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Section 3: State Letter of Authority

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Overview

This section discusses

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Function of LOA

The state LOA is a form that must be issued on all projects, including all projects let or work performed by local public agencies (LPA). State LOAs must be completed and dated prior to advertisement of the project. Federal-aid projects require a three-week advertisement period. State law prescribes that state-funded projects be advertised for two consecutive weeks prior to receipt of bids. The LOA issue dates are reflected in the PS&E Review and Processing Schedule. However, state law also requires that any project $25,000 or more must be advertised 3 weeks on the Texas Department of Economic Development Electronic Bulletin Board or the contract is not valid.

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Letting Management Office LOA Duties

Approximately one week after the letting schedule has been approved for any given letting, the Finance Division – Letting Management Section prints all necessary state letters of authority. The forms include all identifying information such as district, county, highway, CSJ, project number, functional classification, work program, limits, and type of work from the corresponding information from the various DCIS screens. The Letting Management section prints out a form for all CSJs including projects that are to be locally let by an LPA or for projects to be constructed by LPAs. Letting Management will indicated on the form if a FPAA is required and the responsible section. The forms are then sent to the Environmental Affairs Division.

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Environmental Affairs Division LOA Duties

Personnel in the Environmental Affairs Division complete the portions of the form pertaining to their area of responsibility. This includes the following fields: Corps of Engineers Section 404/10:IND/NW, Coast Guard Section 9, TWC/WPAP, Texas Historical Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Type of Environmental Clearance, FHWA Clearance Date, Remarks and Signature. The Environmental Affairs Division certifies a project’s environmental clearance status. Projects that are not environmentally clear cannot be authorized for letting and are subsequently removed and rescheduled.

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LOA Form Field Completion Procedure

The form is then sent to the same responsible division office that handled the processing of the project for further handling. The Design Division handles all projects that are mainly roadway, structure, or landscaping. The Traffic Operations Division handles all projects that are mainly signing, pavement markers, signal or illumination. The remaining fields on the form are completed as shown in Table 6-1.

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Step

Action

1

Letting management will complete the FPAA fields on the form which indicates if a FPAA should be submitted and the responsible division/section.

2

Check if the STIP is clear or not, and input the FHWA clearance date from the DCIS P7 screen (view-only screen).

3

Check if the Right-of-way, Right-of-way Encroachments, Relocation Assistance, and Utilities are clear or not clear based on the latest certifications and status forms provided by the district. Input the dates of the latest certifications.

4

Verify if a Railroad Agreement is necessary. If necessary, input the date that the agreement was executed. If an agreement is necessary but has not yet been executed, this should be noted on the form. The project may have to be removed from the letting if railroad agreement coordination is not complete. In certain instances, the project may be conditionally awarded pending execution of the railroad agreement. The LOA must be conditioned as noted below in #8.

5

If the project involves an advanced funding agreement, the escrow field should be checked yes, and the date that the agreement was executed should be entered under rec’d. If the agreement has not been executed, this should be noted on the form.

6

Under other, any other types of agreements or permits that may be required must be entered. If not applicable, enter no.

7

Under design approval, the initials and dates of all sections that reviewed the project are input.

8

The conditions of approval field are applicable if certain conditions exist at the time of authorization. These conditions are:

  • outstanding right-of-way acquisition
  • outstanding utility adjustments
  • railroad agreement execution, etc.

    The following are some examples of conditions of approval:

  • Authorization is given with the condition that an executed railroad agreement is submitted prior to the opening of bids.
  • This project is being authorized without all utility adjustments and/or right-of-way acquisition and/or relocation assistance being clear.

    This authorization is given with the understanding that Federal-Aid funds will not participate in time extensions or suspensions which are necessitated by utility interference, right-of-way clearance and/or relocation assistance.

9

The design is checked clear or not clear. The design is checked clear if the proposed design meets the applicable design standards or if all necessary design exceptions or waivers have been approved. The design is checked not clear if the proposed design does not meet the applicable standards and if design exceptions or waivers are pending or not approved. The status of any pending issues is stated under conditions.

10

A copy of the signed and approved Form 1002, Page 3 is attached to the state LOA.

11

After the reviewer has completed inputting all required data onto the form, the section director signs.

12

The section director reviews the information on the form and either approves, approves with conditions, or does not approve the project for letting. Any conditions of approval will be stated.

13

One week prior to letting, the conditional LOAs are reviewed by the Letting Management Office for compliance. If an executed railroad agreement has not been received, a determination is made based on information received from the Railroad Division, if the project should be removed from letting or conditionally awarded. If it is determined that a project should be conditionally awarded, an Amendment to the State LOA is prepared by Letting Management and signed by the responsible director reflecting the conditional award status. After signature, Letting Management distributes copies of the Amendment to the responsible district and divisions. Division personnel responsible for the Conditional Award List provided to the Commission are also notified so that the project may be included.


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Letting Management Section LOA Duties

Once the LOA has been signed, the Finance Division - Letting Management Section forwards a copy with attachments to all necessary divisions and districts. Approximately four days after the LOA date shown in the PS&E processing schedule, the first advertisements are normally published. See the example of a state LOA with Conditions of Approval ( stateloa) that has been filled out with attachments.

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