From the White House to the halls of the U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C. is abuzz about a possible $1 trillion investment in the nation’s infrastructure over the next decade. Precisely what that money will pay for – from transportation projects, utility upgrades, port expansions and pipeline projects to veterans hospitals and other social infrastructure – is not yet clear. But there is broad agreement on the need to modernize the fundamental systems and facilities that serve the nation. Direct federal funding will certainly cover some projects and filter down to state and local governments to include in their own spending packages. However, a combination of new strategies and tools (including, possibly, grants to pay for predevelopment planning costs, regulatory changes to make public activity bonds more applicable to public infrastructure projects, the creation of an infrastructure credit program involving zero interest bond tax credits, and the implementation of a design-build finance mechanism for certain kinds of public projects) is also expected to come into play to stimulate private investments in these projects, particularly in states that have already adopted public-private partnership authorizing legislation.
The members of Saul Ewing’s team of infrastructure professionals work together to help our clients navigate the complex legal issues that come into play with their participation in these projects. We have experience negotiating government contracts and we provide counseling on proceeding with P3 projects, including how to balance the fulfillment of public needs with fair terms for recouping private investment. We also advise on: real estate deals; energy projects; port upgrades; construction design, management and performance issues; and public financing. Underpinning nearly all of these aspects of an infrastructure project is the need to comply with a complex web of federal, state and local laws and regulations. Our interdisciplinary approach means our infrastructure clients receive support from attorneys who regularly navigate these laws in their practices involving: real estate, including land use and zoning, eminent domain and finance; environment and natural resources, including environmental administrative appeals and regulatory takings; energy, including transmission and pipelines; utilities; construction; ports and maritime; public finance; and tax. Saul Ewing also has dozens of attorneys who have previously worked inside government or currently serve in agencies supporting government on the state and local level to provide perspective on the challenges that infrastructure projects present. In addition, should a dispute arise, Saul Ewing has a deep bench of litigators, including several with past experience working in government including the U.S. Attorney’s Office and a state department responsible for purchasing goods and services, to bring matters to resolution whether through settlement, arbitration or in court.
Clients we represent on infrastructure matters include:
- Institutional investors;
- Manufacturers and builders of component parts for projects;
- Deal makers and deal financiers; and
- State and local governments, particularly in matters involving public financing.
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