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Nossaman LLP

Geoffrey S. Yarema


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

Founder and former chairman of Nossaman’s Infrastructure Practice Group, Geoffrey S. Yarema has spent more than three decades developing national best practices for innovative procurement, contracting and financing structures that successfully move large transportation projects from concept to reality.  These include design-build, design-build-operate-maintain (DBOM), toll concession, availability payment, pre-development and other types of public-private partnership (P3) contracts.  His expertise covers the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF), Private Activity Bonds (PABs) and other such tools.

State departments of transportation, as well as regional and local agencies, regularly rely upon Mr. Yarema’s advice and frequently name him Special Assistant Attorney General.  He is often called to testify as an expert before the United States Congress and state legislatures on alternative delivery and financing of the country’s most important projects.  A member of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission, he played a key role in drafting the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) – a 2009 template for sweeping reform of the nation’s transit and finance framework.

Chambers Global and Chambers USA repeatedly have ranked Mr. Yarema in the top tier of the P3 projects category, describing him as “one of the most influential attorneys in the business” and “the dominant player” in the niche nationwide.  He is the only two-time recipient of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s private sector “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, most recently in 2012.  In 2008, the organization named him the most important private sector professional to the advancement of P3s over the two-decade history in the national transport arena.

Representative Work

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Innovative Project Development Program.  For more than 16 years, leader of the legal team assisting with procurement, contract documents, negotiated concession agreements and innovative financing arrangements for more than $59 billion in transportation improvements.  Examples include the: Central Texas Turnpike Program, a $3.9 billion series of toll highways to alleviate congestion in the San Antonio-Austin area; I-635 LBJ Express, a 17-mile, $2.7 billion Dallas-area managed lanes project, one of the country’s  largest highway P3s; $5.1 billion North Tarrant Express P3, a 36-mile highway improvement and managed lanes program in Dallas and Tarrant counties carried out through a series of concession agreements; DFW Connector, a 14-mile, $1.1 billion design-build managed lanes project to provide faster and safer access to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; key segments of the Grand Parkway, partly under construction and partly under procurement, essential to a planned 184-mile tolled network around the Houston area that will be the largest beltway in the United States; I-35E Managed Lanes project, which will ease traffic along a 28-mile interstate corridor in Dallas and Denton counties through an $845 million DBM contract; and U.S. 181 Harbor Bridge Replacement, an $800 million DBOM project to replace the nearly 60-year-old span with a new structure that will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in North America.  Many of these projects have won top industry awards, including Project Finance magazine’s “Transportation Deal of the Year,” Infrastructure Journal’s “Global Transport Deal of the Year,” and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s “P3 Project of the Year.” 
  • City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports – Landside Access Modernization Program at LAX.  Key Member of the legal team advising on a $5 billion (design and construction) program to facilitate mobility into and out of the busiest originations / destinations airport in the world by developing an elevated 2.5-mile automated people mover system (APM), and a massive consolidated rental car center (ConRAC), intermodal transportation facilities and a joint station with LA Metro’s Crenshaw Light Rail Line.  Among the matters on which Nossaman is advising are strategic planning, changes to applicable city ordinances, and drafting the procurement and contract documents and aiding in proposal evaluation for the availability payment DBFOM procurements for each of the $2.2 billion APM and $1.3 billion ConRAC elements.  The City reached commercial close on the APM DBFOM agreement in April 2018, after awarding the agreement to an ACS and Fluor-led team that had both the lowest financial proposal and highest technical score. The APM reached financial close on June 8, 2018.  The City anticipates selecting a developer for the ConRAC in late 2018.
  • California High-Speed Rail Authority – Fresno-to-Bakersfield Segment.  Supervisor of the legal team advising on key elements of the first phase of a planned 800-mile, $68 billion high-speed train system connecting the state’s major urban centers.  Among many assignments, Nossaman has assisted in drafting procurement and contract documents and overseeing the award of a nearly $1 billion design-build contract to a Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons joint venture for the first 29-mile civil works section between Madera and Fresno, as well as a $1.37 billion design-build agreement with a Dragados/Flatiron consortium to develop the next 60-mile civil works segment south of Fresno – both at prices well under engineer’s estimates. Nossaman also has advised the Authority regarding administration of the design-build contracts, procurement of trainsets, and the feasibility of using a P3 approach to project delivery.  We have advised the agency on a wide range of other legal issues, including Surface Transportation Board approvals for the project and state and federal environmental permitting.
  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – Green Line Extension Project.  Leader of the legal team advising on the $2-3 billion, 5-mile extensions of the Green Line light rail service from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford.  The transportation agency has retained Nossaman to examine the deployed construction manager/general contractor delivery method, consider alternatives and make recommendations on the optimal delivery method going forward.  The agency terminated several of its existing contracts in December 2015 and is considering options for the project.
  • New York State Thruway Authority – Tappan Zee Bridge.  Supervisor of the legal team that advised on a project Gov. Andrew Cuomo has described as the state’s most pressing infrastructure need – replacement of an aging three-mile-long cantilever bridge over the Hudson River with a new cable-stayed, dual-span structure designed to last a century.  To help deliver the project, Nossaman drafted procurement and contract documents and assisted with the procurement, resulting in a $3.1 billion design-build contract with a Fluor-led consortium – $800 million less than the next lowest bidder – in the first such deal undertaken by the transportation agency and the largest in the country to date.  The contractor started construction in 2013 and opened to traffic in 2017.
  • California Department of Transportation – Presidio Parkway.  Supervisor of the legal team that advised on this $1.1 billion project to rebuild a spectacular natural gateway linking the Golden Gate Bridge with the City of San Francisco.  The parkway, which traverses an environmentally sensitive national park and a national historic landmark district, is the first procurement under California's P3 law and only the third highway project developed under an availability payment P3 in the U.S.  Nossaman advised on the DBFOM procurement and contract documents with a Hochtief/Meridiam joint venture and assisted in closing the project financing, which included $45.6 million in equity, $166.6 million in senior bank loans and a $150 million TIFIA loan.  When the project was challenged in a lawsuit, the Firm kept it on track and assisted Caltrans in its successful response.  The project, which opened in July 2015, captured many honors.  In 2012, it won "Americas P3 Deal of the Year" from Project Finance International; "North American P3 Deal of the Year" from Project Finance magazine; "P3 Project of the Year" from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association; and "Best Real Estate Deal of the Year, Infrastructure/ Public-Private Partnership" from San Francisco Business Times.  In 2013, P3 Bulletin named it a finalist for "Best Transport Project of the Year,” and in 2016 the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships honored it with the “Infrastructure Project Award.”
  • Partnerships British Columbia/British Columbia Ministry of Transportation – Sea-to-Sky Highway.  Key advisor on a project to rebuild a 62-mile scenic highway connecting Vancouver and Whistler Ski Resort in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics, assisting with the successful procurement of a CAD $600 million contract awarded to a Macquarie/Kiewit/Hatch Mott MacDonald consortium – utilizing the Province’s first proposer consultation  process Nossaman helped develop.  The concessionaire completed the project ahead of schedule in 2009, within budget and without material claims.

Awards & Honors

Individual recognition for Projects, PPP – Nationwide, Chambers Global, 2011-2018, and Chambers USA, 2010-2019 (Senior Statesmen) 

“P3 Private Sector Entrepreneur of the Year,” American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 2003 and 2012

“Most Significant Private Sector Individual in P3 Sector Over Last 20 Years,” American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 2008

Geoffrey S. Yarema
Geoffrey S. Yarema



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)



Professional Affiliations

California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, Board Member

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

American Road and Transportation Builders Association, Past Member, Executive Committee; Board of Directors, Design-Build Task Force

American Road and Transportation Builders Association, Past President, Current Member; Board of Directors, Public-Private Ventures Division

American Road and Transportation Builders Association, Co-Chair, Finance Working Group, Reauthorization Task Force

National Surface Transportation Financing Commission, Past Member

University of Southern California Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, Past Advisory Board Member

Transportation Research Board, National Academies of Sciences, Past Member, Taxation and Finance Committee

West Coast Infrastructure Exchange, Past Advisory Board Member

George Mason University, Center for Transportation P3 Policy, Past Advisory Board Member

Awards & Honors

Individual recognition for Projects, PPP – Nationwide, Chambers Global, 2011-2018, and Chambers USA, 2010-2019 (Senior Statesmen) 

“P3 Private Sector Entrepreneur of the Year,” American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 2003 and 2012

“Most Significant Private Sector Individual in P3 Sector Over Last 20 Years,” American Road and Transportation Builders Association, 2008

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