Section 5: Payments and Final Audit

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Before Final Audit

Actual Cost Upon satisfactory completion of the utility adjustment and upon receipt of final billing prepared in acceptable form, TxDOT will make payment for 90% of the eligible costs shown. 10% is retained pending final audit. Historically, this 10% has been a sufficient margin to cover the citations resulting from an audit and thus preventing over-reimbursement to the utility.

Lump Sum When the utility agreement is on a lump sum basis, eligibility is established upon execution of the agreement, and no final audit is required.

Upon satisfactory completion of the adjustment and receipt of an invoice, and after any necessary amendment of the original lump sum agreement, TxDOT will pay the utility the approved lump sum amount.

The District and ROW Division will conform to the “Prompt Payment” process.

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Final Review

In reviewing billings and completing the Utility Payment/Billing Checklist, make a final review of the following items before submitting a payment request to the ROW Program Office.

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  • The ROW Program Office cannot process the billing for payment until formal conditions placed upon the agreement at time of approval are satisfied.
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  • Eligible replacement utility right of way must be similar in type and size to that being quitclaimed.
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  • Consulting engineering services appearing in the billing require prior approval by TxDOT.
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  • When a major field change is approved and accomplished by the utility, the final billing should be accompanied by “as-built” plans.
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  • All necessary instruments regarding utility property interest have been submitted to the ROW Division.
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  • District assurance must be given that an inspection of material removed from the project was made before disposal by scrap or salvage, if such information was not previously submitted. All materials recovered from the project must be listed in the billing. These items should show appropriate credit values whether salvaged or scrapped.
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  • Show the location where the records and accounts billed can be audited.
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  • In addition to showing the beginning and ending dates of the adjustment, verify that no billed costs have been incurred before the right of way release, since those costs are not eligible for reimbursement.
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According to 23CFR645, final billings are subject to audit. TxDOT will perform an audit of costs billed. Audits are not required for reimbursement of lump sum agreements.

The ROW Division Utility Portfolio Section is assigned the audit function for utility adjustments. Audits will determine approval of costs for both Federal and State cost participation. Where Federal-aid in right of way is involved, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) accepts the single audit concept, and a subsequent audit by FHWA will not be made.

When final billing assemblies are adequate, audits may be made based on a desk review. Final billings must support the review. There may be instances where the District will be requested to obtain items from the utility, and will be asked to supply its findings to allow payment.

When utilities accumulate costs according to work order accounting procedures, as prescribed by an applicable Federal or State regulatory body, they are audited under the governing regulations established by the regulatory body. This is the basic concept of 23CFR 645.

When a utility accumulates cost according to an established accounting procedure developed by the utility and approved by TxDOT, it is audited for consistency in operation, according to the approved accounting practices. In all cases, 23CFR 645 and related directives form the criteria for audit.

If any audit citations are noted, the auditor will notify the utility in writing and provide 10 business days for a rebuttal. If cited costs are validated and supported to the reasonable satis-faction of the auditor, the citations will be removed. If cited costs are not validated and supported to the reasonable satisfaction of the auditor, the department will submit a payment on the 11th business day to the utility of the supported costs. If the Utility wants to revisit documentation and provide additional information a post review will be done for additional payments in the future.

For FUP or SUP, ROW Program Office will submit payment through TxDOTCONNECT. Reimbursement to the Utility will be based upon the result of audit.

For LUP, the LPA will follow one of two options when requesting reimbursement for incurred utility adjustment costs:

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  • Option 1 - The LPA may elect to pay the utility for such costs without previously requesting a review of the final bill by TxDOT and a commitment of TxDOT’s participation. TxDOT then determines the amount eligible for participation through an audit, and reimbursement to the LPA will be governed accordingly.
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  • Option 2 - The LPA may elect not to pay the utility and request TxDOT to review the final bill. The District will submit the final billing package to the ROW Division for their audit report. TxDOT then determines the amount eligible for reimbursement. Reimbursement to the LPA, is based on TxDOT's commitment, or on the net cost to the LPA, whichever is the lesser amount. A payment will be processed after the LPA provides proof of payment to the utility with an invoice to the District. No supporting documentation is required to be submitted with invoice.

The ROW Division Utility Portfolio Section will schedule the audit. Should any audit citations be noted, 10 business days will be provided for a rebuttal. If cited costs are validated and supported, citations may be removed and payment will be issued. Audit citations, if any, will be handled as follows:

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  • Federal Utility Procedures (FUP) and State Utility Procedures (SUP) - the ROW Division Utility Portfolio Section will handle audit citations with the utility. The District will be provided with copies of all citations and related correspondence.
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    • The audit citations may be issued to TxDOT, as well as issued to the utility.
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    • When citations are issued against TxDOT, they are not forwarded or transmitted to the utility but rather are resolved in joint action by the ROW Division and the District, and the ROW Division Utility Portfolio Section. In the case of Federal-aid funded projects, FHWA may be involved as well.
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    • The utility will not receive final payment for the utility adjustment until the completion of the audit, reconciliation of any audit citations, and final receipt of all required documents.
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  • Local Utility Procedure (LUP) - the ROW Division will handle the audit citations with the LPA. Copies of the audit citations and related correspondence will be forwarded to the District.
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    • LPAs are not reimbursed for TxDOT’s share of such costs until completion of the audit, reconciliation of any audit citations, and final receipt of all required documents.
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  • The TxDOT Inspector’s project diary may be consulted to aid in determining eligibility of some charges.
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Records of Cost

The total cost of utility adjustments is recorded on a project basis and reflects partial payment as well as final payments. These utility cost records are maintained at the “Project” level, and each District should maintain similar records. The costs of utility adjustments are considered as part of the right of way project cost, according to Transportation Code Section 224.008.

For record retention information, refer to the TxDOT Records Management Manual.

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