New York– In an effort for the state’s power to be 100 percent carbon-free by 2040, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget for 2019 includes $1.5 billion to fund 20 large solar, wind and energy storage projects across upstate New York. This will be the third year that the governor’s office has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for large-scale wind and solar projects.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will issue an RFP in April of this year. The state is also investing $1.75 billion in New York’s Green bank, a venture fund focused on clean energy projects, and $3.5 billion toward private investment in solar through the NY-Sun program to offer incentives to residents and businesses.
Pennsylvania- The Pennsylvania Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board approved a proposal to reconstruct 15 bridges and two interstates in Luzerne County. The bridges are located along a 25-mile section of Interstate 81 and a 10-mile section of Interstate 80. The proposal is part of an adjusted bid, design-build that will allow the designer and contractor to work in close collaboration. The method also allows the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to put greater weight on a contractor’s qualifications in addition to cost factors.
The bridges are fully funded through the current Transportation Improvement Plan. Design will begin in 2019 and construction will be completed by 2023. The P3 Board and PennDOT’s P3 Office were established after the Public-Private Transportation Partnerships Act was signed into law in September 2012 and authorized P3 projects in Pennsylvania.
California– The Salton Sea continues to shrink, but while the waters recede the problems continue to flood in. The previously submerged lake bed (referred to as “playa”) is creating dust that can be hazardous when it becomes airborne. Officials have created a 10-year plan to address air quality and environmental threats from the Salton Sea. The plan was initially funded by the approval of Proposition 1 in 2014 and an additional voter approved $200 million dollars this past June. Phase one of the plan focuses on creating wetlands and other projects to suppress the dust and create new habitats.
An agreement reached by the California Water Resources Control Board last November painted a shared vision among the state, water agencies and environmental organizations for projects and activities over the next 10 years. The California Department of Water Resources is refining its organizational structure to put new resources and expertise in place to centralize and accelerate the design and implementation of critical dust-suppression and habitat projects. A request for qualifications will be issued before the end of 2018 for a project to create deep habitat on the sea’s southern end to support fish and wildlife.
Hawaii- Cost-cutting continues to help make the completion of the Honolulu Rail Project a reality. After years of delays and cost over-runs, the troubled 20-mile light-rail line has a new plan in place. According to a new draft recovery plan, an array of cost-cutting measures will be put in place to help avoid another funding shortfall. Measures include: eliminating lighting in-between stations along the rail line, deferring construction of the $315 million Pearl Highlands Center, modifying sound barriers and re-designing overhead canopies. This coupled with a $188 million increase in tax revenues might be just enough to get the project across the finish line by the new target date of 2026.
The project stands as the largest public works project in state history. At its inception in 2012, the 20-mile span was originally billed at $5.26 billion with a 2020 completion date. The project is now forecasted to total nearly $9 billion and be completed by 2026. The city violated its agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) when construction and cost overruns lead to delays. This in turn has caused the FTA to freeze $744 million of the total project funds until the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit comes up with a recovery plan. The city hopes to partner with a private developer and acquire alternative funding to unfreeze federal funds and finish the remaining 4.1 miles of the rail line. A new contractor for this public-private partnership (P3) is set to be selected in September.