TMG Assists Baton Rouge Transit System as it Prepares for Big Change

In need of additional resources, the Baton Rouge Capital Area Transit System (CATS) turned to the voters of East Baton Rouge Parish to establish the agency’s first dedicated source of revenue.  Following an extensive outreach campaign that included a coalition of business, faith-based and other organizations, the Baton Rouge community in April 2012 approved a property tax measure which effectively doubled the agency’s budget in order to implement a number of significant improvements to service.  This ballot success was a big win for the future of transit in the Capital and an exceptional event for transit nationwide, representative of a larger trend of new attitudes toward transportation.

In late 2012, CATS retained TMG Consulting to analyze the current state and progress of the organization as it was preparing to implement its growth plans and to make recommendations on what management structure would best meet the agencies goals through transition.  TMG researched data from CATS and other relevant transit agencies of current and future size.  Using gap analysis, TMG was able to estimate what resources and staff capacity the organization was likely to need to meet its future goals.  After vetting a number of management alternatives that ranged from all in-house to fully contracted, or delegated, management, TMG recommended that CATS augment staff by contracting out selected management positions, an arrangement similar to transit agencies in El Paso, TX and Lexington, KY.  TMG also prepared a number of other recommendations, from the pace of introducing new service to technology investment, to enable the agency to stay on track to deliver its ballot goals and bring CATS to the next level.

The CATS Board and staff is currently reviewing TMG’s recommendations as it prepares for what will undoubtedly be a bright new future for transit in Baton Rouge.

Contributed by:

Dwight Norton, AICP

Senior Analyst, Planning

dwightnorton@tmg-consulting.net  

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Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Economic Development: Invest in Transit

Source: www.ridemetro.org

Houston’s Light Rail, http://www.ridemetro.org

We at TMG have been working for months to statistically, economically or even anecdotally correlate good public transit to economic prosperity in a city.  Observationally, cities that support strong economies like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and Boston have a transit system with good coverage and high frequency.  It is unknown whether good transit attracts economic development, or if economic development demands good transit.  We are still working to develop a successful index to correlate these two factors. Here is what we do know: (more…)

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Fall Conference

Leaders of engineering companies met starting on October 18 in Las Vegas at the ACEC conference to discuss business issues and prospects.  General Session speakers included former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, an advocate for a bond-funded national infrastructure program.  Other prominent speakers included: Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval; John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company; and Craig Martin, CEO of Jacobs Engineering.

Re-thinking Energy

Well received was John Hofmeister, who as an energy insider wrote the book—Why We Hate the Oil Companies.   Currently Hofmeister is CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy and feels that an independent regulatory commission is needed to oversee energy regulation replacing the myriad of federal agencies presently regulating and stymieing the energy sector.  Hofmeister sees the need for trillion dollar per year expenditures by the private sector rebuilding the U.S.’s energy infrastructure–creating a safer and more efficient sector as well as 4 million jobs.  However, the current regulatory regime prohibits these private sector investments from going forward.  Unfortunately neither the national infrastructure program nor the rebuilding of the energy sector is nearing reality—bad news for engineering companies.  Hofmeister feels that the past achievements of engineers are substantial and with the right policy, we, engineers, could solve many of the problems that the country is facing today.

Engineering Practice

A General Session speaker who discussed a need for saving lives in the engineering and construction industries by a renewed emphasis on safety was Craig Martin, CEO of Jacobs Engineering.  He also noted that Jacobs is very conscious of ethics laws and requirements both in the U.S and internationally in conducting its business.  When discussing changes in the engineering business that we could expect, he foresaw the ending of the federal Brooks Act and the use of Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) leading to the use of price in the selection of providers for engineering services.  Needless to say this brought about quite a reaction from the members of ACEC given that a pillar of ACEC’s program is the expanded use of QBS.

Importance of Infrastructure Projects

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Republican, made a favorable expression on the crowd talking about the importance of projects like the Hoover Dam and the O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge at Hoover Dam as well other projects of the same size and scale to Nevada and the nation.  To me he looks like Vice Presidential candidate material in the 2012 Presidential election.

Technical Sessions

Technical sessions were held on public private partnership projects in California and Florida that generally involve revenue generation for the private operator, a proposed infrastructure program financed by a 1% sales tax in Georgia, structuring design-build contracts, successfully navigating media relations as well as sessions on services marketing, information technology, human resources and other matters of interest to the business of engineering companies.

Contributed by:

Anthony Mumphrey, President, ACEC Louisiana

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Upcoming Conferences

TMG Staff are active in their respective fields, regularly participating in industry conferences and continuing education programs.  Over the next few months, TMG staff will be attending:

  • American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Annual Meeting & EXPO 2011: October 2-5, 2011; New Orleans, LA
  • Global Gaming Expo 2011 (G2E):  October 3-6, Las Vegas, NV
  • Lorman Education Series “Public Contracts and Procurement Regulations”: October 14, 2011,  Kenner, LA
  • American Council of Engineering Companies Fall Conference: October 19-22, Las Vegas, NV
  • New England Gaming Summit: November 14-15, Mashantucket, CT
  • CCAA 35th Annual Conference on the Caribbean and Central America: November 30-December 2, New Orleans, LA

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Practice Highlight: Engineering Economics

Given  the current economic climate and a focus on project impacts, engineers are challenged to go beyond solid, functional design work and enter the realm of economics to prove that a given project will bring real and tangible benefits. Engineering economics is the application of economic methods and models to project evaluation. This evaluation could include:

  1. Overall worthiness of a project in terms of return-on-investment
  2. Benefits and costs of design, construction, implementation and operation of the project
  3. Alternatives analysis for project financing
  4. Impacts of projects in terms of jobs, income & taxes on a geographical area or governmental unit
  5. Life cycle cost analysis

Measurements of some costs are relatively easy; e.g. design and construction cost. Establishing the value of driving time saved for a highway widening project or the value of a human life for a safety enhancement project  requires more expertise. Implementation costs are usually one-time, while operating costs and benefits are computed on an annual basis and translated to present value. Finally, incorporating uncertainty in project impacts can complicate the project evaluation.

Benefit-cost analyses have been completed by TMG Consulting for Richmond International, Mobile, Houma, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International airports. TMG Consulting has completed impact studies for numerous private and  public clients in locales such as Missouri, Louisiana, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Florida, helping them to reach their development project goals.

Nowadays, many engineering projects require the use of engineering economics in project evaluation, a discipline in which TMG Consulting has long standing experience and expertise.

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

TMG Principal Mumphrey Elected President of ACEC/L

In July, Dr. Anthony Mumphrey became President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Louisiana (ACEC/L). The Council’s mission is to contribute to America’s prosperity and welfare by advancing the business interests of member firms. ACEC/L exists to assist principals and managers of member firms in developing successful practices. Approximately 140 Louisiana engineering firms are members of ACEC/L with over 5,000 firms belonging to the national federation. Mumphrey has served ACEC/L as a member of its Board of Directors for many years and helped the organization survive and stabilize after Hurricane Katrina. Upon his election, Dr. Mumphrey commented, “becoming president is a nice honor, but much work is needed in helping firms navigate the complex political and business environments that exist currently.”

Dr. Anthony Mumphrey is the founder and President of TMG Consulting, and will serve as President of ACEC/L through July 2012.

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Isle of Capri Awarded Final Resort Casino License in Pennsylvania

Last month, TMG Consulting clients Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Isle of Capri were awarded the final resort casino license in Pennsylvania. The 600 slot and 28 table game casino will be integrated into the existing resort, and is expected to open in early 2012. TMG Consulting provided market analysis services, forecast jobs, income, and tax impacts, and provided expert witness testimony before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in support of our client’s license application. Dr. Anthony Mumphrey, Jr. of TMG responded, “This is a win-win for the State of Pennsylvania and Nemacolin. The casino will broaden the range of amenities offered at this world-class resort, will generate new jobs, and will add fuel to the economy of Pennsylvania.”

To view the full announcement from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Click Here.

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

PA Gaming Control Board to Award Final Resort Casino License

Last Month, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held licensing hearings for the state’s final Category 3 resort casino license. TMG supported Isle of Capri in its bid for this license with Nemacolin Woodlands Resort by performing a series of analyses and making revenue, visitation, cannibalization, and socioeconomic impact projections for our client. Dr. Anthony Mumphrey, President of TMG Consulting, served as a key expert witness before the Board, testifying that “as a true resort casino [Lady Luck at Nemacolin] will be a superior location and generate and maintain more visitors, permanent jobs, income and taxes for the Commonwealth than the other Applicants”. The plans for the Lady Luck at Nemacolin casino were very well received by the Board and widely praised in the press. The PGCB is expected to announce the winning applicant for the license in January 2011.

TMG Consulting Gaming Division Contact:
Suzanne Leckert, suzanneleckert@tmg-consulting.net, or 504.569.9239 Ex. 33.