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Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, a Jefferson City Republican who is sponsoring the bill on the Senate side, said the private funding makes the new arts center a smart financial move for the state, which would own the facility.

“So you’re going to be able to put an asset on your balance sheet for half the price,” Kehoe said.

But the bill could face opposition from Senate Republicans who think the state should not take on additional debt during a budget shortfall.

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At the end of the 15 years, the property will be returned to the SHA.

Tim Schweizer, chairman of the SHA’s board of trustees, said the arrangement offers a lot of advantages to the local housing authority.

“We are getting private investment to help redevelop housing for low-income people in Springfield. It’s a win-win for the community to have private investment help us get these units rehabbed,” Schweitzer said.

On Wednesday, the SHA board approved an early start agreement with Bear Development LLC of Kenosha, Wisconsin, to oversee the project. The preliminary construction cost is about $2 million, which will come from investors and other private funding sources.

The SHA may use some of its own funds on the project, but that amount has not been determined.

“The risk is being assumed by the development company,” said Melissa Huffstedtler, deputy director of the SHA. “We will seek additional funding sources through the tax credit program and other grant and self-funding sources to fund the project.”

Schweizer said there are still a lot of details to be ironed out, but the agreement approved Wednesday will get the ball rolling.

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At its meeting Tuesday, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to officially establish the Reston Transportation Service District, part of the 40-year, $2.27 billion plan to upgrade roadways in Reston’s Transit Station Area.

Supervisors in February approved the project’s funding plan, which includes a proposed 2.1 cent/$100 of assessed value tax assessed to properties in the Transit Station Area. That rate will be discussed and finalized when the county budget is approved in May.

The overall project includes road widening and upgrades to intersections and interchanges, in addition toconstruction of new Dulles Toll Road crossings, including at Town Center Parkway and Soapstone Drive. Roadway projects would be paid for with public revenue, while work on intersections and the street grid would be covered by private funding.

Under the agreed-upon plan, current homeowners in the TSA will be responsible for up to $44.6 million of the estimated cost. The remainder of the tax funds (totaling $350 million) will be collected from commercial/industrial properties and from residential properties built in the future. The rest of private funds, about $716 million, is expected to be collected through in-kind contributions to the grid by developers.

In addition, the board voted Tuesday to create a 13-member advisory group for the service district. The group will consist of the following members:

  • One member from the Dranesville District
  • Two members from the Hunter Mill District
  • Three members to represent residential owners and homeowner/civic associations
  • One member to represent apartment or rental owner associations
  • One member to represent residents of Reston Town Center
  • Three members to represent commercial or retail ownership interests, including the Reston Town Center Association
  • One member from the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce to represent lessees of non-residential space
  • One member from Reston Association

Among the group’s responsibilities, county Department of Transportation Director TomBiesiadny said, would be to “work with staff to ensure that estimated funding levels are coordinated with construction of transportation projects, that the timing of the construction is coordinated with development, and that the funding is being spent in an appropriate and efficientmanner.”

Supervisors Linda Smyth (Providence District) and Pat Herrity (Springfield District) both abstained from the votes, as they have throughout the process. Herrity once again stated that the cost of the project, which he called “gold-plated,” is too high.

“We’re taxing our residents out of the county and I think we’re going to see some of them fleeing Reston,” Herrity said.

A pair of TSA residents who spoke during a public hearing Tuesday, Robert Perry and Hank Schonzeit, both expressed feelings that taxing a small group of residents for work that benefits the entire community — as well asdevelopers — is unfair.

“If you’re going tohave a situation where you’re going to try to flog us the most you can get away with, in the smallest possible area for the fewest taxpayers, I say that’s not fair,” Perry said. “The developers who probably live in a different state who are getting rich from this [are]the ones that should bear the payment, not us.”

Developers will be responsible for 96 percent of the private share ofthe project, Biesiadny said, and 53 percent (about $1.2 billion) of the project is to be paid out of the county coffers. Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (Hunter Mill District) said that while developers will be benefiting from the major road improvements,she believes residents will see the benefits of the work as well.

“We’re hoping it will not be considered onerous, but I think anytime we ask the citizens to [be taxed], they may assume it’s going to be an onerous assessment,” Hudgins said. “But I think they’ll see the return.”

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By the people, for the people
Sunday, April 09th, 2017 | Author:

Last November, the Palo Alto City Council received a surprise visit from a famously hooded local resident.

It wasnt Mark Zuckerberg but Sequoia, a 28-year-old bald eagle who lives at the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo and who attended the meeting as part of a presentation about the zoos impending renovation.

Minutes later, the council received another treat: an announcement that Friends of the Junior Museum and Zoo was about to complete its $25 million campaign to greatly expand the beloved Rinconada Park institutions — an effort that the group officially completed in February with the help of $10 million of community donations and a $15 million matching grant from the Peery Foundation.

Then-Mayor Pat Burt called the expansion the largest project contributed by a nonprofit since the 1930s.

This could have been something that was proposed as a 50-50 public-private contribution. And its not, Burt said.

The zoo expansion is the most dramatic but hardly the only example of a private groups stepping up to pay for a recreation amenity. Mitchell Parks universally accessible Magical Bridge playground, which opened in 2015, was made possible by a group of residents who launched the group Friends of the Magical Bridge and raised $3.5 million (the city contributed the land and $300,000).

The 2009 renovation of Lytton Plaza in downtown Palo Alto was partially paid for by Friends of Lytton Plaza, while the construction of the playground in downtowns Heritage Park was buoyed in 2007 by a contribution of nearly $200,000 from Friends of Heritage Park.

The bottom line is that Palo Alto has nowhere near the money it needs to pay for all the new dog runs, bathrooms and neighborhood parks that its parks master plan calls for. But with Friends like these, thats not necessarily a deal breaker.

Private groups — along with higher fees for things like swimming classes at Rinconada and admission to the Junior Museum and Zoo (which is currently free) — are expected to play a critical role in the citys implementation of the master plan. Even if the citys General Fund shoulders a good share of the load, the master plan explicitly calls for pursuing private funding sources for recreation programming, capital improvement projects and facility maintenance.

The plan also aims to create sponsorship programs for potential donors and engage nonprofit friends groups to seek donor funding, including foundation grants, corporate giving and small and major philanthropic gifts by individuals, for priority projects.

The reliance on private contributions is imbedded in the documents implementation plan, which prioritizes the proposed near- and long-term programs in terms of urgency and costs. Nearly every major proposal — from enhancing sports fields and building a new gymnasium to redeveloping Cubberley Community Center and improving the 7.7-acre site that was recently annexed to Foothills Park — includes outreach to the general community (or in the case of athletic fields, to field users) for private donations as a funding strategy.

In collaboration with the Friends of Palo Alto Parks and the Palo Alto Recreation Foundation among other partners, Palo Alto will develop a marketing campaign to engage members of the public to volunteer and contribute financially to the improvement and expansion of Palo Altos parks, open space and recreation programs, the plan states.

Other funding mechanisms — including bonds, grants and park-impact fees — are also on the citys menu. But given the citys wealth of willing donors and the populaces love for parks, fields and bald eagles, the master plan clearly reflects the citys belief that the most valuable instrument for improving the communitys experience of parks and recreation is the community itself.

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Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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Bowen visits Mount Vernon
Sunday, April 09th, 2017 | Author:

Institute participants from around the country included K-12 teachers, librarians, and media specialists selected by the George Washington Teacher Institute in a competitive application process.

The George Washington Teacher Institute, founded in 1999, provides K-12 educators with professional development opportunities throughout the year through residential, online, and regional programming, as well as teacher fellowships.

Private funding supports full-scholarships for residential program participants, including a transportation stipend, to qualified educators from select states. In 2017, 160 educators from across the nation will benefit from the George Washington Teacher Institute residential programs, according to the press release.

For more information about the George Washington Teacher Institute, visit www.MountVernon.org/Teachers

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By Philip Haldiman, Independent Newsmedia

If all big-time cities have big-time companies and industries, then Peoria could be moving closer to the big time.

Arizona State University wants to operate and manage the BioInspire program, Peoria’s technology and biomedical incubator, in partnership with the city.

The marriage could bring a wide range of technologies to the incubator, spanning from software development to cyber-security, and more.

ASU and city officials recently met to discuss a proposal from the mega university that would expand on BioInspire, which was launched in 2011.

Mayor Cathy Carlat said ASU brings a wide range of experience in developing companies and a large network to help expand BioInspire.

This is an opportunity to grow the city’s brand as a hub for innovation and technology.

“We have been committed to producing an innovation economy for some time now … and we are still committed and will be committed until this ecosystem becomes a realty and these types of business are able to plant seeds and start doing business in Peoria,” Ms. Carlat said. “We have a specific vision for this city and it’s not the kind that comes easily, but we are willing to work hard and put our money where our mouth is.”

The city helps fund eligible businesses associated with BioInspire. But under the ASU agreement, Scott Whyte, director of economic development services, said Peoria would cover only 10 percent of the program’s costs, amounting to a financial leverage of more than $3 million over three years.

He said ASU’s vast network of angel and venture investors can provide funding for incubator businesses. There will be a fee for service to the city associated with ASU’s program, he said.

While Peoria has not fully committed to the proposal, the city’s contract with operator and manager BioAccel ended in November and earlier this month the City Council approved an agreement to wind down its function with the operator.

Mr. Whyte said an agreement could come before the Council this month.

“The City Council will need to decide if the ASU proposal for the continuation of the BioInspire program is in the city’s interest,” he said.

Entrepreneurial ecosystem
“Entrepreneurial ecosystem” is the buzz phrase that has been floating around the proposed partnership between Peoria and ASU.

Mr. Whyte said having an entrepreneurial ecosystem is a public benefit that fosters all aspects of taking an idea from inception through to commercialization.

He said developing the ecosystem can grow Peoria’s entrepreneurial base and attraction, lead to the launch of new technology start-ups and lead to the creation of innovative technologies, as well as foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurial activity.

The recently opened Maricopa Small Business Development Center Network, 8385 W. Mariners Way, is a piece of the entrepreneurial ecosystem Peoria is trying to create, he said.

“At root of it is an entrepreneurial ecosystem development. When you look at successful executions throughout the country, there’s a whole support system provided for entrepreneurialism for small business and innovation creativity.

Those examples, done well, they have been enormously impactful economically,” Mr. Whyte said. “But you have to create the mentorships, the services, the funding, the ability to help with required federal studies and approvals, and get in front of senior executives that are willing to serve on boards — all those things it takes to secure intellectual property. And if you can create that environment for innovation success then it will attract innovation creativity.”

Booming business
The incubator and accelerator space is exploding in Arizona, according to a survey completed by the Arizona Commerce Authority in January 2015.

The economic development organization conducted a telephone survey with representatives of 10 incubators and accelerators operating in this state. The study said the incubator and accelerator community is exploding in Arizona, with many facilities formed since 2011.

Today there are more than 40 incubators in the state that serve a wide range of technologies.

At the time of the survey, more than 300 Arizonans were working on a start-up at these incubators, more than 60 percent being paid. The incubators and accelerators surveyed nurtured companies that have created almost 900 full-time jobs. Companies that took part in these incubator and accelerator programs raised more than $110 million in private capital.

David Allen, vice president of Tech Launch Arizona, said incubators have been around for about 40 years and have been an important part of economic strategies.

Tech Launch Arizona is part of the commercialization arm of University of Arizona, which looks at inventions created by faculty, evaluates them for patentablity and commercial potential, and then tries to find a home for the technology.

He said businesses that are tenants of incubators are usually more successful than companies at-large.

“Incubators generally provide services that entrepreneurs may have a hard time accessing in the broader community,” he said. “The other thing is that an incubator provides an environment of synergy in which entrepreneurs can learn from others. They no longer have to be alone like they would be if they were out in the broader community.”

Building on the past
Since it launched, BioInspire has attracted 12 early stage biomedical device companies, brought in more than $14 million in additional private funding, and created 62 jobs.

Mr. Whyte said the biomedical industry has been the focus of the program because of the large health-care footprint in Peoria and the surrounding area, the number of medical device patents issued, and a sizable retirement population with medical devise needs.

“No other incubator at the time was focused on medical devices,” Mr. Whyte said.

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WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao last week raised the prospect that needed infrastructure improvements may be funded to some extent by imposing tolls on more of the nation’s roads and bridges.

It was unclear whether she intends to expand tolling on the US interstate system.

The concept of granting massive tax credits to lure private infrastructure investment was the centerpiece of President Trump’s campaign promise to raise $1 trillion for roads and bridges.

“To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States,” Trump said in Tuesday’s address to a join session of Congress.

He said the money would be raised “through both public and private capital, creating millions of new jobs.”

Beyond repeated calls to draw private investment, however, the White House had not reiterated its campaign promise to raise at least of portion of the money through new tolls. Even if investors were attracted by the 82 percent tax credit Trump hopes to offer, they would expect an additional return on their money, and when it comes to roads and bridges, that cash would come from imposing new tolls.

“The federal government cannot assume the cost for all of it,” Chao told Fox News after Trump’s address, reiterating a point she made during her Senate confirmation hearing. She told Fox host Sean Hannity that “new and innovative ways” were necessary to find funding.

She said the president had “exciting and novel ideas about how to finance” what independent authorities estimate is the need for $3.7 trillion to meet infrastructure needs by 2020.

“Public private partnerships are a very important part of a new way of financing our roads and bridges,” she said.

Asked whether that would require new tolls, Chao responded “that is certainly one example of how that would work.”

“I have to say that there are some people who may not support toll roads,” Chao said, “but we have to take a look at all of these financing mechanisms, because once again, the needs of our infrastructure are so great that the federal government cannot and should not be the only source of funding to repair our bridges, our roads and our energy grids.”

The challenge in luring private investment to build roads and bridges is that vast portions of the country outside of high-traffic volume urban hubs would not produce the toll revenue desired by investors.

There has been strong bipartisan opposition in Congress to imposing tolls on the interstates, beyond those like the New Jersey and Pennsylvania turnpikes that were grandfathered in when they became part of the network.

Chao has been largely unavailable to reporters, and she was whisked away after addressing a convention of transportation officials this past week.

The Congressional Budget Office said in 2015 that just 26 private-investment projects were completed or underway.

Overreliance on private funding has been called into question by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

“Funding solutions that involve public-private partnerships, as have been discussed by administration officials, may be innovative solutions for crumbling inner cities, but do not work for rural areas,” Barrasso said last month.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — More than 1,000 private school students and chaperones greeted and cheered Gov. Larry Hogans arrival down the steps of the Maryland State House on Nonpublic School Advocacy day Thursday morning.

Students from 12 Maryland counties and Baltimore city schools attended a rally at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis in support of the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today program, also known as BOOST.

BOOST was created in 2016 to provide $5 million for private school vouchers, and allows students with educational needs to attend nonpublic schools through vouchers.

This year, Hogan, R, is working to add millions more dollars to the program.

About 40 schools, including St. Francis International School, St. Casimir Catholic School, and Liberty Christian School, were in attendance as well as teachers, principals, superintendents, and parents to show their support.

Middle school teacher Anna Crisci from St. Michaels School in Ridge, Maryland, said that the program helps a lot of students due to large class sizes in area public schools.

This money definitely helps our school, Crisci told the University of Marylands Capital News Service. We wouldnt be open if we didnt have BOOST money.

To have a private school where they get one-on-one education is so important . small class sizes, especially for kids who struggle with reading and math, said Crisci. Its so important to have that one-on-one.

Principal Liz Whelan of St. Peters Catholic School in Olney, Maryland, also attended the rally to show support of the private funding that help students from various backgrounds at her school.

I think its so important that the state and for everybody to recognize that were thankful that they appreciate all of the students in the state of Maryland and it benefits all of the students of all nationalities and all different groups of people, said Whelan.

Whelan also said the BOOST scholarship helps students receive free and reduced-price lunch.

We have 12 families that get a scholarship that helps them with their tuition, Whelan said. So were so thrilled and came out here to say thanks to the governor.

At the rally, Hogan said that he will continue to fight for the program that was unanimously approved last year in the state Senate.

A coalition of lawmakers and activist groups gathered in Annapolis on Tuesday to vocally oppose the program.

Hogan has yet to address at least $2.9 billion needed increased in public school funding for each year, according to the ACLU of Maryland and Maryland State Education Association. The $2.9 billion budget gap study was conducted by Maryland State Department Education consultants, APA Consulting.

The governor has fully funded public schools, and then some, proposing a total of $6.4 billion to K-12 education in the upcoming 2018 budget.

Supporters of the BOOST program say it offers upward mobility to students who would otherwise be stuck in underperforming public schools.

Advocates for the program also argue that the program helps at risk students from failing schools.

But opponents of the BOOST program argued that it takes away taxpayers money from public schools to subsidize private school tuition, and said that 78 percent of students who received vouchers from the BOOST program were already enrolled in private schools, based on 2016-2017 BOOST program data, according to the Maryland ACLU and teachers union.

This evidence shows that they used the program to support students that are already in their school for every child they accepted from a public school, Betty Weller, Maryland State Education Association president, said during the Tuesday press conference.

Another issue that opponents are concerned about is that schools do not have to meet the nondiscrimination laws set in place at public schools, which allows private schools to legally discriminate in employment based on religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, according to the ACLU and state education union.

Ninety-seven percent of schools that have received subsidies are religious, according to the ACLU and teachers union.

The ACLU is against the program because of civil rights and public funding issues.

Ninety-seven percent of schools that benefit from this taxpayer subsidy are religious, said Tishan Weerasooriya, ACLU of Maryland Public Policy Advocate, at the press conference. This is a cause of our great concern because using taxpayers dollars to fund religious institutions only entangles state governments with religious teachings.

Maryland Parent and Teacher Association President Elizabeth Ysla-Leight expressed her concern for students families.

Its important for parents to know that their tax dollars are going to be well spent, Ysla-Leight said Tuesday. And while I appreciate protect our schools, It is very important that we remember, it should also protect our families as well because theres a trickle down effect.When schools are not able to provide certain, minimal services and supplies guess who they call? They contact the parents.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said he believes this initiative is contributing to a nationwide effort by way of the Republican Party.

This voucher-based program is really a part of a Republican effort to privatize public schools, said Kamenetz. Marylanders want public money to be invested in our public schools. We need to protect our public schools system.

— CNS correspondent Jacob Taylor contributed to this story.

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Agency demonstrates winning formula as catalyst for energy innovation

National Harbor, Md. – The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced that a group of 74 project teams has attracted over $1.8 billion in private sector follow-on funding since the agency’s founding in 2009. The announcement was made at the eighth annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit at the Gaylord National Resort amp; Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

In addition, ARPA-E, tasked with supporting transformative innovation in the energy sector, announced that 56 projects have formed new companies, 68 projects have partnered with other government agencies for further development, and an ever-increasing number of technologies have been incorporated into products sold on the market today. These data illustrate ARPA-E’s critical role in supporting high-potential, high-impact technologies to the point where additional investment can be leveraged for continued development and deployment in the marketplace.

“At just eight years old, ARPA-E is a young agency, but these newest numbers demonstrate just how well the energy innovation community we are building is working,” said ARPA-E Acting Director Eric Rohlfing. “The private sector plays a critical part in this community, and it is thrilling to see the technologies from our projects becoming market-ready energy products with full private support. The ARPA-E model is proving itself in a truly impressive way.”

To date, ARPA-E has provided approximately $1.5 billion in Ramp;D funding across more than 580 projects through 36 focused programs and three open funding solicitations. The agency is charged by Congress to maintain US competitiveness in the energy space, which it achieves through targeted support of projects that, if successful, could transform how Americans generate, store and use energy.

THE EIGHTH ANNUAL ARPA-E SUMMIT

The eighth annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit kicked off today at the Gaylord National Resort amp; Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. This year’s Summit brings together 2,000 attendees from academia, business and government. Featured keynote speakers include Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good, MIT President L. Rafael Reif, and Mithril Capital Management founder and Managing General Partner Ajay Royan. The Technology Showcase will provide a first-hand look at the latest energy innovations including displays from more than 275 ARPA-E technologies–many making their first public appearance. Information on the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is available here: http://www.arpae-summit.com.

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