Chapter 3: ROW Acquisition

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Section 1: Advance Acquisition of ROW

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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 provided the following requirements are met:

  • the acquired property must not influence the need for or location of the project;
  • the acquisition must comply with the Uniform Act, 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 (now codified as 23CFR Part 771 §135) which include significant publicly-owned parks, recreation areas, wildlife or waterfowl refuges, and historic sites;
  • the final project must meet all requirements for a normal Federal project such as compliance with the National Environment Protection Act (NEPA), Historical Preservation Act (HPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Wetland Executive Order (WEO), etc.; and,
  • advance acquisitions must not be used to circumvent Federal laws or regulations.

Acquiring large quantities of ROW in advance of Federal approval could likely influence project location or need, and it is important to realize that any advance acquisition is done totally at the LPA’s risk. 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. Remember, an LPA is responsible for relocation costs.

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