Nossaman LLP

Margo E. Bennett

Partner

T 206.275.0101
F 213.612.7801
3012 70th Avenue S.E.
Mercer Island, WA 98040

Margo Bennett offers in-depth national experience developing and implementing public-private partnerships (PPPs), alternate project delivery methods and government contracting from both the public- and private-sector side.  Skilled at assisting clients with procurement and contract negotiation, she advises on a full range of project-related issues, from enabling legislation, risk management and labor relations to environmental compliance, litigation and procurement challenges.

Before joining the Firm, Ms. Bennett spent two decades practicing construction law, including construction litigation.  She participated in multiple transportation and other construction projects throughout the United States.  In addition to her time in private practice, Ms. Bennett served as general counsel with a large construction company and as deputy general counsel for the $1.8 billion Seattle Monorail Project.

As a result of her long history in the construction industry, Ms. Bennett was asked to co-author "Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Projects:  Beyond Design-Build," a chapter in Construction Law Update.  She served as chair of the WSBA Construction Law Section.

Ms. Bennett is one of several Nossaman lawyers representing the Firm at the Design-Build Institute of America. In addition, she is legislative chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women's Transportation Seminar.  She served as a gubernatorial appointee on the original Washington State Public Works Methods Oversight Committee. 

Ms. Bennett regularly speaks to industry and professional organizations on the use of PPP projects to deliver high-priority transportation projects.  She also publishes on this subject and contributes her insights on emerging issues to the Firm's Infra Insight blog.

Representative Work

  • Indiana Finance Authority – Indiana Portion of the Illiana Corridor/I-65 Added Capacity Project.  Key member of the Nossaman team advising IFA on the Indiana Portion of the Illiana Project, a $1.3 billion, 47-mile tolled highway facility that would extend from I-55 in Illinois (Will County) to I-65 in Indiana (Lake County).  The toll facility would serve primarily as a trucking corridor to remove heavy traffic from local roads. In a bi-state effort, Illinois and Indiana will cooperate to deliver their separate sections of the project.  Nossaman is advising IFA on the 11.7 mile Indiana section, which will be a four-lane, median-divided tolled highway extending from the state line to I-65 north of Lowell.  IFA has further expanded the overall project by including an expansion and reconstruction of portions of I-65 between SR-2 and US 30.  The design-build-finance-operate-maintain availability payment PPP project will be IFA's third use of this structure.  The project is currently under procurement.
  • Nevada Department of Transportation – Project Neon.  Member of the Nossaman team working on this project.  Project Neon is a 3.7-mile transportation improvements project along the heavily trafficked I-15 in downtown Las Vegas – from the Sahara Interchange to the US 95/I-515 Interchange (also known as the Spaghetti Bowl).  The team has been involved with the project since the mid-2000s, advising NDOT on project/program legislation, screening and procurement strategy, structure and implementation.
  • Indiana Finance Authority – East End Crossing.  Key member of the Nossaman team advising on the PPP procurement to design, build, finance, operate and maintain East End Crossing.  East End Crossing is a $1.2 billion, six-lane toll bridge across the Ohio River.  It is the largest PAB issue for a U.S. P3 transport deal and the first U.S. highway availability-payment transaction.  Procurement was completed in record time – ten months from issuance of the RFQ to commercial close.  In financing East End Crossing, the $194.5 million short-term bonds were secured by "milestone payments" awarded by meeting construction completion milestones.  The $482 million long-term bonds were secured by "availability payments," which were defined as meeting operational standards.  The project is scheduled for completion in 2017.

    East End Crossing was the first P3 transaction ever named 2013 "Deal of the Year" by The Bond Buyer.  It was also named ARTBA 2013 "P3 Project of the Year."  It is the first P3 transportation deal that does not use TIFIA funds in its capital structure.  Plus, it is the first P3 availability project debt to receive a "flat" investment-grade rating from both Standard & Poor's and Fitch.

  • Nevada Department of Transportation – Construction Manager at-Risk Program.  Key member of the Nossaman team drafting template contract documents for this program.  Construction manager at-risk is an alternative project delivery method involving a commitment by the construction manager to deliver the project for a guaranteed minimum price.  It must be created by state legislation.  Ms. Bennett assisted NDOT and its technical advisors in evaluating and addressing procurement and project risks associated with the method, the agreement for pre-construction services, definition of scopes of work and the process for negotiation of construction contracts.  She developed key construction contract provisions.
  • City and County of Honolulu – Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor.  Lead member of the Nossaman team working on this project.  The City and County of Honolulu contracted to build the Honolulu High Capacity Transit Corridor Project – a $5.2 billion, 20 mile elevated rapid-transit line that will connect West Oahu with downtown Honolulu and serve major commercial and tourist destinations.  Nossaman advised the City and County on procurement matters relating to the planning, financing, design, construction and operation HHCTCP – the first project of its kind in the state.  The Firm also advised on compliance with federal environmental requirements.  The first three phases of the project are under construction, but construction of the final downtown phase has been on hold pending a lawsuit brought under NEPA and related environmental laws.  Nossaman litigators represented the City and County in the lawsuit, achieving a major victory in a decision of national importance for rail transit and highway projects.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in March 2014 a federal court's dismissal of a lawsuit that alleged state and federal transportation officials shad violated federal laws by failing to consider transit alternatives or failing to properly vet the impact that the planned rail route would have on historic sites before approving plans.  The downtown phase of the project will proceed to bid and is scheduled for completion in 2019.
  • Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas – Houston METRORail.  Key member of a Nossaman team that developed extensions to the Houston METRORail system, which launched in 2004.  Eventually, the system will include 73 miles of light rail service.  The first leg of the system, the popular Red Line, is 7.5 miles long and travels along Main Street through the densely-built city center.  In just one decade, it boasts one of the highest ridership rates in the country.  Metro Solutions Phase 2 is a $1.46 billion project to design, build, equip, operate and maintain three additional rail lines.  In December 2013, the Red Line northern extension added 5.3 miles to the system.  In late 2014, the Green Line (East End) and the Purple Line (Southeast) will open – further expanding the system.  The Nossaman team created the turnkey contract to develop the extensions, produced procurement and contract documents, negotiated the original contracts and negotiated modifications to restructure the original deal.
  • Oregon Transportation Improvement Group – Oregon Innovative Partnerships Program.  Prior to joining Nossaman, lead attorney advising the development consortium for this project.  The Oregon Innovative Partnerships Program allows the Oregon Department of Transportation to enter into partnerships with private-sector businesses and local governments to study, design, fund, construct and operate critically needed transportation projects, including roads, bridges, airport and seaports.  The Oregon Transportation Improvement Group is the private-sector partner selected by ODOT to pursue the first three transportation projects under this program – the Newberg-Dundee Bypass, the Sunrise Corridor and the I-205 Corridor.  The consortium included Macquarie Infrastructure Group, Hatch Mott MacDonald and several other local sub-consultants.

Awards & Honors

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Bio Photo
Bio Photo

Practices

Education

J.D., University of Puget Sound School of Law, 1985

B.A., University of Washington, 1982, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

Admitted Only in Washington.

Professional Affiliations

Design-Build Institute of America

Past Member, Washington State Public Works Methods Oversight Committee

Past Chair, Washington State Bar Association, Construction Law Section

Awards & Honors

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
     
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