Transportation Finance

Orrick lawyers have long been at the forefront in helping issuers establish innovative financing programs for airports, ports, highways, railroads, light rail, bridge, tunnel, rapid transit and other transportation projects.

Orrick's Transportation Finance Group lawyers are based in California, Seattle, Portland, Texas and New York and are fully experienced in financing all types of transportation facilities owned by state and local government entities. Multi-purpose financings involving transportation issues have been successfully completed for a wide variety of issuers, such as:

  • California Transportation Commission
  • Massachusetts Port Authority
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
  • Oregon Transportation Department
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Port of Oakland
  • Port of Portland
  • Port of San Diego
  • Sound Transit
  • Texas Department of Transportation
  • Sales Tax Revenue Bonds for Transportation

    Sales tax revenue bonds issued by California transportation authorities and transit districts differ from most transportation financings because the debt is paid from sales taxes and not from transportation revenues. Orrick helped write most of the enabling legislation under which transportation sales tax debt has been issued in California. We developed the mechanisms by which tax revenues are disbursed directly from the tax collecting entity to the trustee of the bond issue in order to perfect the pledge of those tax revenues, thereby benefiting the bondholders and resulting in the receipt of higher credit ratings from the rating agencies. Orrick has served as bond counsel to San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) in all of its many long-term and short-term financings since its formation in 1957. Other sales tax revenue bond clients include San Diego County Regional Transportation Commission, Santa Clara County Transportation Agency, Santa Barbara County Local Transportation Authority, Sacramento Regional Transit District, Santa Clara County Traffic Authority, San Mateo County Transit District, San Mateo County Transportation Authority, Contra Costa Transportation Authority and Imperial County Local Transportation Authority. In addition, we have been involved with issues by Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Orange County Local Transportation Authority and San Joaquin County Transportation Authority.

    Cross-Border and U.S. Leveraged Leasing

    Orrick also has more experience representing transit authorities in cross-border and domestic leveraged leases than any other law firm, both in connection with and apart from bond issues. Orrick recently represented two transit entities that closed tax-oriented U.S. leasehold interest transactions and is currently representing several other transit authorities in similar transactions. The net present value to the transit authority in a U.S. leasehold transaction can be in excess of 10%, although recent IRS regulations have reduced that benefit somewhat. In cross border leasing we have worked with lessors in Japan, Germany, France and Sweden who have been willing to pay our transit authority clients between 3% to 8% of the cost of the equipment for entering into the leases (i.e., for the tax benefits those foreign lessors receive in their respective countries). We have also established a positive working relationship with the Federal Transit Administration in connection with a number of these transactions. The leased equipment has consisted of both rail cars and buses.