If you are a city that is considering funding of a project using Federal Funds, and you know that it involves right of way (ROW) then be very careful. The temptation may be there to “hurry up” and purchase the ROW ahead of starting the project through the local programs office. This way you wouldn’t have to worry about following the Federal Uniform Act on ROW, right?
WRONG! Do not do this!
There have been communities who were working on projects that initially did not have any federal funding on them, and had acquired ROW prior to the project having Federal Funds. The only reason that they were able to move forward is because they had used TDOT pre-qualified ROW appraisers, and pretty much had followed the uniform act anyway. They still had to go through a pretty strict review to make sure that everything was going to be ok.
The bottom line is to come clean to the local programs office BEFORE we get the project going. Because if the ROW is messed up enough we won’t be able to fund ANY of it with Federal funds (and any Federal funds used for PE would have to be repaid).
Again, I want to stress how serious the acquisition of ROW is. If you have any questions, please call your TDOT Regional ROW office, before you do anything.