In 2017, President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Buy American and Hire American” which stated a commitment to do just that. Earlier this year, expanding on this policy, President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects.” This order requires federal agencies to encourage contractors working on infrastructure projects that receive federal grants or loans to purchase domestically produced materials. Pursuant to the order, agencies are required to begin encouraging use of domestic products by May 1st, and requires submission of an implementation plan by May 31st. Continue Reading
Although public-private partnerships (P3s) have become a leading method of delivering infrastructure in several countries throughout the world, including Canada, P3s are often met with skepticism in the United States. Even though there is an ever-growing list of P3 successes (including several multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects that were completed ahead of schedule and below budget, such as the Ohio River Bridges, the LBJ Freeway in Dallas, and I-595 Express Lanes here in South Florida), the hiccups are often what garner the most press. The failed I-69 road P3 in Indiana, for example, continues to be held out as a failure of the P3 model—a 2017 Wall Street Journal article referred to the project as a “black eye to private investment in infrastructure”—but it is worth putting that failure in the context of failures of the traditional public procurement model for infrastructure delivery. Continue Reading
We have in the past discussed how government contracts are not utilized only to acquire goods and services for the public, but to further public-policy objectives. For example, procurement regulations at all levels of government—federal, state, and local—frequently incorporate preferences in the bidding process for certain types of companies, such as small business, local businesses, minority-owned businesses, etc. Regulations of this type are not “one size fits all”—they vary drastically from one jurisdiction to the next, or even one type of contract to the next within the same jurisdiction. In order to be competitive, it is critical that government contractors understand the applicable regulations. In fact, we have been involved in several bid protests challenging contract awards where the core dispute is premised upon a failure to comply with local-preference regulations. Continue Reading
In the next few years, Miami-Dade County is expected to spend 1.5 billion dollars on upgrades to Miami International Airport. We recently wrote about Miami-Dade County’s SMART Plan, which will revitalize our transportation system and implement smart city technology. Now, through public-private partnerships, the County has the opportunity to bring this technology to Miami International Airport—the world’s gateway to the Caribbean, Latin America, and South America. Continue Reading
Under current legislation, tax-exempt and other low cost financing solutions are not typically available for social infrastructure projects. The resulting higher cost of capital for social infrastructure projects raises viability concerns when the public sector procures projects with private sector-driven financings. As a result, historically, social infrastructure P3s have been outpaced by their surface transportation counterparts in the U.S. market. At the same time, deferred maintenance plagues public service facilities nationwide. For example, the National School Board Association estimates that $550 billion in investment is needed in order to bring U.S. school buildings up to standard. Continue Reading
Last week, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees authorized the negotiation of a comprehensive public-private partnership (P3) agreement with the winning proposer for a planned expansion of the university’s health and research facilities at the Grand Rapids campus. The decision marks one of many recent success stories for higher-education P3s. We previously wrote about a recent judicial decision that facilitates P3s for student housing, and a P3 for off-campus student housing at Florida International University recently reached financial close. This is consistent with a larger, national trend towards P3s for student housing. Continue Reading
We have previously discussed the State of Florida’s P3 law, which broadly authorizes private firms to submit unsolicited proposals to state and local agencies for a wide variety of public services and facilities. The concept behind an unsolicited proposal is simple enough. The private sector is constantly innovating. As a result, the government may not have enough information to draft a request for proposals and solicit offers for a particular solution. Essentially, the government cannot ask for what it cannot describe. In those situations, the private sector can jumpstart the process by submitting a unsolicited proposal that informs the government of its innovative solution. Ordinarily, if the government likes the new idea, it must then conduct a competitive process that permits other firms to submit alternative proposals. Continue Reading
Bilzin Sumberg’s 2018 South Florida Redevelopment Conference highlighted emerging development trends and the latest changes in the South Florida market. Panel discussions covered successful strategies and unique opportunities for redevelopment in South Florida, including real estate P3s, transit-oriented development, tax strategies for real estate developers, development within opportunity zones, and the many faces of adaptive reuse.
On October 5th, Bilzin Sumberg hosted its first-ever South Florida Redevelopment Conference. The conference kicked off with “Cafecito with the Mayors,” where Bilzin Sumberg’s Managing Partner-Elect and leader of the Firm’s P3 Practice, Albert E. Dotson, Jr., spoke with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and City of Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez about development insights and issues in South Florida. The Mayors discussed South Florida’s resiliency initiatives, attraction and retention of talent, and exciting opportunities for public-private partnerships (P3s). Both Mayor Gimenez and Mayor Suarez enthusiastically invited the major development players in the audience to bring ideas for P3s and touted the benefits of South Florida as a prime area for business development and growth. Continue Reading
We recently wrote about the legislation that the Miami-Dade County Commission passed, giving the County exclusive regulatory jurisdiction over the property within the SMART Plan corridors. Now, the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) has made a major decision largely affecting the future of the SMART Plan.
Yesterday, the TPO decided to adopt the County consultant’s recommendation to use Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as the mode of transportation for the implementation of the southern corridor of the SMART Plan. The consultant’s recommendation was based on a multi-year study that compared potential modes, including BRT and the extension of the MetroRail at ground level. BRT was supported by the Mayor, County Public Works Department, and three of the five municipalities along the southern corridor, which extends from Dadeland all the way south to Homestead and Florida City. The County chose BRT, with a promise to look at a conversion to rail upon reaching 35,000 average weekday riders. Continue Reading