The panels were:
Rebuilding our Nation’s Infrastructure, from Housing to Highways, Green Retrofitting of Public and Private Buildings, Public-Private Partnerships for Municipal and Institutional construction, Renewable Energy for the 21st Century.
Here I comment on two of them:
Rebuilding our Nation’s Infrastructure, from Housing to Highways
Michael Della Rocca, President/Regional Managing Director, North America Halcrow Inc
After 30 years doing this work, infrastructure is finally a headline story.
Mr. Della Rocca discussed why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds are more valuable; usually federal funding has to be matched by the state at 80/20 or 50/50, this program is 100% on the dollar. Projects will be bid as usual. Agencies involved include DOT, Amtrak and Metro North. There is a “Use it or lose it”. The projects have time sensitivity – have to be completed in 120 days or365 days depending on requirements.
- job creation
- speed – shovel ready, design is done, ready to bid
- green component, for example, public transit
Mr. Della Rocca’s counter intuitive statement; Why it is important that Recovery Acts projects succeed.
Every six years a new transportation bill is reauthorized. On September 30 2009 the new legislation will be passed regarding how transportation monies are allocated and spent. If we are effective there will be more political will to add more transportation dollars.
He mentioned Transportation for America’s T4 Platform designed to guide the new federal surface transportation authorization legislation. This is important! If you do not know T4 yet – see the Transportation for America website – a comprehensive review the issues, headlines and organizations who support a wide ranging platform for the renewed TEA bill, surprisingly inclusive of a sustainable transportation system (including high- speed rail and world-class public transportation), infrastructure, walking and biking and new public policy of accountability.
In 2009, Congress and the next Administration will face the expiration of the current $286 billion national transportation program. The choice is clear: Move our nation in a bold new direction, or continue on the current path of spending billions of taxpayer dollars with little accountability on a system that is both BROKE and BROKEN. (Transportation for America Website)
New York City’s transit/transportation use is skewed opposite to the rest of the country. Federal funding used to slant toward creating urban sprawl (roadways) and now, with a focus on transit-oriented development, funds favor the NYC approach.
David Tweedy, Chief of Capital Planning, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA)
Issues from the owner’s perspective:
- lost revenue from bridges and tunnels
- challenges as a Bi-State agency
- annual plan has to balance – not enough revenues
- commit and award $3.3 billion — a historic amount to capital projects such as airports, security, sustainability
PA is not beneficiary of first round of stimulus funds but if MTA gets money, the linkages to Port Authority services- such as 1 and 9 subway lines at the Hub – are enhanced. Also, Route 9A impacts PA services. He stated that phasing projects so that smaller firms can bid has made the Port’s MBE/WBE/DBE program very strong, robust and outreach is good.
PA is helping other agencies with weaker MBE/WBE/DBE programs.
(Light Projects had to apply first to Port Authority to enter the Unified Application for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, a must for small businesses to qualify for federally funded projects. Refer to my previous post – February)
The World Trade Center rebuilding is expending up $11 billion over 5 years — and there is a burden on balancing capital planning and spending… “quiet projects tend to be deferred”, he stated.
What about P3? Mr. Tweedy had the same answer as Executive Director, Christopher Ward, as quoted in my February post about the Construction Users Council’s previous meeting; the PA is “taking a hard look” at PPP for the Staten Island bridges linking New York with New Jersey; the Bayonne, Goethals and Outerbridge Crossing. All need refurbishment and the Bayonne Bridge in particular will need an overhaul to accept taller ships that the new dimensions of the Panama Canal allow.
Constructing the Economic Recovery – Public-Private Partnerships for Municipal and Institutional Construction.
Kenneth D. Levien, President Levien & Company
Where did PPP come from? Mr. Levien humorously invoked the Daily News’ famous banner headline when President Ford declared his lack of support for “a federal bail-out of New York City” in 1975.
FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD [“I can tell you now that I am prepared to veto any bill that has as its purpose a federal bailout of New York City to prevent a default,” the President said.]
Here I reproduce Mr. Leviens PowerPoint primer on public/private…
Successful public/private projects generally share three attributes:
- partners are cooperative rather than adversarial, because their interests align
- formal contracts set the terms under which they share risk and responsibility for mutual financial gain and social benefit.
- custom tailored business arrangements often persist after the project is completed and operating.
Why establish public/private partnerships?
- the actual cost of providing government services is too high
- it creates more budget capacity for your operating budget and it spreads the risk
- having alternative activities with partners spreads the risk
- merging resources helps to create a higher service delivery between partners
- creates entrepreneurial opportunities not always affordable to public agencies
- expands and changes the staff’s mindset in creative thinking when you have to plan with your partner
- creates a market driven approach to service delivery versus a product approach
- service to patrons becomes the key to success in partnering.
Why partnerships fail:
- lack of commitment from one or multiple partners
- using partnership for personal gain
- the objectives lacked clarity
- greater than reasonable expectations form the partner
- the agreement was not equitable – not considered a Win-Win
- hidden agendas on both sides
- did not communicate effectively and no follow through.
John T Livingston, President Tishman Construction Corp.
… don’t confuse design-ready with shovel ready. Has the project been value-engineered? If so then it is shovel ready. And despite requirement for shovel ready projects they will still be widely advertised and subject to competition.
Mr. Livingston feels that potential PPP Projects will be infrastructure such as tunnels, bridges, and highways; buildings such as courthouses, office buildings and renovations of existing buildings; energy sustainability projects; and FDIC joint venture for development projects.
It is exhilarating and astonishing indeed to be living this infrastructure headline world. Born a steel-mill electrician’s daughter, stories of pig iron, scrap metal and smelting were narrated by both my father and mother, generally while on a journey by car. I grew up fascinated by the working world and how it worked.
Building and crafting were noble… and no job was too hard to do or envision.
As a New Yorker, I have not driven for over a decade, walking and public transportation are daily modes of movement. Pounding my dear city’s pavement while envisioning a city of light is not impossible these days.
CITY TO CITIZEN: I AM YOUR HOME
ANALYSIS-Clock ticking on US transportation bill (Reuters April 28, 2009)
www.Recovery.gov -As the centerpiece of the President’s commitment to transparency and accountability, Recovery.gov will feature information on how the Act is working, tools to help you hold the government accountable, and up-to-date data on the expenditure of funds.
www.grants.gov -Grants.gov is your source to FIND and APPLY for federal government grants.
www.FedBizOpps.gov – the federal government’s one-stop virtual marketplace
www.GovLoans.gov – your source for locating the loans you need
www.GovBenefits.gov – the official benefits website of the U.S. government, with information on over 1,000 benefit and assistance programs.
Progress Report; US DOT – this is the 100 day report card from the US Department of Transportation
EPA Implementation of ARRA – read about the Environmental Protection Agencies progress
www.economicrecovery.ny.gov – New York State Information Related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
www.panynj.gov – Port Authority of NY and NJ
www.nycetc.org – NYC Training Employment Coalition
NYC.Gov – Stimulus Tracker With the NYCStat Stimulus Tracker, New Yorkers can track the City’s use of federal stimulus/recovery funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).