As part of an effort to facilitate the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) in public transportation capital projects, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued on Monday a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that aims to streamline the project approval process.

Under the proposed “Private Investment Project Procedures” (PIPP) set forth in the NPRM, recipients of Federal funding for public transportation projects would be able to request a modification or waiver of specific FTA requirements if the recipient demonstrates that those requirements discourage the use of P3s. The FTA would then have discretion to grant a modification or waiver of such requirement(s) if it determines that:

    1. The FTA requirement(s) discourage the use of P3s;
    2. The proposed modification or waiver of the FTA requirement(s) is likely to encourage a P3;
    3. The amount of private sector participation is sufficient to warrant such modification or waiver of the FTA requirement(s); and
    4. The modification or waiver of the FTA requirement(s) can be accomplished while protecting public interest and any public investment.

The NPRM specifies that requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act and any other provisions of Federal statutes are not subject to modification or waiver.

    “As more public transportation project sponsors find willing and able private partners, we must ensure that federal regulations or procedures do not stifle innovation,” said FTA Executive Director Matthew Welbes. “FTA’s Private Investment Project Procedures will help us maintain procedures that are truly beneficial while allowing for discretion to waive those that simply impede good projects.”
    The FTA is accepting public comments on the NPRM until September 29, 2017.