J.D., Rutgers School of Law, 2002
B.A., magna cum laude, Yeshiva University, 1999
Ayelet Hirschkorn focuses her practice on developing and advancing infrastructure projects, including advising on issues related to construction, operations, maintenance, funding and financing; drafting and negotiating contracts; and navigating the complex regulatory environment.
She has extensive experience in successfully leading capital projects and drafting and negotiating capital, real estate, and railroad contracts for public agencies. Ayelet is experienced in providing effective guidance on Federal and State policies, statutes, and regulations in railroad, environmental, utility, and procurement matters.
Prior to joining the Firm, Ayelet was the Senior Director of Contracts and Claims at NJ TRANSIT from 2015 to 2022. While there, she was the lead advocate responsible for drafting and negotiating a wide range of capital contracts for NJ TRANSIT including the Hudson Tunnel Project, the Portal North Bridge Project, NJGrid, Elizabeth Station, Long Slip Canal, County Yard, Delco Lead, Raritan River Drawbridge, Trenton Station, Newark Penn Station, North Brunswick Station, and represented NJ TRANSIT to the Gateway Development Commission.
Prior to joining NJ TRANSIT, Ayelet spent many years as a Deputy Attorney General, representing the State of New Jersey in litigation and arbitration matters, regularly appearing before the U.S. District Court, New Jersey trial and appellate courts, the New Jersey Public Employee Relations Council and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Hudson Tunnel Project
Obtained environmental impact permitting required by the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration under NEPA; developed financial funding and financing applications through USDOT’s FTA Core Capacity Grant process and the Build America Bureau’s RRIF program; assisted in early procurement activities, including Requests for Information from public and private entities; developed key real estate management plans, and drafted key interagency contracts to further the project.
Gateway Development Commission
Represented NJ TRANSIT before the Gateway Development Commission and provided strategic and legal advice to NJ TRANSIT and the New Jersey Governor’s Authorities Unit; assisted in drafting the Gateway Development Commission Act in both New Jersey and New York; drafted and negotiated policies and procedures establishing the Gateway Development Commission provided advice on federal grant programs, compliance with federal and state statutes, risk management and insurance, and resolution of interagency and program implementation issues.
Portal North Bridge Project
Directly responsible for securing over $2 billion in federal and state funding for the construction of a new railroad bridge and approximately 2.11 miles of related railroad infrastructure; successfully drafted and negotiated numerous operating, maintenance, funding, real estate and utility relocation agreements with public and private entities, including Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; developed and secured a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the Federal Transit Administration through their Core Capacity Grant program.
New York Penn Station Renovation/Expansion Projects
Provided legal and strategic advice on the renovation of New York Penn Stations as well as the expansion of Penn Station to accommodate increased capacity from New Jersey and New York; progressed legal agreements for capital construction activities in and around the station to improve circulation, operations and the customer experience.
Positive Train Control
Managed and negotiated contractual obligations related to the installation of Positive Train Control systems and ensured compliance with Federal safety and regulatory requirements; resolved contractor claims against public transportation entities; drafted and negotiated interagency agreements with commuter, interstate, freight and short-line railroads to coordinate installation and implementation of Positive Train Control systems; negotiated licensing agreements with private technology companies.
County Yard/Delco Lead
Acquired key property rights from freight, interstate rail and private entities for a new rail yard and rail maintenance facility in central New Jersey; successfully amended new operating and force account agreements as part of the transaction and ensured compliance with environmental mitigation and remediation strategies as well as funding requirements from FTA’s Hurricane Sandy Recovery and Resiliency grant program.
Northeast Corridor Commission
Helped draft the Cost Allocation Policy for the Northeast Corridor Commission and actively pursued a Northeast Corridor-wide approach to liability, indemnification and insurance; provided strategic and legal recommendations to senior management.
Agreements with Amtrak
Key negotiator on behalf of NJ TRANSIT for all operating and capital agreements with Amtrak; provided legal advice on dispute resolution processes, liability and insurance structures, the coordination of force account work along the Northeast Corridor, the acquisition of real estate interests and implementation capital projects to advance alternative energy resources.