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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

FTA proposes rule to encourage private investment in transit projects


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday announced a proposal that would make it easier for public-private partnerships to be formed in public transportation projects.

The proposed Private Investment Project Procedures for public transportation capital projects will help the federal government develop "more effective approaches" to spurring private participation and investment in project planning, development, finance, design, construction, maintenance and operation, according to an FTA press release.

As detailed in a notice of proposed rulemaking, entities that receive 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 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 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."

The proposal calls for those receiving federal funds to apply for a waiver of specific FTA requirements if the recipient can show that the requirements would discourage the use of public-private partnership in a project. The FTA administrator would have the discretion to modify the requirement or grant a waiver.

However, the new rule could not be used to waive requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act or other provisions of federal statutes, FTA officials said.

The FTA will accept public comments on the proposal until Sept. 29.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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