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Section 3: General Requirements for Early Acquisition (for State)

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If the project is not developed through the usual prerequisites for project release and the right of way map is not completed, the Department must determine that each early acquisition parcel will be part of the required right of way. After this determination is made, forward a segment of the schematics, or right of way map with the specific parcel(s) clearly marked, to the Environmental Affairs Division with a categorical exclusion analysis for the specific parcel(s) in accordance with 43 TAC Section 2.131(d). Provided that ENV authorizes an environmental approval for early advance purchase, the Department should then forward the segment of the schematics, or right of way map with the specific parcel(s) clearly marked, along with the ENV Division's release memo to the ROW Program Office in Austin. The ROW Program Office must have one of these basic maps to relate early acquisition parcels to the design of the overall project. Include with this submission to the ROW Program Office, the additional information required below, and also for the specific type of early acquisition, as set out in the separate sections relating to each type of early acquisition.

When Federal and State funds are involved, Federal regulations make provision for early acquisition in extraordinary cases or emergency situations prior to completion of the environmental and public involvement process, if this action is found to be in the public interest. TxDOT will not usually use early acquisition. Any Federal participation in early acquisition costs will depend on the property being in the final highway right of way. Early acquisition will not influence the environmental review of a project, a decision regarding the need to construct the project, or selection of a specific location.

In recommending early acquisition, give consideration to the ability to secure possession after procurement, since acquisition under these conditions could be far in advance of a need for right of way. When a property owner initially makes a request for an early acquisition on a hardship basis, the property (parcel) owner should be initially advised that in the event the owner is not willing to close by negotiations (accepting the State's offer and/or administrative settlement), that the acquisition process will not continue on to the eminent domain process at that time, but would have to wait until the environmental approval for the entire project had been obtained, before condemnation would be started.

Submissions for early acquisition must contain the following information:

  • the status of the environmental review and public involvement
  • justification for the preferred alignment
  • the estimated date for normal right of way acquisition authorization
  • an appropriate segment of the schematic or right of way map, or a sketch of the parcel involved
  • the date on which TxDOT made a public announcement of the preferred location or the status of public involvement, if Federal and State funds are involved.
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