Nossaman LLP

Simon J. Santiago


T 202.887.1472
F 202.466.3215
1666 K Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006

Simon J. Santiago leads Nossaman's Infrastructure Group East Coast operations from the Firm's Washington, DC, office.

Mr. Santiago focuses his practice on infrastructure development, procurement and construction law.  He helps public-sector clients on large-scale transportation, transit and multi-modal infrastructure projects using innovative procurement, financing and delivery methods – including public-private partnerships (PPPs).

In 2014, Mr. Santiago was named by his peers as a 2014 Washington, DC Super Lawyer in the area of Transportation law.  He sits on the board of the Public-Private Partnerships Division of ARTBA.

Given his broad experience, he often provides advice to industry leaders and policymakers on emerging federal legislative and policy issues involving transportation.

At the state level, Mr. Santiago helped develop PPP enabling legislation, procedures and programs in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia.  He also advised the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on state and federal legislation governing all-electronic toll systems.

Prior to joining Nossaman in 2006, Mr. Santiago was a litigator with a construction and government contract law firm in Northern Virginia, where he advised public- and private-sector clients on disputes involving large and complex infrastructure projects.

He was also a judicial clerk for the General Services Board of Contract Appeals, where he assisted in the judicial analysis of contract claims and disputes.  Because of this collective experience, Mr. Santiago is able to anticipate potential risks and develop procurement and contracting strategies that appropriately control and allocate these risks.

Mr. Santiago speaks to industry and professional organizations on the use of PPPs and other innovative project delivery methods to deliver high-priority transportation infrastructure projects.  He is a respected media resource on these topics.

Representative Work

  • Maryland Transit Administration and Maryland Department of Transportation – Purple Line Light Rail.  Co-lead counsel on the Nossaman team advising MTA/MDOT on the state's first PPP project under legislation passed in 2013.  The proposed $2.2 billion Purple Line light rail transit system will run 16.2 miles between Bethesda in Montgomery County and New Carrollton in Prince George's County, with 21 new stations along the route.  Initial tasks included assistance with the enabling legislation allowing the use of PPPs to finance, develop and operate infrastructure projects, drafting the request for qualifications and developing draft documents for industry review.  In early 2014, MTA announced that four teams have been short-listed to submit proposals for a 30-year concession for the Purple Line.  Mr. Santiago is a key participant in development of procurement and contract documents for the project, including participation in the pre-RFP industry review process.  In July 2014, MTA issued the final RFP for a 30-year concession to the shortlisted teams.  Construction is slated to start in 2015; trains will begin running in 2020.
  • North Carolina Department of Transportation – I-77 HOT Lanes.  Co-lead attorney for the Nossaman team assisting with the structuring, development, procurement and administration of a $600 million toll concession PPP for this project.  The I-77 HOT Lanes project adds high-occupancy toll lanes to the median of I-77 heading north out of Charlotte; the route serves Mecklenburg County.  Fees will be dynamic; as the number of vehicles in a lane goes up, so will the fee.  Proposals to develop, design, build, finance, operate and maintain the stretch of road for 50 years through a PPP were submitted in March 2014 and an apparent best value proposer has been announced.  Commercial close was achieved in June 2014 and financial close in May 2015.  Mr. Santiago also advised NCDOT on legislative and regulatory changes needed to create a PPP program.  This project is the state's first PPP and its first toll concession.
  • City of Virginia Beach – Virginia Beach Light Rail Extension.  Lead attorney advising the City on this project.  The existing system known as "The Tide" is a 7.4 mile light rail line in Norfolk, Virginia.  When The Tide opened in 2011, it was the first light rail system in the state.  The Virginia Beach Light Rail Transit Extension would extend this light rail system from Norfolk to the City of Virginia Beach.  Mr. Santiago is assisting the City in developing funding, environmental and procurement strategies for the light rail extension.
  • Virginia Department of Transportation – Coalfields Expressway.  Lead attorney advising VDOT on this project.  U.S. Route 121 is a proposed highway designated as the Coalfields Expressway, a proposed four-lane highway that will stretch from Beckley, West Virginia, to Pound, Virginia – connecting  I-77/I-64 to U.S. Route 23.  About 55 miles of this project will be in Virginia.  The region is characterized by mountainous terrain that limits access to the region.  The project delivery method employs an innovative concept that uses coal mining operations and equipment to provide a rough-grade roadbed, resulting in a substantial reduction of anticipated costs compared with traditional construction methods.  After completion of the rough-grade roadbed, the road will be paved to complete the project.
  • Virginia Department of Transportation – Midtown Tunnel Project.  Lead attorney assisting VDOT with the procurement and contract documents for the 58-year toll concession PPP to design-build-finance-operate-maintain necessary improvements.  The $2.1 billion project was the largest in the region in almost 30 years.  It includes construction of a new two-lane Midtown Tunnel parallel to the original, rehabilitation of the existing Midtown and Downtown tunnels, and extension of the MLK Freeway to I-264.  Financing includes a $422 TIFIA loan (to be repaid with toll revenues), $675 million in private activity bonds, $310 million in public contributions from VDOT and an equity contribution of $272 million from the selected project developers.  Construction began in 2012 and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

    The Midtown Tunnel Project was named 2012 North America Toll Road Deal of the Year by Project Finance magazine.

  • Florida Department of Transportation – I-595 Corridor Improvements.  Member of the Nossaman team representing FDOT on procurement of this project.  The main east-west traffic corridor in Fort Lauderdale is congested at certain times of the day – and predicted to get worse in the coming decades.  Using a PPP structure, construction on the $1.8 billion I-595 renovation is being financed largely by the private sector.  I-595 Corridor was the first transportation project of its kind to use an availability-payment compensation structure.  Redevelopment included resurfacing of 10.5 miles of mainline, construction of additional lanes, and construction of three reversible lanes (to maximize traffic flow) in the median.  The DBFOM concession for a 35-year term was awarded to ACS Infrastructure Development.  Nossaman assisted FDOT on drafting procurement and contract documents, facilitating the financing structure and leading contract negotiations.  The Firm continues to advise FDOT on contract issues as project construction nears completion.

    The project was named 2009 Project of the Year by ARTBA and 2009 North American Transport Deal of the Year by Project Finance magazine.

  • Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation – Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Phase 1.  Co-lead attorney representing the Department in Phase 1 of this project to construct the new 23-mile Silver Line.  This $2.9 billion project extends the Metrorail from East Falls Church through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Fairfax County.  It includes 11.7 miles of track and five new stations.  The design-build contract was executed in 2007 and the project opened in July 2014.
  • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority – Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Phase 2.  Member of the team that represented the Authority in the procurement of the design and construction of this project.  At a cost of $2.7 billion, Phase 2 of the Silver Line will build 11.4 miles of light rail track and six stations in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties – including one at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Design and construction activities began in 2014 and will continue through 2018.
  • Georgia Department of Transportation – Northwest Corridor Project.  Outside legal advisor to GDOT on this project.  In an effort to relieve congestion, the $840 million Northwest Corridor project adds 30 miles of tolled managed lanes along I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee Counties northwest of Atlanta.  It is the state's first PPP transportation transaction.  It includes two reversible tolled managed lanes along the west side of I-75 between its interchanges with I-285 and I-575.  Above the I-575 interchange, one reversible tolled managed lane will be added on the center media to Hickory Grove Road.  A similar lane will be added to I-575 to Sixes Road.  Users will need a Peach Pass and tolls will vary with the amount of traffic.  The managed lanes will be constructed under a PPP design-build-finance agreement.  Nossaman's role includes providing legal and procurement assistance, drafting procurement and contract documents, facilitating financing structures and leading contract negotiations.  Funding sources include $232.9 million in state motor fuel taxes, a $275 million TIFIA loan, $265.9 million in GDOT program funds (federal and state), and $59.9 million in developer financing.  Design and construction began in 2014 and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Awards & Honors

Named a Washington, DC "Super Lawyer" in the area of Transportation/Maritime Law by Washington Lawyer magazine, 2014-2015.
Bio Photo
Bio Photo



J.D., Washington College of Law at American University, 1996, magna cum laude; Notes and Comments Editor, American University Law Review

B.A., University of Illinois, 1993


District of Columbia



United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia  

United States Court of Federal Claims

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association: Public Law Section; Forum on the Construction Industry

American Road and Transportation Builders Association: Public-Private Partnership Division: Board of Directors

District of Columbia Bar Association, Government Contracts and Litigation Section

Virginia State Bar Association, Construction and Public Contract Law Section

Maryland State Bar Association

Awards & Honors

Named a Washington, DC "Super Lawyer" in the area of Transportation/Maritime Law by Washington Lawyer magazine, 2014-2015.
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