Section 8: Early Acquisition of Right of Way for LPAAnchor: #i1000060
If an LPA chooses to purchase property with its own funds prior to completion of the environmental process, it may do so and not jeopardize Federal participation in future project costs if certain requirements are met. These include:
- The acquired property must not influence the need for or location of the project.
- The acquisition must comply with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended.
- The acquisition must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- The acquisition must not include lands protected by Section 4(f) of the DOT Act.
- 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.
- Early acquisitions must not be used to circumvent Federal laws or regulations.
- 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.
- Parcels acquired through early acquisition shall be numbered according to example 19 in the Parcel Numbering Chart, on all right of way maps for the relevant project.
Acquiring large quantities of right of way in advance of Federal approval could likely influence project location or need. This may compromise the environmental process. LPAs should be made aware that any early acquisition would be done totally at their financial risk.
While early acquisition on a very limited basis is allowed by the FHWA, it is not something that they want to see used as normal method of operation. If not carefully administered, it could jeopardize Federal participation both in right of way and construction. It also causes 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.