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Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These FAQs are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. FTA recipients and subrecipients should refer to FTA’s statutes and regulations for applicable requirements.

Answer:

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Final Rule on Private Investment Project Procedures (PIPP) establishes procedures that allow recipients of FTA funds to identify perceived impediments to the use of public-private partnerships (P3s) and private investment in public transportation capital projects either proposed or under construction and in the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan or the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, and seek a waiver or modification of such impediments.

Answer:

The PIPP is intended to establish a streamlined process that allows project sponsors to seek waivers or modifications of FTA requirements in order to:

  • Accelerate the project development process;
  • Attract private investment;
  • Increase project management flexibility; and
  • Lead to more innovation, improved efficiency, and/or new revenue streams.
Answer:

An eligible project is one that will test an innovative project delivery technique that is prohibited by current FTA regulations or FTA policy. A PIPP waiver request cannot be used to waive or modify statutory requirements.  However, if a project sponsor believes an FTA regulation or policy that implements a statutory requirement impedes P3s or private investment, and has a means of compliance with a statutory requirement that is not consistent with the FTA regulation or policy but will remove the perceived impediment to a P3, the project sponsor may propose an alternative method of compliance.

The waiver or modification request must demonstrate that the experimental feature, if approved, will advance the goals of the PIPP. FTA encourages applicants to discuss potential waiver or modification requests with FTA’s private sector liaison or the relevant FTA Regional Office prior to applying.

Answer:

An applicant may submit a request for a waiver or modification of FTA requirements to the dedicated FTA e-mail address: pipp.fta@dot.gov, with a copy sent to the appropriate FTA Regional Administrator. FTA staff will coordinate the review of the request with the PIPP Steering Committee and the Regional Administrator. The FTA Administrator will notify the grant recipient in writing as to whether the request for modification or waiver is approved or denied.

If an application is approved, FTA will negotiate an Early Development Agreement (EDA) with the project sponsor to establish the parameters of the approved application.

Answer:

The waiver or modification request is the formal documentation of an applicant’s request for the use of an experimental procedure in the project development process.

The request must include the following information for it to be considered complete and reviewed by FTA:

  1.   Provide a brief project description.
  2.   Identify whether the project is to be delivered as a public-private partnership, as a joint development, or with another private sector investment.
  3.   Describe in detail the role of the private sector investor, if any, in delivering the project.
  4.   Identify the specific FTA requirement(s) that the recipient requests to have modified or waived and a proposal as to how the requirement(s) should be modified.
  5.   Provide a justification for the modification(s) or waiver(s), including an explanation of how the FTA requirement(s) presents an impediment to a public-private partnership, joint development, or other private sector investment.
  6.   Explain how the public interest and public investment in the project will be protected and how FTA can ensure the appropriate level of public oversight and control, as determined by the FTA Administrator, is undertaken if the modification(s) or waiver(s) is allowed.
  7.   Provide other recipients’ concurrence with the submission of the application and waiver of the right to submit a separate application for the same project, where a project has more than one recipient at the time of application.
  8.   Provide a financial plan identifying sources and uses of funds proposed or committed to the project.
  9.   Explain the expected benefits that the modification or waiver of FTA requirements would provide to mitigate impediments to the greater use of public-private partnerships and private investment in the project. 
Answer:

PIPP waiver and modification requests will be reviewed by FTA based on the following criteria:

  1. Are the proposed experimental features prohibited under current policies and procedures?
  2. Does the waiver or modification request extend beyond procurement issues covered by the PIPP?
  3. Will an approved waiver or modification request improve the delivery time, quality, and/or cost of the project?
  4. Will an approved waiver or modification influence future Federal public transportation policy and procedures?
  5. Is there a plan by the project sponsor for evaluating how the features of the waiver or modification will contribute to the overall success of the project?

The overall intent of the PIPP is to foster innovation and explore the full range of opportunities to make the project delivery process more efficient. Any proposals that meet this intent and are consistent with the criteria noted above will be given strong consideration.

Answer:

This will vary depending on the complexity of the waiver or modification request and the project. FTA will strive to respond to complete applications within 60 days. If FTA determines an application is incomplete or if FTA has questions, FTA will not wait 60 days to respond, but will notify the applicant as soon as it makes that determination.

Answer:

Readiness will vary depending on the elements of the project development process that are being modified or changed. Generally, a PIPP request for a waiver or modification will be submitted prior to the start of a project, but there may be circumstances later on in the process where funding mechanisms change or some other fundamental issue leads to requesting a waiver or modification under the PIPP.

Answer:

As with a waiver or modification request, an applicant may submit a preliminary application to pipp.fta@dot.gov and the appropriate FTA Regional Administrator.  An application is a short narrative that articulates the basic elements of the applicant's proposed use of PIPP and provides the basis for FTA to offer the applicant a preliminary assessment of the viability of potential experimental features. As the program matures and PIPP waivers or modifications are approved, FTA will also share with the applicant information about lessons learned from previous PIPP projects that may be relevant to the proposed project.

Answer:

One request for a waiver or modification per phase of a project may be submitted, and a submission may include requests for waivers or modifications of more than one FTA requirement. Allowing a request for a waiver or modification for each phase of a project means a recipient may, for example, submit a request during the project development phase, a second request during the engineering phase, and a third request during construction.

FTA encourages applicants to include all requests for waiver or modification in one submission to streamline the waiver/modification request process.

Answer:

An Early Development Agreement (EDA) is a document that is developed jointly between the project applicant and FTA. The EDA describes the parameters for implementing PIPP project waiver or modification requests. The EDA will identify the specific roles of all parties, define procedures, and establish timeframes and other conditions under which the project will be administered.

Answer:

Yes, but the waiver or modification requests must be limited to FTA requirements.

Answer:

Yes. A report is required one year after the completion of construction of a PIPP project. For projects that involve a private entity in the operations or maintenance of the project, a second report is required two years after the project begins revenue operations. Project sponsors will be responsible for submitting an independently prepared report that summarizes lessons learned from implementation of approved waiver or modification requests and from the PIPP process. These reports will evaluate the success of the process, its overall impact on the project, and recommend whether the waivers or modifications should be made routine through statutory or regulatory changes. The report should include an explanation of how the changes improved the delivery of the project.

Answer:

Please visit FTA’s Private Sector Participation website.

For any additional questions:

  • For program matters, contact Tom Yedinak, Private Sector Liaison, Office of Budget and Policy, (202) 366-5137, Tom.Yedinak@dot.gov 
  • For legal matters, contact Bonnie Graves, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-4011 or Bonnie.Graves@dot.gov
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