DOT Tries to Streamline Private Involvement in Transit Projects

August 3, 2017

The DOT’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking this that would allow public transit projects to streamline some steps in the regulatory or permit approval process if they prove that it will attract more private investors.

The newly proposed Private Investment Project Procedures (PIPP) for public transportation capital projects will help the federal government develop more effective approaches to spurring private participation and investment in areas such as project planning, development, finance, design, construction, maintenance, and operations.

As detailed in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), recipients of Federal funding for public transportation projects would be allowed to identify specific FTA regulations, practices, procedures or guidance documents that may be an impediment to the use of a public-private partnership (P3) or private investment in that project.

“One of the Trump Administration’s priorities is to allow private sector resources and expertise to help rebuild America’s infrastructure,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “This proposal will help us better understand the ways that unnecessary procedures may get in the way of building the best projects possible at the lowest cost to the public.”

Under the proposed PIPP system, public transportation projects would be able to apply to FTA to request modification or waiver of specific FTA requirements if the recipient demonstrates that those requirements discourage the use of public-private partnerships. The FTA Administrator would then have discretion to grant a modification or waiver of a requirement if certain criteria are met.

However, the PIPP could not be used to ignore any requirement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or any other provision of Federal statute.

“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.”

FTA will accept public comments on the NPRM until September 29, 2017. Click here for Federal Register notice:

 

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