Chapter 1: Introduction

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Section 1: Purpose of this Guide

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The right of way acquisition process is highly complex. It is also governed by federal and Texas laws. This guide is not intended to be an in-depth instructional on acquiring right of way. Instead, the purpose of this guide is to provide local public agencies (LPAs) a basic understanding of the right of way acquisition process.

For more detailed treatment of the right of way acquisition process, the LPA should consult the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT's) right of way manuals. This guide contains links to the corresponding TxDOT manuals for further information.

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LPA Compliance Duties

A LPA project that is federally funded (in any part) must demonstrate that it will use approved right of way procedures for acquisition and other real estate activities, and that the LPA has the ability to comply with federal requirements. The LPA can do this through one of the following methods:

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  • certify in writing that the LPA will adopt and use TxDOT's right of way manuals;
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  • submit its own right of way manual for review and determination whether it complies with federal and Texas requirements, together with a certification that once the reviewing agency approves the manual, the LPA will use the approved manual;
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  • submit for review and approval a Real Estate Acquisition Management Plan (RAMP) that describes the procedures the LPA intends to follow for a specified project, along with a certification that if the RAMP is approved, the LPA will follow the approved RAMP for the specified project(s).

Note that the RAMP may be used by a LPA only if the LPA infrequently carries out Title 23 projects, and the project is non-controversial and not complex.

If the LPA is acquiring right of way for a TxDOT project, it will make its certification (or submittal) to TxDOT. TxDOT will be responsible for monitoring the LPA's compliance with federal law on any project that involves federal funds, even if the project is not a TxDOT project.

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