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Section 2: Authority

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Federal Law

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the Executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. 49CFR24, The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, as amended, commonly called the Uniform Act, is the primary law for acquisition and relocation activities on Federal or federally-assisted projects and programs. This law was passed by Congress for making public acquisition of private property as fair and equitable as possible. Several provisions of the law were amended in 1987 as part of Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987 (STURAA).

The Uniform Act is divided into three sections or “titles”:

  • Title I, “General Provisions,” primarily covers definitions.
  • Title II, “Uniform Relocation Assistance”, contains provisions relating to the displacement of persons or businesses by Federal or federally-assisted programs or projects. If you do not have staff qualified to administer a relocation program, you should seek assistance from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to insure that displaced persons are provided all appropriate assistance and payments. Qualified relocation consultants also may provide these services.
  • Title III, “Uniform Real Property Acquisition Policy”, pertains to the acquisition of real property for Federal and federally-assisted programs or projects. One of the purposes of Title III is to encourage and expedite the acquisition of real property through negotiation with property owners. This negotiation process helps avoid litigation and relieves congestion in the courts.

Failure to comply with the provisions of the Uniform Act will result in a denial of Federal participation in project costs.

Information in this guide will primarily deal with Title III of the Act.

In addition, the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States provide rights for all persons, that they shall not “be deprived of … property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

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State Law

Transportation Code, Title 6, Chapters 201-250 and Property Code, Chapter 21, are the primary sources of State law for acquisition and relocation activities related to the State Highway System. These statutes are supplemented with administrative rules provided in 43 TAC, Part 1, Chapters 1, 2, 5, 6, 15, and 21.

In addition, Article 1, Section 17, of the Texas Constitution provides that “No person's property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person; ...."

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