Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP lawyers provide comprehensive services to clients in the transportation sector. Our transportation practice is global—with our U.S. and international offices working in tandem to provide integrated services to our clients. We represent both private- and public-sector clients involved in a broad range of projects, including highway and toll road, airport, seaport, rail and intermodal.
The lawyers in our transportation practice are experienced with the development and financing of transportation projects and with the laws and regulations governing such projects in the United States and abroad. Our lawyers assist and counsel our clients with regard to every aspect of the development, financing and operation of transportation projects. We bring to our work a strategic vision and creative energy, familiarity with government and the political overlay of projects, a clear understanding of our clients’ business needs and a keen appreciation and understanding of the legal and regulatory hurdles that large-scale infrastructure development must overcome.
Our capabilities include:
- Project Structuring. On behalf of diverse stakeholders, we undertake due diligence of project opportunities, review proposals, draft and negotiate financing and project documents (including engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), design-build contracts and concession agreements) and advise on other development approaches.
- Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Our lawyers represent clients during all phases of the PPP process, from the initial concept to the bid process, to permitting and construction, and finally with financing the project.
- Transportation Laws and Regulations. Our transportation lawyers advise clients on compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, feasibility studies, low-cost financing through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and private activity bonds, federal grants and grant approvals, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Government Contracts. Our government contracts lawyers regularly advise our domestic and international clients on procurement processes and contracting with all levels of government.
- Legislation and Lobbying. Our public law and policy lawyers and advisors assess the political landscape for a project and develop strategies for securing the necessary support at the federal, state and local levels.
- Environmental Reviews and Project Permitting. Our environmental lawyers advise on compliance with the environmental laws that are a critical component of the U.S. federal and state approval process for transportation and other major infrastructure projects.
- Tax. Our tax lawyers develop effective tax strategies for a range of clients including multinational corporations, banking institutions, foreign taxpayers and those involved in cross-border transactions.
- Construction Law. Our construction lawyers represent geographically diverse public- and private-sector clients on a wide range of issues related to the development of major infrastructure projects, including dispute resolution.
Project Finance and Development
The members of the transportation practice provide a broad range of legal services to our clients undertaking infrastructure projects either as a project sponsor, financial partner or concessionaire. Drawing on our vast resources, our transportation lawyers and other professionals engage in complex projects by diffusing political risk, addressing the interests of diverse stakeholders, resolving regulatory hurdles, ensuring that the project development is bankable and creating innovative financing structures. Our lawyers represent clients during all phases of a transportation project: from the initial concept to the bid process, to financing of the project, and finally, permitting and construction.
Increasingly, major transportation projects are being developed with private investment, PPPs or with the private sector sharing some risk through project development, construction and operation. We work with our clients to help them assess the potential benefits of innovative financing or procurement techniques and, if desired, to implement these measures as part of the project development process.
Public Private Partnerships
Akin Gump’s PPP practice integrates lawyers and other professionals from our key transactional, regulatory and political practice groups to provide a customized legal and professional team with the knowledge and experience tailored to the needs of the client and project, and that is devoted to successfully navigating the unique challenges presented by PPP projects. In addition to our project finance experience, we add significant value to the projects on which we advise through our proven ability to advise on state laws governing PPPs, assess the political landscape, undertake due diligence on projects, advise on regulatory requirements, reach out to key decision makers and negotiate PPP agreements. Our experience representing both public- and private-sector entities on different projects makes us well qualified to see risks and identify solutions from both perspectives.
U.S. Transportation Laws and Regulations
Members of our transportation practice advise clients on a broad range of matters before the U.S. DOT. Our work involves all of the modal administrations and, in particular, the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration. Many transportation projects must comply with a broad range of federal regulations involving environmental review, planning, procurement, innovative financing, project design and construction standards, labor and disadvantaged business enterprise utilization. Projects that receive federal funding must comply with various other regulations. Our team assists public- and private-sector clients in identifying applicable regulations, assessing risk and developing compliance procedures.
Our government contracts lawyers are experienced in the federal, state and local procurement processes, laws, regulations and dispute-resolution practices. We assist our clients in navigating the process of securing government contracts, including compliance with Competition in Contracting Act requirements; sealed bid procedures; negotiated procurement procedures (including proposal preparation, evaluation of proposals, the competitive range, discussions, best and final offers and source selection); and contract pricing requirements (including price analysis, profit negotiations and cost or pricing data requirements under the Truth in Negotiations Act). We also advise our clients on the many restrictions peculiar to those seeking government contracts, including restrictions on lobbying, gathering of market intelligence, use of consultants and agents; organizational conflicts of interest; the potential conflicts of interest that may arise in hiring former government employees; and labor statutes such as the Davis-Bacon Act, Service Contract Act and the Walsh-Healey Act. Finally, we assist our clients in negotiating contract terms and conditions with the buying agencies, prime contractors and subcontractors.
Legislation and Lobbying
Major transportation projects often become the focus of legislative efforts. Our firm is highly respected for its skills, insight and experience in the legislative arena, which we apply to a wide range of issues facing public- and private-sector transportation clients and their projects. Our transportation policy lawyers provide full-service representation by helping clients assess the political landscape for a project and develop strategies for securing the necessary support at the federal, state and local levels. We represent clients before Congress on a wide range of transportation issues. Our understanding of the laws governing transportation programs and policies makes us well qualified to advise clients on the affect of potential changes in laws and opportunities for influencing the legislative process. We have assisted clients in developing legislative proposals related to tolling, TIFIA, PPP agreements, environmental streamlining, project delivery/procurement and other project development and transportation laws.
Environmental Permitting and Approvals
The lawyers in Akin Gump’s environment practice represent transportation clients undertaking environmental reviews of, and securing required permits and approvals for, complex—and often high profile—development projects. We assist our clients with strategy development, preparation and review of environmental impact study documents and preparation of project-related agreements, through a project’s lifecycle, from initial planning through final approval. We also assist our clients in defending lawsuits challenging project approvals and permits and in negotiating agreements to avoid or resolve litigation.
Akin Gump has one of the most sophisticated construction practices to effectively represent contractors, engineers, developers, lenders, sureties, project owners and national, state and local governments. Our practice includes all matters related to the planning, financing and construction of large-scale transportation projects—such as airports, highways and bridges, subways, light rail systems and tunnels—in the United States and throughout the world. Akin Gump’s construction lawyers have managed complex projects and litigated disputes across the entire spectrum of public- and private-sector development and construction activity. We are frequently called on to provide risk, valuation and schedule assessments on complex infrastructure and commercial projects for contractors, owners and financial institutions.
Disputes with environmental resource agencies and other transportation agencies can bring the development process to a halt. When these interagency disputes arise, we help our clients develop practical, legally sound solutions that allow the process to move forward. Our primary aim is to assist our clients avoid disputes. When litigation arises, we help defend project approvals and, when appropriate, negotiate settlement agreements so vital projects may proceed. In construction and contracting disputes, our lawyers are able to apply deep experience handling complex, high-value disputes—including federal court litigation and international arbitration—and a strong track record of successful commercial outcomes.