Right of Way and Other Land Acquisition
Transportation projects may involve local, state or federal funds for the purchase of right of way and may be subject to the requirements of Title II and Title III of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 including amendments.
Even entirely locally funded projects require TxDOT oversight if the project impacts the state highway system. The Advance Funding Agreement (AFA) will define which party is providing funding and coordination for the purchase of right of way in most transportation projects.
Other Land Acquisition
Land may also be acquired for purposes other than highway right of way. Interests in land used for other purposes may include different forms of real property such as buildings or other structures. In these cases, specific program rules may impose unique requirements on the local government. TxDOT developed the Real Estate Acquisition Guide for Local Public Agencies to aid local governments.
Identify Land Acquisition Needs
The local government must identify the need for right-of-way or other land acquisition during the development of the project design in the preliminary engineering and design phase and include acquisition needs in the 30% complete design documents.
Second State Letter of Authority
TxDOT will issue the second State Letter of Authority (SLOA) upon the local government’s request after the environmental compliance phase is essentially complete. A Federal Project Authorization and Agreement (FPAA) is required in addition to the SLOA for all federally funded projects.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) includes provisions for federally funded right of way purchased by the local government in advance of final environmental approval. TxDOT advises caution in advance acquisitions because it could jeopardize federal funding if used inappropriately.
The local government must provide relocation assistance in compliance with federal and state regulations for projects that require relocation of an individual/business or requires an individual/business to move personal property. Relocation assistance consists of two major elements:
- Advisory services
- Financial assistance