White House Releases Roadmap for Nation’s Infrastructure; Congress Takes the Wheel

The White House released its long-awaited infrastructure proposal to Congress this morning, along with the President’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal. While elements have been hinted at and leaked before, the 55-page document released today provides significant new details. Though the Administration began to advance discrete priorities by executive action this past year, this broad proposal will require legislation. The Administration has opted to leave to Congress the drafting of the bill, just as it did with tax reform.

The White House proposal includes:

  • Creation of new federal infrastructure programs that (1) incentivize project sponsors to secure new revenue and deliver projects more efficiently, (2) provide funds for innovative and transformative projects, (3) encourage investment in rural communities, and (4) increase the capacity of federal loan programs.
  • Providing more control to state and local project sponsors to prioritize projects and make investment decisions.
  • Elimination of the transportation and state volume caps on Private Activity Bonds and expansion of eligible asset classes.
  • Expansion of TIFIA eligibility to include airports and maritime and inland ports.
  • Removal of federal tolling limitations on the Interstate System.
  • Conditioning federal transit funds for major capital projects on the use of value capture financing.
  • Reducing the federal environmental review and permitting timeline for infrastructure projects to two years.
  • Expansion of federal workforce training programs.

An official summary of the proposal can be found here. The White House infrastructure proposal requests that Congress allocate $200 billion in new federal spending over the next ten years, estimating that will generate an additional $1.5 trillion in total infrastructure investment through state and local revenue measures such as those recently passed in Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, and Wyoming.

While the White House does not specify how Congress should fund or offset the $200 billion in additional infrastructure spending, its accompanying 2019 budget proposal will generate significant controversy regarding transportation, recommending a significant reduction in federal spending for Amtrak and transit capital projects and proposing that outlays from the Highway Trust Fund be aligned with receipts (which, according to the latest Congressional Budget Office estimate, would begin to result in reduced outlays for existing programs beginning in 2021).

Will this prove to be a negotiating position, encouraging Congress to offer up alternative sources of funding to avoid these draconian cuts? Indeed, a senior White House official noted recently that $200 billion in additional federal spending is the minimum and that the final number may well rise significantly once Congress begins its consideration of the infrastructure proposal.

A key indicator for the infrastructure proposal’s success on Capitol Hill will be whether congressional negotiators start from the premise that any new infrastructure legislation must supplement, and not replace, existing federal spending. There is a fear that if this proposal replaces existing programs, it would actually be a policy regression, devolving responsibility for critical infrastructure development to the states, instead of asserting the importance of the federal role in partnering with state and local project sponsors.

The bottom line is that governments at all levels—federal, state, and local—are not spending enough to keep up with the nation’s infrastructure backlog, let alone modernize the physical backbone of our economy. Given the scarcity of infrastructure funds, any new infrastructure initiative must supplement existing programs instead of cutting or replacing them. Therefore, using new federal infrastructure funding as a carrot to incentivize increased investment at the state and local levels is a realistic policy goal.

This is not a new idea. Congress included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act seed money to leverage non-federal dollars for projects of national or regional significance. The Administration’s funding notice for the FAST Act program essentially serves as a pilot program for the incentive concept included in today’s proposal.

In taking these ideas from concept to reality, the House will be led by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster. The retiring Shuster will be unbound by reelection pressures and has a track record of working effectively across party lines. In the Senate, multiple committees with overlapping jurisdictions will likely be involved, including the Commerce Committee, led by Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, the Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso, and the Banking and Finance Committees.

By all accounts, Congress intends to tackle the Herculean task of sustainably resolving the Highway Trust Fund’s systemic insolvency. Not tackled purposefully in over twenty-five years, Chairman Shuster has made this a priority, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio has long been a champion for additional revenue and laid out a number of potential options in a recent white paper distributed at the House Democratic Retreat.

The mere fact that so much political attention is now focused on infrastructure investment—from both parties, in both Chambers, and from the Administration—makes this a rare moment in time. Proposing a massive infrastructure investment outside of the normal transportation authorization process allows policymakers the luxury of thinking about what long-term federal infrastructure policy ought to be, absent the constraints of existing program implementation. For this reason, the White House infrastructure proposal represents an historic opportunity to bring the nation’s infrastructure into the twenty-first century. It is essential that all stakeholders seize this opportunity for shaping a bipartisan initiative that will incentivize permanent paradigm shifts and lasting positive outcomes.

We will be posting additional analysis and updates in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

 

A Path to Federal P3s for Infrastructure? ABA Subcommittee Suggests Changes to OMB Budgetary Scoring

Much has been said already about President Trump’s call to “rebuild our crumbling infrastructure,” in his first State of the Union address. The President asked Congress to advance a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan that, in part, should be “leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment.”

But not all “crumbling infrastructure” is state and local infrastructure. The federal government’s infrastructure also needs attention (e.g., river locks, some dams and levees, federal buildings, etc.). In late January of this year, a purported summary of President Trump’s infrastructure “funding principles” briefly described two strategies for funding federal infrastructure: a planned executive order allowing for disposal of federal assets and creation of a federal capital financing revolving fund, presumably to help federal agencies finance their improvements.

Notably absent among these “funding principles” is availability of the P3 delivery strategy for federal assets. The likely reason is a remaining federal barrier: the need to change the federal Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) relevant scorekeeping guidelines when evaluating a large-scale, federal capital project.

Scorekeeping guidelines measure the budget effects of a proposed federal contract relative to the contracting agency’s budget authority. For federal obligations under federal projects involving private capital, OMB Circular A-11 requires that all of any long-term obligation be “scored” in the first fiscal year, rather than in each fiscal year of the obligation. A fundamental, favorable risk allocation under many P3 structures is to contract for design and construction, but also to shift associated capital costs, to a private partner in exchange for the promise of repayments and a return over time. By scoring all such payments in the first year, the federal entity cannot realize this benefit of a P3.

On the same day as the State of the Union address, an American Bar Association committee published a white paper, titled “The Crisis in the Federal Government’s Infrastructure: Additional Approaches to the Current Federal Budgetary Scoring Regime.” The Committee’s paper – a follow on to a white paper originally published in 2008 – was previewed in late November in a discussion about removing federal barriers to infrastructure development, which was held in Washington D.C. among the paper’s authors, President Trump’s Special Assistant for infrastructure, D.J. Gribbin, and several interested government employees, decision- and policy-makers, and private practitioners in the infrastructure space. Both papers describe in detail and then confront the impediment that the Circular A-11 scorekeeping guidelines pose to federal use of P3s, which effectively frustrate use of P3 project delivery to address pressing federal infrastructure needs.

In the 2008 paper, the Committee offered solutions to modify Circular A-11 scorekeeping guidelines to align the federal government with best practices for state and local (and international) infrastructure funding: changing certain scoring criteria, considering lease payments on the basis of their present value, treating sale/leaseback, purchase options or infrastructure projects as “operating leases” (thus removing them from the onerous scoring rule); and offering a menu of risk assessment, valuation and legislative change suggestions that lower projects costs or offer longer-term payment streams outside of the budget cycle.

The 2018 paper adds two suggestions. First, score the federal government’s costs on net present value of cash flows from the government over the life of the transaction, taking into account the private party’s obligations and adjustment for the risk of private party default, similar to its 2008 suggestion. Second, create “safe harbors” for infrastructure projects that allow annual scoring similar to that described above, arguing that existing and long-standing federal contracts that employ energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) effectively do just that.

The removal of budgetary scoring impediments to consideration of new strategies for federal infrastructure projects – particularly those that have proven successful like P3s – merits consideration. As the President appears to be advocating for a partnership with state and local jurisdictions to solve many infrastructure challenges, the ABA papers offer suggestions to help solve the deficit of investment in federal infrastructure projects.

Port of Long Beach Approves Pier B On-dock Rail Facility, Allowing Faster and Greener Ship to Rail Cargo Movement

On January 22, the Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved construction of an on-dock rail facility that will allow the faster movement of cargo with lower environmental impacts, port officials said in a press release.

The new Pier B on-dock facility will allow more containers to be placed directly on trains at marine terminals. Currently, the ability to build long trains within the Port is limited due to the lack of adequate yard tracks and the configuration of mainline tracks.

Because no cargo trucks are involved in these moves, the new facility will have environmental benefits. The Final Environment Impact Report for the project estimates that it will “result in an overall reduction of an estimated 158,000 miles of truck traffic daily, or 11,000 fewer truck trips compared to the future No Project Alternative.”

Pacific Harbor Line, the Port’s designated operator has converted its fleet to clean diesel locomotives, which reduce air pollution and save fuel.

The facility will be located southwest of Anaheim Street and Interstate 710.

The next steps on the project are completion of preliminary design and the Board’s consideration of a baseline budget for the project.

How Would a Government Shut-Down Impact the Department of Transportation?

A government shut down arises when Congress fails to pass an appropriations act that enables federal agencies to spend. There should be separate appropriations acts for groups of agencies.  However, in recent years, Congress has not enacted these separate appropriations acts, but collected them in one enormous bill that includes virtually every agency of the federal government.  Having created these monster bills, Congress then delays passage over battles about what programs or expenditures should or should not be included.  This creates the delays that lead to government shutdowns.  Most government employees may not work during a shutdown nor may they use government equipment.  Employees away from their offices on business are brought home in anticipation of a shut down because once the shut down in place, they have no authority to use federal funds to travel.  After the deadline for the appropriation has passed, employees may only return to work for a short time in order to provide for the orderly cessation of their agency’s activities.  During a shutdown, employees performing “essential” or emergency functions must continue to work, which is why so many government agencies continue to operate partially during a shut down.

The federal government has shut down 18 times since the 1970s.[1]  The longest shutdown lasted 3 weeks.  The October 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days. Nearly 800,000 federal employees were out of work without pay (Congress later restored the pay lost by these federal employees, which has occurred after every shutdown), and more than a million other working employees had their paychecks delayed (even though having to work because their jobs were “essential,” there was no authority to pay in the absence of an appropriations act). Members of Congress however could keep collecting their paychecks due to a permanent appropriation for their compensation.  The same was true of government employees whose pay was not tied to the appropriations act that Congress failed to enact.  Standards & Poor’s estimated that the last government shutdown cost America $24 billion, or $1.5 billion per day.[2] This estimate is based largely on the imputed value of government services that are not provided or performed during a shut down.  Of course, the direct cost of shutting down can be substantial as well.

The 2018 Shutdown lasted just about 60 hours until a band-aid was put on it, but the shutdown might well be reinstituted if a comprehensive agreement is not reached in the next few weeks. Anticipating the shutdown that went into effect on Saturday, the U. S. Department of Transportation published its plan for operations during a lapse in annual appropriations.[3]  According to the Plan, 34,600 of the DOT’s 55,100 employees would continue working during a shutdown. Air traffic controllers, aviation, pipeline and railroad safety inspectors are among those who would continue to work.  The largest group of employees remaining on the job work for the Federal Aviation Administration, which operates the nation’s air traffic control system.  However, aviation won’t escape unscathed.  Certification of new aircraft will be limited.  Processing of airport construction grants, training of new controllers, registration of planes, air traffic control modernization research and development, and issuance of new pilot licenses and medical certificates will stop.

The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will continue most of their functions during a shutdown. As noted in this blog last time the government shut down, FHWA’s operations mostly are paid out of the Federal Highway Trust Fund.[4] The fund’s revenue comes from federal gas and diesel taxes, which will continue to be collected during the shutdown. However, any work on issuing new regulations would stop throughout the department and its nine agencies.  This is because the regulations process involves officials outside of the agencies that may continue to work. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigations of auto safety defects would be suspended, as would review of incoming information on possible defects from manufacturers and consumers, and compliance testing of vehicles and equipment will be delayed.

The Plan indicates the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would not furlough any employees. Roadside truck inspections would continue because the trust fund supplies FMSCA money to support state law enforcement agencies doing the inspections.  The same is true for scale houses.

Transit and rail programs and employees are less fortunate because their funding is mostly subject to annual appropriation.[5]

Truckload border crossings could see delays because the Customs and Border Patrol prioritizes security over speedy freight flows, and crossings depend on cooperation by several different agencies. The same is true of air and ocean imports.[6]

The severity of a shutdown’s impact will depend in large part upon how long it lasts. Following the 2013 shutdown, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) studied the shutdown’s effects on the DOT.[7]  The study informs what types of activities may be expected to continue or be terminated during a shutdown.

According to the study, activities that continued at DOT during the shutdown included: FTA – Hurricane Sandy activities funded under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act and Lower Manhattan Recover Office activities funded by emergency appropriates after 9/11; FAA – air traffic control services, maintenance and operation of navigation aids and facilities, flight standards and field inspections; Maritime Administration (MARAD) – positions required for U.S. merchant marine academy midshipmen safety and welfare; and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (HMSA) – pipeline accident investigations, pipeline operations and systems inspections, and pipeline safety enforcement.

Activities that did not continue during the shutdown included: FTA – unfunded core agency functions, including grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, purchase orders, travel authorizations, or documents obligating funds; FAA – development of new air traffic control specialists, aviation rulemaking, facility security inspections, evaluations, audits and similar activities; MARAD – administrative support excepting life and safety support and activities associated with the no-year Maritime Security Program, National Defense Reserve Fleet, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Operations; HMSA – strategic planning, public affairs, civil rights and pipeline program development.

In 2013 all FTA grants management employees were furloughed and unavailable to help grantees. According to FTA officials, this had limited consequences because the grant processing system is typically offline in early October.  FTA officials said they returned to normal scheduling and timing of grant activities soon after the shutdown concluded because grant milestones were not scheduled to occur during the shutdown.  The impact of a February shutdown may differ due to different timing considerations.

Ultimately, the GAO concluded that the 2013 shutdown’s long-term effects were difficult to assess in isolation of other budgetary impacts. The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimated in January, 2014 that the direct effect of the shutdown on real GDP growth was a reduction of 0.3 percentage point, and the GAO reported that its forecasters believed the other economic effects to be minimal at the economy-wide level.  With some luck and, hopefully, good will, the 2018 shutdown will remain shut down, its impact short-lived, without any lasting damage.

[1] http://cerasis.com/2013/10/01/government-shutdown-logistics-transportation/
[2] http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/government-shutdown-affect/story?id=52463538
[3] https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/mission/budget/303716/usdot-consolidated-2018-shutdown-summary.pdf
[4] https://www.infrainsightblog.com/2013/10/articles/policy/the-government-shutdowns-impacts-on-federal-transportation-agencies/
[5] https://www.nssga.org/msha-u-s-dot-programs-impacted-government-shutdown/
[6] http://cerasis.com/2013/10/01/government-shutdown-logistics-transportation/
[7] https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-86

Financial Close for Denver International Airport’s Great Hall Project

On December 21, 2017, the City and County of Denver and Denver Great Hall LLC  reached financial close on the $1.8 billion Jeppesen Terminal redevelopment project (Great Hall Project) at Denver International Airport.

Following on the heels of Denver City Council’s approval of the Development Agreement and commercial close in August 2017, this represents a critical milestone in Denver International Airport’s plans to upgrade its signature terminal for the post-9/11 era by, among other things, relocating and modernizing its security screening areas and improving the passenger experience through the development and management of a new concessions program.

The project will leverage the expertise of Denver Great Hall LLC, a consortium led by Madrid-based Ferrovial Airports that includes equity members Magic Johnson Enterprises/Loop Capital and Saunders Concessions, and a design-build team of Ferrovial Agroman West and local contractor, Saunders Construction.  The team was selected following a competitive procurement process and entered into a pre-development agreement with the Airport in September 2016.

The term of the Development Agreement is 34 years, comprised of an anticipated four-year construction period and a 30-year operating period.  The maximum contract value of $1.8 billion includes $650 million in capital costs, a contingency for potential Owner-initiated changes, and annual supplemental payments following substantial completion.  Revenues from the revamped concessions program will be shared 80%/20% between the Airport and Developer.

Developer’s financing consists of $189 million in short- and long-term private activity bonds, issued in eight tranches with maturities ranging from 2022 to 2049, and $73 million in equity.  Citigroup served as the lead underwriter of the bonds.  The bonds were rated BBB by Fitch and BBB- by Standard & Poor’s.

The Airport opened the “Great Hall” two decades ago, when it was designed to accommodate 50 million passengers each year.  With the Great Hall now nearly 20 percent over capacity, and significantly higher passenger traffic projected in the coming years, the Great Hall Project “will greatly enhance security, improve passenger flow and return the terminal to a passenger oasis.” (https://www.flydenver.com/greathall).

Federal Government Repeals MPO Consolidation Rule

President Trump recently signed into law a repeal of the MPO Coordination and Planning Area Reform rule less than a year after the rule was finalized by the Obama administration’s Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. The rule, which was largely unpopular with local metropolitan planning organizations (“MPOs”) across the country, aimed to consolidate many MPOs. As a demonstration of just how unpopular the rule was, the bipartisan repeal effort unanimously passed in the Senate and overwhelmingly passed in the House.

The MPO Consolidation Rule was championed by former Transportation Secretary Foxx following his experience as the Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was frequently frustrated in his efforts to coalesce support for major infrastructure projects among multiple MPOs. The rule sought to ensure MPO planning took place at a regional level, encompassing entire urbanized areas. Critics of the rule pointed out that it removed from local authorities the ability to plan their own infrastructure initiatives and placed increased control in the hands of federal agencies, including the USDOT.

Congress swiftly repealed the rule, but did not do so under the Congressional Review Act. Because of this, future Administrations are not prohibited from attempting to implement a new rule that approaches the subject slightly differently. However, the Trump administration has not indicated any interest in doing so.

MPOs were first established through the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962 and have been strengthened by several generations of legislation since. The nation’s 409 MPOs provide regional perspectives and help departments of transportation in each respective state determine priorities for certain regional infrastructure needs. Under the now-repealed rule, MPOs whose jurisdiction overlapped with urbanized areas were to be consolidated into a single, larger MPO.

With the Public Law 115-33 repeal of the MPO Consolidation Rule, the former MPO structure remains in place. While many industry experts agree the infrastructure planning process can be improved at the local and regional level, the industry consensus is that the MPO Consolidation Rule was not the proper vehicle for improvement and its repeal has been widely praised.

 

Bombardier and Metrolinx Make a Nice Recovery on Problematic Eglinton LRV Order

Bombardier and Metrolinx announced that they have amended their Eglinton Crosstown LRV contract and settled their pending arbitration, showing how re-negotiation and compromise can preserve project schedule and quality, cement customer relationships and eliminate financial uncertainty.

Under the agreement, Bombardier’s LRV production is dramatically cut from 182 to 76 vehicles. However, Bombardier also secured an 18 month extension on its Metrolinx-owned GO Transit operations and maintenance contract.  The amended contract “resets the relationship … and brings certainty to the completion of this project,” Bombardier officials said. The financial terms are not disclosed, but Bombardier deserves credit for this recovery.

The Eglinton Crosstown line is scheduled to open in 2021.  In May of 2017, in order to ensure vehicle supply for start-up, Metrolinx ordered 61 Citadis Spirit LRVs from Alstom, including 44 slated for potential deployment on Eglinton Crosstown line.  Assuming Bombardier delivers on the amended order, Metrolinx will deploy the Alstom vehicles on the Hurontario light-rail project.  A Metrolinx press release said: “This new agreement is positive news for commuters who can continue to have full confidence that we are building an excellent transit system for them. We are focused on building a great Eglinton Crosstown LRT with reliable vehicles that are delivered on-time – this is a decisive and significant step towards that goal.”  Kudos to Metrolinx, for first ably implementing a feasible vehicle supply contingency plan for Eglinton and then negotiating to secure a portion of the original Bombardier order.

Home Stretch for Toronto’s Finch West LRT Procurement

Humber College students and Toronto West residents will soon be able to access Canada’s largest subway system in five years.  The CA$1 billion Finch West LRT project is slated to open in 2022.  The new dedicated light rail transit line will run 11 kilometres along the surface of Finch Avenue from Humber College’s north campus to the new Finch West subway station on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension that opened yesterday.  There will be 16 surface stops and 2 below-grade termini at Humber College and the subway station.  The Finch West LRT project includes a maintenance and storage facility for the light rail vehicles.

Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx issued a Request for Proposals to three shortlisted bidders on February 20, 2016 to design, build, finance and maintain the Finch West LRT project:

  • Humber Valley Transit Partners, including SNC-Lavalin, Graham, ACI;
  • Mosaic Transit Group, including ACS, Aecon, and CRH; and
  • FACT Partners, including EllisDon, Bechtel, and Herzog Transit.

Following an extension of the proposal due date, the procurement was stalled to allow time for the resolution of a dispute between Metrolinx and Bombardier over repeated delays in the supply of a light rail vehicle prototype and subsequent vehicles for Toronto-area lines.  Procurement restarted in May 2017 after Metrolinx announced that it had entered into a new supply contract with Alstom as the alternative supplier of the vehicles.

All three teams have submitted their proposals by the new deadline on December 13, 2017.  The preferred proponent is expected to be identified in Spring 2018.

New York MTA Approves $1.8B Design-Build Contract for the Long Island Railroad Expansion Project

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (NYMTA) board has approved a $1.8 billion expansion project for another important milestone in Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s, comprehensive, interconnected plan to improve transit and transportation throughout the New York metropolitan region.

The project includes signal system and bridge state-of-good-repair elements, but the central element is the addition of a 9.8-mile third track between Floral Park and Hicksville, NY on a segment of the LIRR mainline that handles more than 250 trains per weekday.

The project also includes removal of seven at-grade rail crossings, where there were more than 100 vehicle strikes in 2015. The work was procured as a design-build contract and awarded to a Dragados USA-lead joint venture called 3rd Track Constructors (3TC).

“This modernization initiative will provide faster commuting with a more reliable network, and will allow us to keep the railroad in a state of good repair,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota. “All too often, major delays on the LIRR are tied to incidents along this corridor. With this investment, Long Islanders and New York City residents alike will be able to avoid the crippling and cascading delays that affect the entire network.”

Governor Cuomo announced the project in January of 2016 and a two-step procurement process was approved by the MTA Board in November of 2016. Four bidders were pre-qualified; MTA convened a series of one-on-one meetings with the bidders. Three of the bidders submitted design-build proposals, which were reviewed by technical committees, including staff from the LIRR, MTA and NY Department of Transportation. The Final Selection Committee, comprised of railroad, transportation, and construction industry experts, reviewed the technical and price proposals during the summer before pricing negotiations this fall.

Beginning in January 2018, the contractors will work to complete design, surveying, mobilization, utility relocations, and other early construction activities. Major construction is expected to begin in late 2018 with project completion in 2022.

Design-build is not new to MTA.  MTA has successfully used design-build in other recent projects such as the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, and LIRR’s Ellison Avenue Bridge and Post Avenue Bridge replacements.

 

P3 Lawyer Appointed Federal Railroad Administration Chief Counsel

President Trump recently appointed former Seyfarth Shaw LLP (“Seyfarth”) attorney Juan D. Reyes, III as Chief Counsel of the Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”).  Mr. Reyes was previously a partner in the real estate department of the New York City office of Seyfarth and he led the firm’s P3 practice.  Proponents of P3s may be pleased to have a Chief Counsel that understands the potential benefits of P3s.

The appointment of Mr. Reyes marks a continuation from the Obama Administration of appointing counsel with P3 experience.  President Obama’s first FRA Chief Counsel, Karen Hedlund, a partner at Nossaman LLP prior to her appointment, also had considerable expertise with P3s.  Prior to the Obama administration, the FRA Chief Counsel position was more often staffed with an attorney focused on the FRA’s safety mission.  The appointment of Mr. Reyes may indicate that the current administration will pursue an infrastructure legislative package that includes P3s as part of that effort.

Mr. Reyes will assist the FRA in upgrading its passenger and freight rail systems, which includes the Northeast Corridor and high speed rail in California and Texas.  Further, he “will also play a critical role in reviewing and advising on Elon Musk’s proposed ‘hyperloop.’”

Mr. Reyes will oversee FRA’s legal department of 50 attorneys.

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