((Editor’s Note: This story has been revised from an earlier version to update information about the size of the contract that had been incorrectly provided by the state.))
The lead agency overseeing an expected $1.2 billion federal windfall that will help fund flood-control related projects around Louisiana has issued a Request for Proposals for a program manager to provide support services to the state.
The RFP from the state Office of Community Development doesn’t say how much the highly coveted, three-year gig will pay. But proposals are expected to come in anywhere from $15 million to $25 million and will likely require a team approach of multiple firms, as proposers are required to have experience in several areas, including: environmental science consulting, coastal restoration projects, managing large-scale multijurisdictional projects and comprehensive community planning.
Proposals are due in mid-February and the contract will be awarded in mid-March, though the first batch of funds—which will come in the form of Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—likely will not be available until mid-summer at the earliest.
In the meantime, the OCD is also preparing additional RFPs for engineering work and modeling that will help determine which projects will get underway first. OCD Executive Director Pat Forbes says decisions will be based on hard data, not politics, and that the criteria used will be that of “no regrets,” meaning that projects that appear to be low-risk, high-reward and have already been in the planning stages for several years.
The $1.2 billion award was first announced last April by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, and Gov. John Bel Edwards. In the months since, Edwards has created a Watershed Council comprising five agencies—the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Department of Transportation and Development, OCD, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and GOHSEP—that will jointly administer the program. In August, the council launched the Watershed Initiative and its statewide tour, designed to get input from communities in all 57 of the state’s watersheds about what their needs and ways communities can work together.