Susan H. Lent advises clients on the development and implementation of transportation and other infrastructure projects and on compliance with federal laws and regulations applicable to governmental entities, contractors and other regulated companies.

Practice & Background

Ms. Lent’s clients include public- and private-sector entities in the transportation and broader infrastructure structures, as well as companies involved in infrastructure projects regulated by the federal government. She represents clients before the Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and advocates for clients’ interests before the U.S. Congress. Ms. Lent advocates for clients on transportation and environmental legislation through development of advocacy strategies, drafting and review of legislation, and consultation with members of Congress, congressional staff and executive branch officials. She also advises clients with regard to federal procurement laws and regulations and project delivery methods.

Before joining Akin Gump, Ms. Lent served as counsel to the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and as counsel for investigations and oversight to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where she was involved in all aspects of the enactment of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Prior to joining the government, Ms. Lent was an attorney in private practice focused on government contracts law.

Project Development

Ms. Lent provides comprehensive advice on the development of transportation and other infrastructure projects by assisting clients in securing federal funds, obtaining federal and other financing, negotiating project terms with the federal government and project partners, and complying with the laws and regulations that apply to federally funded projects, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Buy America Act and other procurement laws and regulations.

She has significant experience with a wide range of transportation projects, including toll road, highway, port, freight, airport, intermodal and passenger rail and joint development projects across the country.

Ms. Lent advises clients on water infrastructure and groundwater cleanup projects and assists clients in developing flood control and navigation projects under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers. She has also been involved in developing recommendations for streamlining the environmental review process for projects and advocating for such reforms to Congress.

Public Private Partnerships

Ms. Lent is experienced in representing both the private and public sector in undertaking a broad range of public private partnerships. Her experience includes:

  • serving as legal advisor to the RE.invest Initiative, in partnership with Bechtel and Wall Street Without Walls, in its efforts to help eight U.S. cities develop models for sustainable storm water infrastructure systems as public private partnerships
  • assisting in securing financing under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and through Private Activity Bonds
  • advising on states’ public private partnership enabling legislation and different procurement approaches
  • advising on Federal Transit Administration joint development projects and drafting and negotiating joint development agreements
  • advising on outsourcing of transit operations, including procurement and labor requirements
  • advocating for public private partnerships to Congress.

Public Transportation

Ms. Lent advises public transportation agencies, and entities that do business with them, on a wide range of issues involving project development, pursuit of federal funding and laws and regulations that govern federal grant recipients. Ms. Lent is experienced with joint development and New Starts projects. She also advises clients on myriad issues related to public transportation, including the Buy America Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Charter Bus and Tripper service regulations. Ms. Lent also has been involved in advocacy for various public transportation policy issues to Congress.

Airports and Aviation

Ms. Lent represents a broad range of entities involved in the aviation industry, including airports, fixed-base operators, airlines and developers. She assists airports in securing funds under the Airport Improvement Program and implementing projects once funds are secured; advising on distribution of funds under the discretionary and entitlements programs; and advising on passenger facilities charges, grant assurances, Letters of Intent and benefit-cost analyses. She has advised public- and private-sector clients seeking to acquire, develop or operate airports regarding rules on revenue-producing aspects of airports and other federal requirements, including grant assurance requirements. Ms. Lent also represents airlines on a host of policy and regulatory issues, including compliance with federal aviation regulations. She also represented a flight school with regard to FAA compliance.

Representative Matters

Ms. Lent’s representative matters include:

  • advising the Port of Long Beach on a range of issues related to federal funding, project development and TIFIA financing
  • advising the Transportation Corridor Agencies, a public toll road authority in Orange County, California, regarding efforts to complete the last segment of the authority’s toll road system, including advice and advocacy regarding project permitting and involving innovative financing
  • representing the City of Houston on federal policy issues, including grant opportunities, economic development, transportation and housing policy
  • advising the Houston Airport System on federal programs and policies
  • advising the Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, Broward County Transit and the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority on legal, technical and political strategies for advancing the proposed streetcar circulator project through the Federal Transit Administration approval and funding process
  • advising the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) on project development and environmental permitting matters, procurement issues and compliance with federal transportation laws
  • assisting the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) with identifying federal funding opportunities, developing airport and transit projects and undertaking an analysis of whether to extend the existing light rail system.

Public Service

  • Served as a member of the transportation advisory committee for a presidential transition 
  • Counsel to the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Counsel, Investigations and Oversight, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.