August 02, 2017

US to seek private investment in public transport

Written by  Mischa Wanek-Libman
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THE US federal government has unveiled new proposals which it hopes will spur private investment in public transport.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) says the proposed Private Investment Project Procedure (Pipp) for public transport capital projects will help the federal government develop more effective approaches to spurring private participation and investment in areas such as project planning, development, finance, design, construction, maintenance, and operations.

Under the proposal, recipients of federal funding for transit 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 (PPP) or private investment in that project.

Federal funding recipients would be able to apply to FTA to request modification or waiver of specific FTA requirements, but the Pipp could not be used to waive any requirement under the National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa) or any other provision of Federal statute. The FTA administrator would then have discretion to grant a modification or waiver of a requirement if certain criteria are met.

“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,” says US transportation secretary Mrs Elaine Chao.

“As more public transportation project sponsors find willing and able private partners, we must ensure that federal regulations or procedures do not stifle innovation,” says FTA executive director Mr Matthew Welbes. “FTA’s Pipps will help us maintain procedures that are truly beneficial while allowing for discretion to waive those that simply impede good projects.”

The proposals will be open for public consultation until September 29.

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