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.