entrance.
Features of the new machines should include a touch-screen-style system to be placed on stands or tables. Those style machines will be easier to store and will provide a voter-verified paper receipt for any post-election recounts to make it easier for auditing. The hope is to have the voting machine contract awarded by June 30 and all the equipment replaced, through a phased-in process, by 2020. This project is very timely as the antiquated machines used for early voting are currently running very low on spare parts to keep them operational.
Washington State– The city of Tacoma has issued a request for proposals (RFP) from developers to provide ideas for entertainment and retail on a 10.6-acre site. The unused plot of land next to the Tacoma Dome currently serves as a parking lot and some vacant parcels running parallel to Interstate 5. Minimum offers must include at least $8 million for the land as well as include ways to replace 594 parking spaces that would be lost with any development of the property.
Proposals will be accepted through May 8. Once a project is selected this summer, the city will then enter exclusive negotiations with the proposed developers for up to nine months to hammer out details, timelines and permitting options before final approval from city council members.