The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced on July 31, 2017, a proposal to facilitate public-private partnerships in public transportation.
If adopted, the Private Investment Project Procedures (PIPP) for public transportation capital projects rule would help the federal government develop more effective approaches to spurring private participation and investment in project planning, development, finance, design, construction, maintenance and operations, the USDOT said.
According to the USDOT’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), recipients of 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 (P3) 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 L. 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.”
Under the proposed PIPP system, recipients of federal assistance would be able to apply to FTA to request modification or waiver of specific FTA requirements if the recipient demonstrates that those requirements discourage the use of public-private partnerships. The FTA administrator would then have discretion to grant a modification or waiver of a requirement if certain criteria are met.
However, the PIPP could not be used to waive any requirement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or any other provision of federal statute.
“As more public transportation project sponsors find willing and able private partners, we must ensure that federal regulations or procedures do not stifle innovation,” said FTA executive director Matthew Welbes. “FTA’s Private Investment Project Procedures will help us maintain procedures that are truly beneficial while allowing for discretion to waive those that simply impede good projects.”
The NPRM and links for public comment can be visited at http://bit.ly/2tRo6kg. FTA will accept public comments on the NPRM until September 29, 2017.