Nature of the Requirement:
The Uniform Act ensures the fair and equitable treatment of persons whose real property is acquired or who are displaced as a result of a Federal or Federally-assisted project. Government-wide regulations provide procedural and other requirements (appraisals, payment of fair market value, notice to owners, etc.) in the acquisition of real property and provides for relocation payments and advisory assistance in the relocation of persons and businesses.
Elements of Flexibility:
A simplified acquisition procedure may be used in cases involving voluntary transactions, that is, where the acquiring agency either does not have or will not use the power of eminent domain if the property owner is not willing to sell under negotiated arrangements.
Individual State departments of transportation and FHWA division offices can
agree to exempt enhancement projects from case-by-case right-of-way review by
FHWA. The FHWA assures that the required process is being followed by reviewing
a sample of projects during periodic program reviews.
The National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 included a provision in Section 315 which exempts certain transactions from the requirements of the Uniform Act. This section applies to situations in which a third party sells real property to a qualified conservation organization which subsequently conveys the property for use in a Federally assisted project. There are two exceptions to the exemption: 1) where the conservation organization organization acted on behalf of the agency receiving Federal-aid when it acquired the real property or 2) if there was Federal approval of property acquisition prior to the involvement of the conservation organization. If either of those situations exist, the Uniform Act provisions would apply. In the second situation, the simplified acquisition provisions described above could apply.
Transportation enhancement projects may involve the property management requirements in 23 CFR Part 713 and 49 CFR Part 18. These and associated fiscal requirements often require credits for income generated from these projects. State departments of transportation and FHWA division offices can agree on interpretations of these regulations that meet the intent of the transportation enhancement provisions.
49 CFR Part 24, Uniform Relocation Assistance And Real Property Acquisition For Federal And Federally Assisted Programs.
23 CFR Parts 710 - 740 (Right-of-Way).
49 CFR Part 18, Uniform Administrative Requirements For Grants And Cooperative Agreements To State And Local Governments.
February 20, 1996 FHWA memorandum; Implementation Guidance - Section 315, National Highway System Designation Act.