I had an interesting conversation with a local government staff person about a project that they have. The County is widening and improving a section of a local road, funded 100% with County money. Even though the funding is 100% local, and technically they don’t have to, they are still following all the same process with the Uniform Act in Right of Way (ROW) acquisition as if it were a Federally funded project.
Why would they do this when it will obviously cost them more money than if they would just use their own local process? The reasoning is pretty straight forward. There may be future Federally funded projects on the ROW that is being acquired. They want to assure that years from now if the County wants to use Federal funds on this ROW they will be able to do it.
The bottom line is that TDOT locally managed projects must have ROW certification from TDOT to have funds obligated for the Construction Phase. Period. No ROW Certification equals no Construction Notice to Proceed (NTP). In order for TDOT ROW to issue a ROW Certification, they must be sure that all ROW was acquired through the Uniform Act. How far TDOT will go back on piece of property is not exactly set in stone. A safe bet would be at least 5-10 years.
Although following the Federal Uniform Act for ROW acquisition will cost them time, money and effort now, it will possibly save the County headaches (as well as time and money) in the future. I think that this is a smart thing for this community, and a good idea to put out there for other communities to think about.