Public-Private Partnerships

When a public-private partnership succeeds, everyone is a winner – the public entity, the private enterprise, and the citizens at large. Venable has the experience in business and government to understand the interests of both partners. We help clients in the public and private sectors build partnerships that succeed.

As state and local governments struggle to do more with less, public-private partnerships enable the public and private sectors to share in the risks, responsibilities, and rewards of large-scale projects. But this pairing of business and government can be tricky, requiring a balance of sophisticated finance, real estate, and operational issues with a host of federal, state, and local government requirements.

The intersection of commerce and government is a place Venable knows intimately. Our P3 team guides both public and private entities through every stage of the process. With a multifaceted team of attorneys experienced in a range of practice areas, we understand the workings of the private sector and of government entities, and we know how best to facilitate their collaboration.

Counsel Through Every State of the Project

Assessment, Design and Planning, Negotiation, Finane, Construction, Management and Operations

Experience across Industries and Projects

From toll roads in Texas to transit projects and school buildings in Virginia or a town center in Maryland, Venable enables private- and public-sector clients to create partnerships that drive major development and improvement projects. Our P3 team has the experience and know-how to handle P3s of any scale, anywhere in the country.

We have extensive experience in setting up P3s for transportation and infrastructure projects, including public transit, highways, and bridges. We work with government entities and private companies on mixed-use projects involving residential and commercial public uses, and on projects relating to education, hospitality, and public buildings.

These multilayered transactions require multiple sets of legal skills. Our P3 team brings together attorneys from key practices throughout our firm, including real estate, finance, transportation, business transactions, government relations, environmental, regulatory, construction, technology/IP, and others.

Thoughtful Counsel, from Assessment through Completion

The success of a public-private partnership lies in the care and scrutiny given to its formation. For Venable, the diligence starts at a project's earliest stages, with a thorough assessment of every aspect of a project and of the issues and hurdles it may face.

We then work with both the public and private entity to structure all necessary contracts and agreements. Depending on the project, these may address environmental assessments, design/build/finance/maintain contracts, land use and real estate matters, zoning, coordination and communication across companies and jurisdictions, regulatory issues, post-completion management, and operations.

Our work also involves helping private companies with bid structuring, construction and contractor agreements, and overcoming potential regulatory hurdles.

Public-Private Partnership Finance and Management

When it comes to financing a large-scale project, private enterprise offers options and innovations not always available to public entities, allowing the government to complete major projects it otherwise could not.

Working with clients in the public and private sectors, and with lenders and investors, on both traditional and alternative funding arrangements, we make sure that financing is soundly and securely structured.

We have helped structure equity and debt financing for P3s in jurisdictions across the country and advised on ways to overcome the federal and state regulatory, environmental, tax, and financing hurdles that too often delay or frustrate projects. When a legislative or administrative action by a state or local government is required, we are effective at helping to bring about whatever action is needed.

In addition to project finance, we prepare any agreements necessary to management of the relations between the parties to the P3. These will vary with the nature of the project, but may cover payment arrangements, ownership, leases, and operations.

Practice Focus

  • Contract negotiations
  • Construction
  • Design and planning
  • Environmental matters
  • Government relations
  • Litigation and dispute resolution
  • Management and operations
  • Project assessment
  • Project financing
  • Project management
  • Real estate and leasing
  • Regulatory issues
  • Taxation
  • Zoning and land use matters


Enabling a Massive Rail Project to Stay on Track

In one of the largest public-private partnerships ever in the U.S., Venable represents a private consortium that is partnering with the state of Virginia and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in the design and construction of the $4 billion extension of the Washington-area Metrorail to Tysons Corner and Dulles Airport. Partially funded by a special tax district created by the members of the consortium and by tolls on the adjacent Dulles Toll Road, the expansion will be the largest single addition to Metro’s capacity since its inception, adding 25 miles to the 106-mile system.

Venable attorneys participated in the development of the environmental impact statement leading to the issuance of an ROD, assisted in the negotiation of the comprehensive agreement and the design/build contract with Virginia authorities, and continue to work with the private team on ongoing environmental, land use, and contract matters. Advancing this complex project required ongoing coordination with Virginia's congressional delegation, the Federal Transit Administration, Virginia government, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, several local governments, and area business leaders, transportation organizations, and members of the public.

Putting a Texas Development on the Fast Lane to Success

Venable's guidance helped a major developer negotiate several successful public-private partnerships to enhance transportation infrastructure in Texas. The developer entered into a partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation to finance, construct, maintain, and operate key segments of State Highway 130. With Venable's help, the developer also negotiated a comprehensive development agreement with TxDOT for the I-69 corridor and reached agreement on a number of other major transportation projects in Texas.

Allowing a Maryland City to Redevelop Its Center

The city of Rockville, Maryland turned to Venable to represent it in connection with the development of the new Rockville Town Center. This complex project involved participants from the public, private, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors, and included 644 condominium units, 175,000 square feet of retail space, 600,000 square feet of office space, a town square, a new Rockville library, and a new Arts and Innovation Center.

We assisted the city in finding the best financing alternatives, selecting private partners and negotiating terms, assessing the correct mix of public and private funding, managing complex utility and easement issues, and reaching interagency and intergovernmental agreements. As legal counsel, our role included harmonizing the sometimes conflicting legal and business concerns of multiple private- and public-sector entities.

Helping to Build a Better Bridge

When the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which carries I-95 across the Potomac between Maryland and Virginia, required major improvements, Venable attorneys became involved. We represented private-sector clients in support of efforts by Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to gain federal court approval of the ROD. We filed amicus briefs in support of the project in the federal district court and the federal appeals court. We drafted and marshaled support for legislation in Congress authorizing funding for the bridge. We also worked with federal highway officials and state lawmakers and regulators to clear critical regulatory hurdles.

Crafting an Innovative Proposal to Help Earn a Winning Bid

Venable attorneys represented a joint venture between a U.S.-based construction and development company and an Australian asset manager in connection with the winning bid on a ground-breaking proposal to the Department of Transportation of Missouri. The project involved an innovative financing approach to the design, construction, and long-term maintenance of more than 800 bridges throughout the state of Missouri, involving availability payments to be provided by the state over the life of the project.

Government Experience

Our team includes:

  • A former chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
  • A member of the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships


  • Super Lawyers, 2006 – 2007 (Venable attorneys selected for inclusion)
  • Chambers USA, 2009 – 2018, 2021 (Venable attorneys selected for inclusion)