Fredric Kessler is a nationally recognized leader in the field of public-private partnerships (PPPs). His precedent setting transactional work has been instrumental in the success of high profile public infrastructure projects such as the Texas Department of Transportation LBJ Express and North Tarrant Express projects, Presidio Parkway project, Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Pocahontas Parkway. With more than three decades of legal experience, Mr. Kessler is adept at structuring successful concessions and advising on the strategic business decisions behind them. He has pioneered the domestic application of international PPP best practices and has extensive experience with innovative procurement, project delivery and financing methods, and negotiated agreements.
In 2012, Mr. Kessler assisted Congressional staff with writing important changes in federal transportation law that improved and expanded federal credit assistance and tolling programs. Mr. Kessler frequently speaks and writes about PPPs at key industry conferences and in professional publications. He is listed in Chambers USA 2008 as one of the nation's top infrastructure attorneys.
Texas Department of Transportation – Comprehensive Development Agreement Program. Special counsel for Texas' innovative public/private partnership program, focusing on procurements, contracting issues, financing, toll concession agreements, and federal issues. Projects include:
- North Tarrant Express. Mr. Kessler assisted with the procurement of a toll concession comprehensive development agreement and a pre-development agreement for the first 13-mile, $2 billion managed lanes segment of the project in the Forth Worth area. His role included assisting with the negotiation of a second toll concession agreement for the second phase of the project. Phase 2 included a $1.5 billion ten-mile managed lanes expansion of Interstate 35W in north Fort Worth, one of the region's top priorities for congestion relief.
- LBJ Express (I-635). Mr. Kessler assisted with the procurement of the comprehensive development agreement for this $2.8 billion, 17-mile express lanes project in Dallas.
- State Highway 130, Segments 5 & 6 Toll Road. Mr. Kessler developed and negotiated a long-term concession agreement to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a 90-mile, $1.1 billion toll road, which opened to traffic in 2013.
California Department of Transportation-Presidio Parkway Project. Key member of the legal team advising on the $1.1 billion Presidio Parkway Project, which is the southern connector of the Golden Gate Bridge with the city of San Francisco, the third highway project to be developed through an availability payment PPP in the United States and the first procurement initiated under California's 2009 PPP law. The deal reached financial close on June 14, 2012. Role included preparing and advising on the procurement and contract document, provided advice and counsel regarding the structure of the deal and application for TIFIA financing, and assisted with negotiation of two amendments.
Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) - Knik Arm Crossing. Lead outside counsel assisting with the structuring, formation and procurement of a public-private partnership for the Knik Arm Crossing, a $750 million toll bridge and highway project which is the first public-private partnership transportation project in Alaska. Role includes advising on all aspects of the project, including legislative issues, structuring of availability payment sources to achieve investment grade credit ratings, legal and commercial issues, procurement and contract documentation, procurement procedures, and TIFIA financing.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Lead of Nossaman team advising client on implementation of its PPP program. Projects include:
- Accelerated Regional Transportation Improvements Project. This approximately $725 million project, to be procured as an availability payment PPP, will include the resurfacing of the general purpose lanes and addition of two managed lanes of approximately 10 miles in length on the I-5 in north Los Angeles County, the expansion of the SR-71 gap connector in Pomona, and construction of several sound walls. Mr. Kessler serves as lead counsel for the team on pre-procurement preparations, including a value for money analysis, application for project approval with the California Transportation Commission, application for TIFIA credit assistance, and related activities. Role includes leading efforts to prepare the procurement and contract documents. The procurement is expected to commence in the spring of 2013.
- Sepulveda Pass. Metro has authorized pursuit of a pre-development agreement to accelerate definition and delivery of an approximately 10-mile transit and managed lanes tunnel project through Sepulveda Pass between the I-101 and I-10 interchanges, the most congested urban highway segment in the U.S. Preliminary estimates of the capital costs for this multi-modal solution are from $6 - $10 billion. Role includes advising on strategic planning, legal and commercial issues, and PPP procurement matters.
Arizona Department of Transportation – PPP Program. Co-lead attorney advising on development of a PPP program covering new toll facilities, managed lanes, transit and other transportation facilities, as well as other assets. Projects under PPP procurement include the replacement of ADOT's Flagstaff DMV and maintenance facilities, maintenance and operation for rest areas, and solar facilities to supply power to ADOT. Role includes actively advising on legislative amendments, initial project screening and feasibility assessments and implementation of procurements for projects that prove feasible.
Washington State Department of Transportation – Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Lead special counsel negotiating a comprehensive public-private agreement between WSDOT and a Bechtel affiliate to privately finance, develop, operate and maintain the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The bridge, which opened in July 2007, was the country's first new suspension bridge in 30 years. After the state assumed delivery of financing, Mr. Kessler negotiated and wrote a $615 million design-build contract for design and construction awarded to a Bechtel/Kiewit joint venture. The success of this project, the state's first design-build transportation project, paved the way for one of the nation's most sophisticated design-build programs, which WSDOT uses extensively today for its significant capital improvement procurements.
Washington State Department of Transportation – Innovative Partnerships Program. Key member of team that negotiated five precedent setting agreements for private financing and development of transportation infrastructure projects. Projects addressed some of the state's largest and most pressing transportation needs, including planning for the SR 520 floating bridge replacement, park and ride lots on the I-5 for the Puget Sound region, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge project. Role included close work with client and other advisors to develop template agreements, and simultaneously negotiating and drafting individual public-private agreements for the projects. The template comprehensive agreement was the progenitor of the modern public-private agreements in general use throughout the U.S. P3 industry today.
Virginia Department of Transportation – Pocahontas Parkway. Advisor on the structuring of the original $353 million nonprofit corporation toll revenue financing of the parkway and the related design-build and long term operations and maintenance contracts. The parkway, located southeast of Richmond, creates an 8.8-mile bypass around the city. It includes cash and fully electronic tolling, and was VDOT's first successful procurement under its public-private partnership program. Mr. Kessler assisted in the negotiation and documentation of the financing arrangements and the design-build contract. Mr. Kessler subsequently advised on the long-term concession of the project to Transurban, allowing VDOT to recoup all its investment, eliminate future liability for operating and maintenance costs, and obtain a commitment to build and finance an extension to the Richmond airport.
Metro Gold Line Construction Authority - Gold Line LRT. Special outside counsel in the joint development of parcels at four rail stations and the implementation of the Authority's fiber optic leasing program. The Authority undertook a program to generate revenues from station site joint development and a fiber optic transaction to support issuance of debt critical to financing rail transit construction. Role involved preparing requests for proposals, negotiating site purchase, sale agreements and CC&Rs, and detailed contract provisions on coordination with freight rail operations within the rail corridor.