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Section 6: Advance Acquisition of Right of Way (for LPA)

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If a local public agency (LPA) chooses to purchase property with its own funds prior to completion of the environmental process, it may do so without jeopardizing federal participation in future project costs if certain requirements are met. These include:

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  • The acquired property must not influence the need for or location of the project.
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  • The acquisition must comply with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended.
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  • The acquisition must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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  • The acquisition must not include lands protected by Section 4(f) of the DOT Act.
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  • The final project must meet all requirements for a normal federal project such as compliance with NEPA, Historical Preservation Act, Endangered Species Act, Wetland Executive Order, etc.
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  • Advance acquisitions must not be used to circumvent federal laws or regulations.
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  • Federal funds (including future state pass thru repayments) may not be utilized to pay right of way costs incurred prior to final approval of the environmental document.
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  • Parcels acquired through advance acquisition shall be numbered according to example 19 in the Parcel Numbering Chart on all right of way maps for the relevant project.

LPAs should be made aware that any advance acquisition would be done totally at their financial risk, including the risk of jeopardizing prospective federal funding if the acquisition prejudices the environmental review process.

Advance acquisition also may cause considerable problems when displacements are involved since relocation funding cannot be set up prior to completion of public involvement and final environmental clearance. The LPA will be responsible for relocation costs.

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