Holland & Knight has a deep and long-standing commitment to — and participation in — the public transportation industry. Our lawyers represent or have provided legal services to departments of transportation, transit agencies, commuter railroads, public authorities and governmental agencies. In addition, we also have an active and substantial practice assisting private sector companies, including:
- investment bankers and other investors
- planning consultants and engineers
- operation and maintenance companies
- transit and bus operators
- material and equipment suppliers in their dealings with the public transportation sector and each other
Industry Experience and Legal Know-How
Our lawyers have significant experience in the transit industry and have held noteworthy positions with federal governmental entities. Members of our Transportation Team include the head of two major industry coalitions that are shaping federal policy on transit issues and former Congressional staff members who worked on surface transportation issues and projects while on Capitol Hill.
Funding Your Needs
With the decline in federal earmarks, Holland & Knight has responded by assisting clients through the discretionary grant process at the Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to secure funding for rail, bus and intermodal transit projects for clients in Atlanta, Charlotte, Grand Rapids, Sacramento, San Antonio and San Francisco..
Comprehensive Legal Representation
Our transit industry attorneys utilize the capabilities offered by a multidisciplinary firm to serve every dimension of your legal needs. Our team’s combined experience in matters affecting clients in the surface transportation industry includes:
- Federal Representation: federal authorizations, appropriations, discretionary grants, loan programs, project advancement and approvals in the New Starts program and Full Funding Grant Agreements
- Project Development: environmental review, mitigation and remediation; transportation plan review and approval; right-of-way acquisition, trackage rights and permitting matters; land use and zoning, leasing and transit-oriented development; and federal, state and local regulation
- Project Finance: project finance and innovative financing techniques, bond issuances and other instruments of public indebtedness and public-private partnerships
- Project Delivery and Procurement: design-build, build-operate-transfer and turnkey contracts
- Program Compliance: advising clients on compliance with FTA audit reviews and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) compliance, labor and employment law
- Charlotte Area Transit System: Holland & Knight represents the city of Charlotte on all federal legislative, regulatory and funding matters. Our attorneys served as outside counsel to the City during its negotiations with the FTA to secure a full funding grant agreement (FFGA) for the Blue Line Extension Project. During this representation, we reviewed all documents, negotiated with FTA on revisions to the documents and engaged the FTA on resolution of issues associated with compliance with Buy America for utility relocation.
- Sacramento Regional Transit District: Holland & Knight attorneys have assisted the Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) with federal funding and authorization matters and have also served as outside counsel on the Southline Phase II Light Rail Extension. SacRT has sought funding the past several years to acquire additional clean fuel buses, a new maintenance facility and for future light rail extensions. Our team represented SacRT before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on a charter bus matter. In addition, we have served on both the Southline Phase II and Downtown-Natomas-Airport (DNA) Light Rail project teams, participated on a peer review for the DNA project and served as outside expert on panels regarding transit-oriented development and the reintroduction of streetcars in Sacramento. Our team has also assisted SacRT in securing a waiver on the Federal Rail Administration's Horn Rule, and protected the agency's grandfathered sale-leaseback transactions before the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees.
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority: Holland & Knight serves as outside counsel to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) on construction litigation and claims work on procurement matters for bus and rail car acquisitions. We assisted with the development of an operating agreement with Amtrak for a commuter rail maintenance facility. Our lawyers were also engaged by MBTA to analyze ethnic and racial diversity within MBTA and to prepare a report with recommended actions to address the issues identified in the report.
- Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority: Holland & Knight represents Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) on federal legislative matters and also serves as a consultant on the planning and development of proposed expansions of transit services in the Atlanta region. We assisted MARTA in securing $46.7 million for the first phase of the Atlanta Streetcar, as well as $52.5 million in Federal Transit Administration funding to refurbish the Brady Paratransit facility, the Browns Mill Bus Heavy Maintenance facility and to acquire replacement buses. In addition, our attorneys assisted in preparing documentation for the purpose of securing federal and state environmental approvals for the Atlanta Beltline Project.
- The New Starts Working Group: The New Starts Working Group is an advocacy group formed in 1994 that represents transit authorities, metropolitan areas, architectural and engineering firms and rail car manufacturers that support continued federal investment in the New Starts program. The Working Group has worked closely with Congress to shape major changes in the New Starts project evaluation criteria and review process through surface transportation authorization legislation and rulemaking intended to implement those legislative changes. The substantial revisions to the New Starts project approval process represent nearly a decade of advocacy to shift the focus of the New Starts program to emphasize the impact of these projects to reshape station areas and project corridors to emphasize transit supportive land use, economic development, housing and viable alternatives to the use of automobiles.