Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell has assisted a number of clients with complex multi-modal transportation projects. We are in the forefront of initiatives to secure private investment for multi-modal facilities (sometimes referred to as P3s or public-private partnerships). We have provided advice on negotiations with railroads, public transportation providers, airport sponsors, and other transportation agencies. Our lawyers have assisted airport clients with federal funding, environmental reviews, obtained authorizations and permits from multiple agencies, coordinated the establishment of jurisdictional boundaries between numerous oversight bodies, and obtained financing. Additionally, we have assisted highway proponents in securing public and private investments for multi-modal facilities.
Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell counsels some of the largest airports in the country in comprehensive planning for multi-modal projects. Much of our firm’s airports practice concerns the legal requirements for airport development projects and the implementation of master plans. Our experience in airport planning, compliance with federal law, as well as intergovernmental agreements, land use planning, state and local environmental regulations, public finance, and contract negotiation— enables us to help clients navigate the legal hurdles that face complex public sector projects.
Increasingly, our firm’s airports practice requires our experience in other transportation modes. Airports are finding that capacity constraints and environmental mitigation often require intermodal connections. Taking advantage of new federal funding opportunities and increased attention to the importance of inter-modal connectivity, we have assisted with new highway interchanges, light rail access, commuter rail lines, and freight rail spurs.
Coordinated planning with Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and other multi-modal agencies is now a frequent component of master planning. Incorporating these elements into project development is often critical for airports to address capacity constraints, mitigate environmental impacts, and enhance revenue-generating commercial development. Due to awareness of the value of multi-modal connections, we often assist clients with innovative projects to optimize intermodal connectivity.
Rail and Transit
Our experience in rail passenger projects is extensive. We have advised public transit agencies on issues such as initial system planning, acquiring rail corridors and facility construction and service implementation and operation. We assist state and regional commuter rail or transit agencies negotiate with railroads to acquire the right to operate passenger service. Specifically, we negotiate the right of one or more freight or other passenger railroads to conduct operations on the line.
We also advise transit agencies negotiating agreements for the shared use of rail corridors and related facilities, including passenger terminals. Such transactions often involve negotiating and drafting agreements and easements with the freight railroads to permit shared freight and passenger use of corridors, and agreements with corridor partners regarding allocating responsibility for right-of-way and signal maintenance, and agreements with Amtrak for operation of intercity service over lines owned by the client agency.
Our lawyers are knowledgeable of regulations that apply to State and local governments that own or share rail corridors and operate commuter or transit service because we frequently practice before the relevant federal agencies. We are also experienced in applying the specialized regulations and policies related to labor and employment, regulatory treatment of rail corridors, transit agency obligations, and exemptions from regulations that typically apply to commuter and transit agencies.
Kaplan Kirsch and Rockwell frequently represents state and local governments in seeking Federal Highway Administration (FWHA) approvals and related environmental, interstate access, land use, and other permits. We have assisted state departments of transportation (DOTs), airports, local governments, and other municipal organizations on traditional public and public-private partnerships in building, financing, designing, operating, and maintaining highway and multi-modal facilities.
Our firm has also developed and implemented effective strategies for the finance, delivery, and approval of—or opposition to—highway projects throughout the country and has represented airports as they seek to increase surface transportation access and work through issues with FAA, FHWA, state DOTs, and MPOs. Our lawyers have also worked with state and local governments on innovative tolled and non-tolled finance projects.
Public Financing for Infrastructure
Providing counsel on infrastructure funding mechanisms is a critical component of our project development practice. We understand the public funding process of major projects, including airports, highways, transit stems, and similar projects, and have intimate experience with FAA’s specific guidelines for use of airport funds, including Airport Improvement Program funds and Passenger Facility Charge funds, for rail and transit, as well as road access. Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell also has extensive experience in development-related infrastructure financing, such as tax increment financing, special districts, and convention center hotels. Our lawyers typically advise clients on the structure and options for, as well as the negotiation and implementation of, such financing including in particular the use of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program administered by FHWA as it has been used for both rail and transit and highways. As TIFIA has become available for airports as well, we have assisted clients in taking advantage of of this loan program for these projects.