Nossaman LLP

Geoffrey S. Yarema

Partner

T 213.612.7842
F 213.612.7801
777 South Figueroa Street, 34th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Geoffrey S. Yarema is the founder of Nossaman's Infrastructure Practice Group and was for many years the Group's chair.  For more than 30 years, Mr. Yarema has steered the nation and the industry in development of innovative procurement, contracting and financing structures for large transportation projects.  These include design-build, design-build-operate-maintain, toll concession, availability payment, pre-development and other kinds of public-private partnership (PPP) contracts. These include TIFIA, RRIF, private activity bonds and other forms of innovative finance.

State departments of transportation, as well as regional and local agencies, regularly rely upon Mr. Yarema's experienced advice, frequently appointing him as Special Assistant Attorney General.

Mr. Yarema's role as a thought-leader is internationally appreciated.  The U.S. Secretary of Transportation appointed him to the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission, which in 2009 published a roadmap for sweeping reform of the nation's transportation funding and finance framework.  He played a key role in drafting Congress' Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

Mr. Yarema's prominence in the industry has been widely recognized:

  • Chambers Global and Chambers USA repeatedly have ranked Mr. Yarema in the top tier/band one of the PPP projects category.  Chambers has described him as "held in high esteem throughout the U.S. PPP community," "a leader in his field," "one of the most influential attorneys in the business" and "the dominant player in PPP work in the USA."
  • Mr. Yarema is the only two-time recipient of the ARTBA "PPP Private Sector Entrepreneur of the Year" award, most recently in 2012.
  • In 2008, ARTBA named Mr. Yarema the single most important private sector professional to the advancement of PPPs over the two decade history in the U.S. transport sector.

Widely published, Mr. Yarema regularly testifies as an expert witness before both houses of the U.S. Congress and before state legislatures.  He is sought out by leading professional and industry organizations, including AASHTO, ACEC, ARTBA and TRB, to brief policy makers and industry leaders on alternative delivery and finance of mega-infrastructure projects.

Representative Work

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Innovative Project Development Program.  For 16 years, has led the Nossaman team assisting TxDOT with procurement, contract documents, negotiated concession agreements and innovative financing arrangements.  During that period, Texas has delivered more than $59 billion in transportation improvements, utilizing the widest array of tools in the country and relying primarily on Nossaman's team as its key legal advisor.  Examples of this collaboration include:
  • Central Texas Turnpike Project.  Utilizing a $3.6 billion finance plan combining federal and state tax revenues, local general obligation bonds, toll revenue bonds and a $917 million TIFIA loan, TxDOT created a toll highway network serving the Austin Metro region and the Austin-San Antonio Corridor – SH-45N, Loop 1 and SH-130.  Nossaman counseled TxDOT on the overall financing of the program and on delivering 50 miles of SH-130 through the State's first major procurement under its PPP legislation.  The resulting $1.3 billion design-build-maintain agreement, awarded to a Fluor/Balfour Beatty/T.J. Lambrecht joint venture, provided a tolled alternative roughly parallel to I-35.
  • SH-130 Segments 5 & 6.  To extend the SH-130 portion of the Central Texas Turnpike Project by 41 miles south to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Nossaman advised TxDOT on the award to a Cintra-Zachry joint venture of the first toll concession in modern Texas history.  Financing included $683 million in commercial debt, $197 million of private equity, and a $430 million TIFIA loan.  The joint venture provided TxDOT with more than $130 million for the right to collect tolls in accordance with a contractually agreed rate-setting mechanism, offering the state $900 million more up front for construction than TxDOT's conventional finance plan.  The project opened to traffic ahead of schedule in late 2012.  Project Finance Magazine named the project 2008 Transportation Deal of the Year.
  • North Tarrant Express – Phase I.  With the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex population increasing dramatically, TxDOT created the North Tarrant Express Project to add new managed lanes to key area network corridors.  Nossaman was engaged to help TxDOT secure the first 13 miles, utilizing a procurement to award a 52-year toll concession agreement to a Cintra/Meridiam consortium (including the first U.S. pension funds direct investment in a PPP project).  The project was financed using $573 million in public funds, $426 million in developer equity, a $650 million TIFIA loan and $400 million in private activity bonds, allocated under the USDOT Demonstration Program. It is scheduled for completion in 2014, six months ahead of schedule.  ARTBA named this project 2010 P3 Co-Project of the Year and Infrastructure Journal named it 2009 Global Transport Deal of the year.
  • North Tarrant Express – Phase II.  Exercising a  right of first negotiation in the Phase 1 agreement, TxDOT relied on Nossaman to draft and negotiate  a separate toll concession, executed with Cintra/Meridiam in 2013, to develop an additional 23 miles of managed lanes to the North Tarrant Express Project.  The financing included $440 million in developer equity, a $530 million TIFIA loan and $270 million of private activity bonds, allocated under the USDOT Demonstration Program.  Construction is underway and to be completed in 2018.
  • LBJ Express.  The largest "greenfield" PPP highway project in U.S. history, the LBJ Expressway (I-635), is adding 17 miles of managed lanes to provide a critical link in the Dallas Metropolitan area.  Nossaman served as legal advisor in the procurement of a toll concession to design, build, finance and operate this $2.8 billion project, awarded to a Cintra/Meridiam consortium.  The first project to receive federal tolling authorization under the Express Lanes Demonstration Program, its financing included $490 million in public funds, $664 million in developer equity, an $850 million TIFIA loan and $615 in private activity bonds, allocated under the USDOT Demonstration Program.  The first lanes opened in late 2013 and the entire project is scheduled for completion by 2016.  ARTBA named it the 2010 P3 Co-Project of the Year.
  • DFW Connector.  The $1.1 billion DFW Connector (SH-114 and SH-121), designed to provide faster and safer access to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, included $260 million in ARRA funds – the largest single USDOT allocation under this program.  Nossaman served as legal advisor on the procurement of a design-build contract, awarded to Kiewit/Zachry joint venture, to develop this 14.4 mile managed lanes project, which rebuilt portions of four highways, two interchanges and five bridges.  It was completed in 2013, nine months ahead of schedule and without material claims or change orders. ARTBA named it the 2014 P3 Project of the Year.
  • Grand Parkway. The Grand Parkway (SH-99) is planned to be a 184-mile tolled beltway around the Houston Metro area, divided into 11 segments.  Nossaman advised on the design-build-maintain contract for a $1.45 billion, 37-mile, three-segment portion.  The contract was awarded in 2013 to a Zachry-Odebrecht joint venture that bid $300 million less than the next-closest bidder and offered a completion date seven months sooner.  The project is on schedule to be completed in late 2015.
  • I-35E Managed Lanes.  A program to relieve traffic congestion along an existing 28-mile interstate corridor in Dallas and Denton Counties, the I-35 Managed Lanes project was the subject of a 2012 procurement.  Nossaman was legal advisor to TxDOT on the $845 million award of a design-build-maintain contract to an Archer Western/Granite/LANE Construction Company joint venture.  The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2017.
  • California High-Speed Rail Authority – Initial Operating Segment.  Guides the Nossaman team advising on key elements of the first phase of what will become an 800-mile, $68 billion high-speed train system to connect the state's major urban centers – the first high-speed rail project in North America and among the largest global infrastructure projects ever undertaken.  A $985 million design-build contract for the first 29-mile civil works section between Madera and Fresno has been awarded to a Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons joint venture.  Currently under procurement is a design-build contract for a 60-mile civil works segment to run south of Fresno and a contract (jointly offered by Amtrak) to manufacture, supply, maintain and finance the initial train sets.  The Nossaman team is advising on many other aspects of the project, including public and private financing, jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board, federal and state environmental permitting, and contracting for trackage, systems, power, dispatch, communications, signaling and long-term operations.
  • New York State Thruway Authority – Tappan Zee Bridge.  Supervisor of the Nossaman team serving as procurement and contracting counsel to replace the existing three-mile-long cantilever span with a new cable-stayed, dual-span to last the next 100 years, said by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to be the state's single most pressing infrastructure need.  The procurement resulted in an award of a $3.1 billion design-build contract ($800 million less than the next lowest bidder) to a Fluor-led consortium, using the first such contract undertaken by NYSTA and the nation's largest to date.  Construction began in 2013.  The first span of the new bridge is scheduled to open in 2016.  The complete bridge will open in 2018.
  • California Department of Transportation – Presidio Parkway.  Supervisor of the team serving as legal advisor for a procurement that resulted in a $1.1 billion PPP availability contract to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Presidio Parkway, a spectacular natural gateway connecting the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge with the City of San Francisco – traversing both an environmentally sensitive national park and a national historic landmark district.  The Caltrans contract awarded to a Hochtief/Meridiam consortium was the first under California's 2009 PPP law and only the third for a U.S. highway project using an availability payment PPP.  Project financing included $45.6 million in equity, $166.6 million in senior bank loans and a $150 million TIFIA loan.  The project is scheduled for completion in 2015. 

    In 2013, PPP Bulletin International named Presidio Parkway a Top 3 Global Transport Project.  In 2012, Project Finance Magazine named it North American P3 Deal of the Year, Project Finance International named it Americas P3 Deal of the Year, and ARTBA named it P3 Project of the Year.

  • Partnerships British Columbia/British Columbia Ministry of Transportation – Sea-to-Sky Highway.  Key advisor on the procurement and award of an availability payment contract to a Macquarie/Kiewit/Hatch Mott MacDonald consortium for reconstruction of the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway connecting Vancouver and The Whistler Ski Resort, critically important to be accelerated and completed prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics.  A trailblazer project for Partnerships BC, the CAN $600 million contract was the result of the Province's first proposer consultation, for which Nossaman developed the process.  The project was completed ahead of schedule in 2009.

Awards & Honors

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Bio Photo

Practices

Education

J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1978, Articles Editor, Virginia Journal of International Law
Recipient, Hardy Cross Dillard Prize on International Law

B.S., University of Florida, 1975, Phi Beta Kappa (Environmental Sciences)

Admissions

California

Professional Affiliations

National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission (mandated by U.S. Congress and appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation): Member (2007-2010)

West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (Rockefeller Foundation-funded consortium composed of British Columbia Minister of Finance and Treasurers of States of Washington, Oregon and California): Member of Advisory Board (2012-present)

Center for Transportation P3 Policy, George Mason University, Virginia: Member of Advisory Board (2012-present)

Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, University of Southern California: Member of Advisory Board (2006-2011)

National Academies of Science, Transportation Research Board: Member, Taxation and Finance Committee (2001-2009)

American Road and Transportation Builders Association: Past Member, Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Design-Build Task Force; Past President and Current Member, Board of Directors, Public-Private Ventures Division; Co-Chair, Finance Working Group, Reauthorization Task Force

Project Finance Institute, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials: Faculty Lecturer

Awards & Honors

     
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