Rail infrastructure development depends on a successful partnership between the transportation agencies and the rail industry. Because we have long had clients on both sides of this equation, our team knows how to create a close collaboration that can bring complex projects to completion.
Venable's Rail team has a thorough understanding of the existing and evolving issues in railroad law. Through our experience in high-profile matters, we are well versed in dealing with the complex environmental, regulatory, legislative, and business interactions that surround railroad construction and development, acquisitions, and operations.
The basic philosophy of our rail team is simple: careful strategy in the project planning phase, followed by active engagement during environmental review and permitting, speeds project approval, and shields against courtroom challenges. For more than twenty years, the team has implemented this philosophy for numerous new rail construction projects across the county, including projects that brought competitive rail service to shippers, expanded rail line capacity and facilities, extended service into new markets, initiated new high-speed passenger rail possibilities, and created connections to port facilities.
When it comes to seeking Surface Transportation Board (STB) authority for new rail construction, our experience is unrivaled. Venable's team has been instrumental in the environmental and regulatory review of many of the rail projects that have successfully completed STB licensing. When the STB's environmental reviews and regulatory approvals have faced legal challenges from project opponents, Venable's attorneys have joined the STB in defending the agency's decision-making. Our long history of success has helped create solid working relationships with the STB's Office of Environmental Analysis and Office of General Counsel, and gives us the knowledge and background to help clients navigate the Surface Transportation Board process.
Our Rail team has also been involved with numerous rail projects—including both freight rail and high-speed passenger rail—that fall within the primary jurisdiction of other federal agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Land Management. In all of these cases, we have achieved success for our clients by helping them obtain defensible environmental reviews and regulatory approvals. And, when necessary, we have defended those reviews and approvals in court.
Our experience has involved the management and coordination of reviews under a wide variety of federal and state laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), all of which play a pivotal role in the approval of new rail construction projects.