People

Suzanne L. Silverman

Suzanne Silverman is a transportation attorney focusing her practice on transactional and regulatory issues related to railroad and transit infrastructure projects and brings substantial expertise in real estate, joint development projects, and railroad negotiations to the Firm’s practice.  Prior to joining the Firm, Suzanne was a Senior Director in New Jersey Transit Corporation’s Capital Planning and Programs department from 2011 through 2018, and represented NJ TRANSIT as a Deputy Attorney General from 1993 through 2011.  Her practice focuses on recommending, developing, and implementing strategies during the planning, design, and construction phases that achieve a project’s objectives in a cost effective manner.  She negotiates the acquisition of rail lines and assembles right-of-way for new commuter and light rail service expansions, as well as new stations and related facilities.  Suzanne has a breadth of experience negotiating and drafting utility relocation, operating, design, construction, force account, cost and risk allocation, jurisdictional, and shared use agreements.

Suzanne also has extensive experience interfacing with agencies such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the U.S. DOT Build America Bureau and has worked closely with Amtrak and railroads.  She is an expert with railroad negotiations, real estate, and joint development projects.  Prior to her career with NJ TRANSIT, Suzanne was corporate counsel to a real estate developer in New York City where she had extensive experience negotiating commercial and retail leases.

Representative Experience

Portal North Bridge Project
This estimated $1.7 billion project involves replacement of the existing Portal Bridge with a new bridge and right-of-way encompassing 2.5 miles adjacent to the Northeast Corridor; negotiated funding, design, construction, utility relocation, and interagency agreements.  Lead for development of financial plan including a Core Capacity Grant application with the FTA and TIFIA loan application with the U.S. DOT Build America Bureau.

Gateway Program
Represented NJ TRANSIT’s interests in development of the Gateway Program Development Corporation and the Gateway Program, which included expansion and renovation of the Northeast Corridor rail line between Newark, New Jersey, and New York City, New York; provided advice on federal grant programs, financial plans, risk management and insurance, and resolution of interagency and program implementation issues; managed and advised on compliance with federal and state regulations including development of Real Estate Management Plan and Project Management Plan.

Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Tunnel Project
Counseled NJ TRANSIT during planning, design, and early construction phases of the ARC Tunnel Project including negotiating and drafting interagency project agreement with project partner Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; advised client on procurement issues, project sponsorship, FTA, FRA regulations, and railroad acquisition and construction issues.

Hudson Bergen Light Rail Transit System
Represented NJ TRANSIT during design and construction phases of $2.2 billion Hudson Bergen Light Rail System (HBLR); reviewed design/build/operate/maintain contracts and oversight of right-of-way and property acquisition including negotiation of purchase of rail lines, rail yards, and in-street easements for HBLR infrastructure and appurtenances; managed oversight of numerous highly sensitive initiatives and negotiations with affected communities, private developers, and freight railroads; resolved environmental and jurisdictional issues related to project construction and maintenance of light rail infrastructure within public streets.

Northeast Corridor Negotiations with Amtrak
Lead counsel representing NJ TRANSIT regarding all issues related to commuter rail operations on the Northeast Corridor (from Morrisville, PA to Sunnyside Queens Rail Yard) and within New York Penn Station; negotiated and drafted all NJ TRANSIT/Amtrak agreements.

Seventh Avenue Concourse, New York Penn Station
Represented NJ TRANSIT in all phases of a $200 million rail project involving construction of a new three-dimensional concourse above track level within New York Penn Station to provide a station within a station for NJ TRANSIT’s passengers.  The project also required relocation of Amtrak facilities and retail tenants and provided new elevators and egress from the platform level to the streets.  Upon project completion, NJ TRANSIT acquired a 99-year lease for the concourse, which gives it exclusive control of a portion of NY Penn Station and access and egress rights within, and to and from, Penn Station.

South Jersey Light Rail Project
Counsel on all aspects of the South Jersey Light Rail Project (n/k/a the River Line), a new 32 mile light rail system constructed and operated between Camden and Trenton, NJ, on an active freight line and within Camden city streets.  The River Line was one of the first light rail projects in the U.S. to utilize time separated operations.  Negotiation of design/build/operate/maintain contract, rail line agreement of sale, shared use operating agreement with a freight railroad, and construction and staging agreements for project development.  Provide advice on all aspects of property acquisition, interagency coordination, jurisdictional agreements, and regulatory issues related to light rail operations on freight railroad right-of-way.

Newark Airport Station Project
Counseled NJ TRANSIT on issues related to construction and operation of a new rail connector facility located on the Northeast Corridor.  Project partners included the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Amtrak, and Conrail.

Rail Station Development and Redevelopment Projects
Coordinated efforts including negotiation of agreements for construction of new stations and associated rail links to the existing network, relocation of historic station buildings, and agreements with communities for use and maintenance of stations.  A key element of many of these projects focuses on working with developers for transit-oriented development for the mutual benefit of the transit system, the communities, and the adjacent property owners.

Spectra Pipeline Development on Light Rail Right-of-Way
Negotiated transaction documents for the sale of easements for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a gas pipeline within light rail right-of-way

County Yard Facility in New Brunswick
Facilitated rail yard expansion including acquisition of rail yard easements and construction phasing agreements with Amtrak; resolved environmental remediation and utility relocation issues; relocated freight operations to adjacent rail yard.

Passenger Rail Infrastructure Improvement Act (“PRIIA”) Implementation
Negotiated and drafted operating and capital improvement agreements with Amtrak; provided recommendations on PRIIA policy to senior management.

Northeast Corridor Commission Issues
Attended Northeast Corridor Commission meetings and provided strategic advice on implementation of PRIIA policy and acted as NJ TRANSIT’s representative on Northeast Corridor Commission Liability Study

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Member, Metropolitan Railway Club of New York (2013–Present)
  • American Public Transportation Association, Legal Affairs Committee (2012–2016)
  • Women’s Transportation Seminar (2009–Present)

News & Publications

Presentations

Gateway Program, Portal Bridge Project Overview
Women’s Transportation Seminar Meeting
April 2018
Professional Women in Construction
December 2017
Light Rail or Commuter Rail: Common Issues and Solutions When Negotiating Shared Use Agreements
American Public Transportation Association Legal Affairs Seminar
02.20.12
Light Rail on Freight Tracks – Issues of Concern
Railway Age – Passenger Trains on Freight Railroads Conference
1999

Education

J.D., Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, 1982
B.A., State University of New York at Binghamton, 1977

Bar Admissions

New York
New Jersey