Washington, D.C.- Smithsonian officials are planning for an additional 2.5 million visitors at the National Zoo over the next 10 years. To accommodate the increase in guests, plans are in the works to build a 6-story parking garage with 1,280 spaces for vehicles. Smithsonian’s National Zoo has just over 880 parking spaces on its Connecticut Avenue campus, and the $50 million project would increase the total number of spaces to just over 1,400.
The proposal combines four of the zoos five existing surface lots into one structure allowing for the space to be repurposed for animal habitats. The Smithsonian Zoo plans for the structure to be built through a public-private partnership (P3). A request for proposals is expected to go out next month with construction beginning in 2020.
Connecticut- Northwest ConneCT, a fiber optic broadband and mobile communications regional initiative, wants to improve broadband internet access and cell phone coverage in the region. Northwest ConneCT would assist in creating a public-private partnership to bring a fiber-optic network to 25 communities.
Northwest ConneCT previously received $250,000 in grant funding, which is being used to meet with stakeholders in the region, develop a website, create legal framework for such a network, and conduct surveys. The initiative intends on reaching out to major carriers within the next month, with a community vote scheduled for summer of 2018 and completion of the network in 2021.
Florida- The St. Johns County Ocean Pier is in danger of disappearing despite being rebuilt several times over the years. A study performed on the pier several years ago showed that the pier only had about 10 years left. However, after the recent hurricane, this prediction may need to be revisited. Currently, the pier and adjoining parking lot are owned by the county, but the city of St. Augustine Beach would like to take over the land and save the pier through a public-private partnership (P3).
The city estimates replacing the pier would cost between $10 to $14 million and has proposed using hotel and motel occupancy tax dollars for bonds. City officials have been tasked to create a report on the current state of the pier and how the city plans to approach the effort, as well as finding organizations that could give the city advice on forming a P3
Michigan- Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) administrators have decided to speed up its original construction schedule for Interstate 75 – an estimated $1.3 billion project in nine segments, to be completed by 2034. The first segment was completed before Labor Day and the remaining work will be condensed into a second and third segment. This is the largest public-private partnership in the state’s history and would allow a private company to design, build, maintain and operate sections of the I-75 corridor. MDOT will issue requests for qualifications from potential private partners before the end of the year, and it anticipates the selection process will wrap up in the summer and fall of 2018. The winning teams will be reimbursed via annual payments.
The second segment spans from 13 Mile Road to Coolidge Highway, with the state contracting with a company to design and build the project. That contract is expected to be awarded next summer and construction should finish in 2020. This portion will use existing state dollars and the state will be responsible for long-term road repairs. The third segment will include a contract not just for design and construction, but also for long-term financing and preventive road maintenance. That contract should be awarded by the fall of 2018, with construction set to finish in 2022.