Posts tagged Transportation.

Have you ever wished there was a comprehensive, easily accessible project cost database for major US transportation projects?  It would be populated following an in depth review of information available from State DOT’s and would capture not just the capital cost of the project, but it’s operation and maintenance cost and delivery and financing approach.  The information could be valuable in many ways, including assessing the project performance outcomes for P3’s and non P3’s.

As I found out a couple of weeks ago at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting, there ...

In an effort to promote project flexibility, funding innovation, efficiencies and timely implementation, this week the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released its final rule regarding P3s (and other private involvement) in public transportation projects.

The primary goal of FTA’s Private Investment Project Procedures (or PIPP), new 49 C.F.R. Part 650, is to identify and address FTA requirements that are impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in public transportation capital projects, while protecting the public ...

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 ...

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 ...

Posted in Design-Build

Last week the Orange County Transportation Authority executed the design/build contract for the I-405 Improvement Project with OC405 Partners, a joint venture consisting of OHL USA and Astaldi Construction Corporation.  With a contract price of $1,217,065,000 and a total estimated project cost of $1.9 billion, the project, which consists of 16 miles of reconstruction of one of the most congested corridors in the United States including 14 miles of tolled express lanes, is the largest highway project in California currently under development.

OCTA is a multi-modal county ...

For years, policymakers and economists around the country have been well aware that the federal gas tax is dying.

In its report to Congress, the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission, on which I was honored to serve, made clear that we must replace the 18.4 cent federal gas tax with other means of funding transportation in order to maintain and improve our highways, bridges and transit systems in the United States.

The commission recommended a road user charge as the most effective approach to solving this problem.

[If] we fail to address the immediate ...

Posted in Legislation, News

Posted by guest blogger Billy Moore.

Billy Moore of Vianovo works with the Transportation Transformation Group, a consortia of public and private entities that looks at ways of improving the funding and financing of the nation’s transportation infrastructure, which is co-chaired by Nossaman Partner Geoffrey Yarema.

The House and Senate conferees have agreed on a compromise $305 billion five-year surface transportation authorization: the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The bill should be headed to the White House in the next few days. It would ...

Posted in News

As part of its continuing effort to help inform and contribute to the design-build and P3 industry in the U.S., Nossaman is launching an on-going series of blog posts on Emerging Trends in Project Delivery.

Our blog posts for the industry generally are geared toward keeping our readers up to date on current developments regarding projects, programs, laws and regulations.  The Emerging Trends series will add another dimension – a look just over the horizon at what we and our guest bloggers predict may be coming, informed by prior patterns, opinions and results.  If by doing this we can ...

In the Reason Foundation’s recent Surface Transportation News #132, Robert Poole authored a blog post that discusses a report by Andrew Owen and David Levinson of the University of Minnesota Civil Engineering Department called Access Across America: Transit 2014. Their report is concerned with data on how many jobs are accessible by transit within certain time periods in 46 of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the US.

Poole’s post analyzes both the percentage of jobs in a metropolitan area that one can reach within a given travel time, as well as the percentage of commuters ...

As speculation over the federal government’s forthcoming rule on rail shipments of crude oil grows, two items hit the press last week increasing speculation over the details of the reforms.

On July 15, 2014, Bloomberg reported that representatives from the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) met with the Transportation Department at the Office of Management and Budget on July 11 to present a joint plan for the phase-out of older tank cars.  According to Bloomberg, two people familiar with the proposal, who were not identified, said ...

On June 12 and 13, 2014, Railway Age’s Crude by Rail Conference and Expo brought together representatives from the oil and gas industry, railroads, rail car manufacturers, Federal government, emergency response organizations and Wall Street, to address the implications of the dramatic increase in shipments of petroleum by rail (CBR).

Several informative presentations were made on tank car specifications and numerous other technical topics.  This posting will summarize the policy and regulatory issues.

Ed Hamburger, President of the Association of American Railroads ...

On April 24, 2013, Norfolk Southern (NS) CEO Wick Moorman spoke before the US House of Representatives Transportation Infrastructure Committee’s Special Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation about the need to focus on long-term investments in railroad infrastructure.  The NS CEO stated that In the past decade Norfolk Southern helped locate 1,021 new and expanded facilities along Norfolk Southern rail lines, representing $28.7 billion in customer investment and generating more than 48,000 jobs. That’s just one railroad. What an incredible incentive to support ...

Posted in P3s

As part of its effort to meet MAP-21’s legislative requirement to develop standard public-private partnership transaction model contracts for the most popular types of public-private partnerships, the Federal Highway Administration held a listening session with representatives from the transportation industry at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington D.C. on January 16.  Representatives from state departments of transportation, general contractors, trade associations, legal advisors and others were in attendance, and solicited to provide FHWA with the ...

Posted in Design-Build

Over the past 10 years, California lawmakers have made tremendous strides in providing express design-build procurement authority to pubic agencies in the state. This authority, however, has not been applied evenly across all project types or agencies.

As matters stand in 2011, much broader design-build authority exists for public buildings or vertical projects than for transportation or horizontal projects.  Within the realm of horizontal projects, projects on the state highway system are subject to a number of constraints that do not apply to other types of projects.  And the ...

Posted in P3s, Policy

If you want to know what a mature, effective federal and state P3 policy can look like, we need not look very far beyond our U.S. borders.  Two Canadian provinces, Ontario and British Columbia, provide us a road map for building successful, sustainable P3 programs and policies.

At the International Bridge Conference in Pittsburgh last month, panelists for a workshop on P3s, including Len Kozachuk with Infrastructure Ontario (IO), described the essential features of this agency and its alternative financing and procurement program.  The contrast with how our federal and state policy ...

Posted in Bridges

We all know that our infrastructure is aging.  Considering how hot the issue of transportation funding (or lack thereof) has become, it is almost impossible not to see or hear something on this topic daily.  That being said, Transportation for America has provided a new way for us to fixate on the state of disrepair of our nation’s bridges – an interactive map.

The map is color-coded and uses green to mark states that are more-or-less maintaining their bridges.  A special hats off to Florida and Nevada, which rank 50th and 51st respectively in the list of disrepair.  In contrast, the map ...

Posted in High-Speed Rail

As discussed in yesterday's post on California, three big winners have emerged from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement of $2 billion in federal funds to 15 states for 22 different high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects.  The second biggest winner of this funding round is the Midwest region.

Illinois received $186 million for upgrades and improvements to the Chicago – St. Louis corridor between Dwight and Joliet, Ill., to allow trains to operate at 110 mph (from 79 mph) and increase operational flexibility and reliability.  Also on the Chicago – St ...

Posted in Job Opening, Policy

The Reason Foundation, a non-profit, public policy think tank based in Los Angeles, seeks a policy analyst in transportation.  Qualified candidates should have a relevant degree, a solid understanding of free-market public policy, and an aptitude for written communication. 

Ideal candidates will be very familiar with Reason's transportation policy work and be able to describe what they can contribute to the organization.  Work location is negotiable and salary commensurate with experience.  Applicants at all levels of experience are invited to apply. The application deadline is ...

Kevin M. Sheys joins Nossaman's Infrastructure Practice Group as a partner.  He brings expertise in all areas of railroad transportation, including all aspects of the rail industry, both freight and passenger.  His extensive experience includes successfully representing government entities in railroad construction and relocation projects, advising states and transportation agencies in publicly-funded passenger rail service expansions and infrastructure projects, assisting buyers and sellers in rail line transactions, and counseling clients on a wide range of rail ...

Posted in Policy

This morning, members of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission and National Transportation Policy Project of the Bipartisan Policy Center released a joint statement urging Congress to take steps toward several transportation policy principles designed to help guide deliberations over how to extend, fund and improve the federal surface transportation program in the face of dire fiscal realities. Some of the key proposals include the call for Congress to incentivize and remove barriers to increased state and local revenues from direct user ...

Indicative of the progress and forward momentum of the project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority is hiring.  The executive management team is expanding as the project makes advancements such as the recent award of $2.25 billion in federal grants.  With newly appointed CEO Roelof Van Ark at the helm, the Authority is seeking a Regional Director for Southern California to add to the team.

As described in the full position dossier (PDF), The Regional Director is responsible for ensuring the high-speed train project in Southern California continues forward on the planned ...

Posted in P3s

The closing of the Port of Miami Tunnel Project deal was just short of miraculous, given the tight financial markets and the political ups and downs of the project procurement. Novel risk allocations helped ensure the success of the deal. The current issue of Public Works Finance includes an excerpted discussion of the risks and the way the Florida Department of Transportation chose to address them. The full text of Port of Miami Tunnel: Digging Through Novel Risks is available on Infra Insight.

California will soon have a new authority that can authorize California transportation agencies to toll transportation facilities, eliminating the need for legislative approval for each tolling project. 

AB 798, a bill sponsored by state treasurer Bill Lockyer and recently signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, creates a new state level agency, the California Transportation Finance Authority, with the limited purpose of issuing revenue bonds for new capacity or improvements to the state transportation system at the request of a public sector project sponsor. Project sponsors ...

Posted in Legislation, P3s

California is now ready to assess P3 candidate projects. At its October 14th meeting, the California Transportation Commission approved policy guidance addressing the Commission’s role in selecting proposed P3 projects. The CTC developed the guidelines to assist Caltrans and regional transportation agencies (RTAs) as they move to develop P3 transportation projects, taking advantage of the new authority granted to them under Senate Bill X2 4, enacted in February of this year.

The enabling legislation requires the CTC to select projects nominated by Caltrans or an RTA ...

Posted in Legislation, P3s

California is serious about using its new legislative authority to deliver some of the state’s much-needed transportation projects through public-private partnerships (P3s). On August 12, 2009, the California Transportation Commission issued draft guidelines addressing the Commission’s role in approving the P3 delivery method for specific projects.

The draft guidelines follow the California legislature’s momentous enactment of Senate Bill 4, referred to as SBX2 4.  That bill authorizes Caltrans and regional transportation agencies to enter into P3s for ...

At the June 2009 meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission, TxDOT Assistant Director Phil Russell provided a first look at a proposed Rail Division for TxDOT, focusing on both passenger and freight rail planning for the future.  If created, the new  Rail Division would have a Rail Division Director, with  four departments under that to-be-named person's purview including Operations, Railroad Crossings, Safety and Project Development.

Commissioners indicated that it would be a wise move to create a Rail Division.  Commissioner Bill Meadows voiced that "the Commission needs ...

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) are in the early phases of procuring a firm to enter into a Public Private Partnership to design, construct, operate, maintain and finance a cross regional passenger rail service known as the Cotton Belt Rail Line starting on or about 2013.

The Cotton Belt Rail Line PPP project is intended to provide regional rail connectivity for communities along the project corridor to Fort Worth, Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Airport, the DART transit network, and major activity centers along the corridor.  This ...

Nossaman LLP’s 30-plus infrastructure attorneys offer clients, colleagues, strategic partners, and industry media a wealth of practical experience, insider insight, and thoughtful analysis here on Infra Insight. We blog about what we know best, from industry-leading procurements to local and national policy developments that affect the market and our clients.

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