Section 2: General ROW Project Development

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The following steps are involved in ROW funding:

ROW cost is a significant factor in TxDOT's project development process. To clearly state ROW funding needs in this process, prepare a reasonably accurate ROW cost estimate that addresses the following elements:

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  • Consider local land use, which has a major impact on ROW funding and generally includes one or more of the following types of use.
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    • Agricultural. May include farm or ranch land and related improvements, including single-family residential.
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    • Urban residential. May include single-family or multi-family structures and associated improvements, such as landscaping or privacy fencing.
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    • Commercial. May include wholesale and retail businesses, or professional office buildings.
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    • Industrial. May include manufacturing plants, product assembly plants, and heavy equipment associated with these activities.
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    • Public. May include parks, cemeteries, greenbelts, educational facilities, vacant land, or any of the uses in A through D above when the land is owned by a public agency.
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  • Consider the value of land and improvements to be taken and make allowance for damages, if any, to remainders. Make reasonable allowances for acquiring some parcels in condemnation.
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  • Estimate relocation assistance including the number of individuals, families and/or businesses being displaced. Consider the cost to move individuals, families and businesses, as well as supplemental payments for replacement housing and anticipated last resort housing.
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  • Identify types of utilities to be moved and estimate the eligible costs. See TxDOT’s ROW Utilities Manual.
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  • Consider the cost to dispose of improvements acquired. Note that the disposition cost of commercial or industrial structures can be significant.
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  • Consider other costs such as outsource contract fees, disposition of hazardous materials, clean up of contaminated land, or wetland mitigation.
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  • Consider other State costs such as for appraiser fees, title, and court costs.

The Unified Transportation Program (UTP) authorizes projects for construction (CONS), development (DVLP), and planning (PLAN) activities. A ROW CSJ number may be obtained from the ROW Division after the Texas Transportation Commission approves the project as a PLAN or DVLP project. Typically, a CSJ number for ROW activities is obtained after obtaining a CSJ number for construction. A ROW CSJ Request Form for Total Project Cost ( ROW-RM-CSJTPC Right of Way CSJ Total Project Cost) should be filled out and forwarded to ROW Division’s Contracts and Finance Section, Project Financial Management Branch for any right of way cost including any proposed utility adjustments.

For information on programming and scheduling funds for a project, including ROW acquisition, refer to TxDOT’s Transportation Programming and Scheduling Manual.

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Obtaining Relocation Funding for State Projects and Local Government Acquisitions with State Reimbursement

Costs for relocation payments and services will be paid by the State for (1) projects wholly financed with State funds and for (2) ROW projects involving local government acquisitions with State reimbursement.

If an overrun occurs or is anticipated, the overrun must be handled according to established overrun procedures.

Costs for relocation payments and services must be included in the total estimated ROW cost. Relocation costs incurred before project programming by the State are not eligible for State financing.

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Local Government Project Set Up and Funding

The following information is required by the Right of Way Division:

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  • Identify Texas Transportation Commission approval of the project. The project will be approved either by inclusion in the Unified Transportation Program or through a project specific minute order.
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  • Identify date of environmental clearance.
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  • Include property descriptions, and parcel plats approved by the District prior to acquisition of right of way.

When authorizing for a project involving local government participation, be aware that local governments may participate in all of the right of way costs.

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State Program Authorization

Projects programmed by the Texas Transportation Commission for construction are approved for development up to construction. If ROW is needed, there will be Commission program allotment for ROW cost separate from the program authorization for construction.

Projects programmed by the Commission for ROW acquisition but not construction are approved for development through schematic layout and ROW acquisition.

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Statutory Authority For ROW Acquisition

Section 24, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, provides that:

"The Legislature shall make provisions for laying out and working public roads, for the building of bridges...." Under this constitutional authority:

The State Highway Department (now TxDOT) was established in 1917 by appropriate legislation (Acts 1917, 35th Legislature, p.416, Ch. 190, Section 1). The Highway Commission (now Texas Transportation Commission) was given responsibility to "...plan and make policies for the location, construction and maintenance of a comprehensive system of state highways and public roads." (Transportation Code, Section 201.103)

In 1957, the 55th Legislature, regular session, passed H.B. 179, Chapter 300, (refer to Transportation Code, Section 203.051), expressly granting the Highway Commission (now Texas Transportation Commission) authority to purchase or acquire through eminent domain proceedings land needed for highway purposes in the name of the State of Texas. The 55th Legislature, regular session, also passed H.B. 620 (Chapter 301) directing the Commission to handle the acquisition of ROW on the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways and to participate under certain conditions in the cost of ROW acquired by local political subdivisions for certain other highways (refer to Transportation Code, Section 224.001).

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