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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 70 · No. 6 > National Highway Institute(NHI)

May/Jun 2007
Vol. 70 · No. 6

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-07-004

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The National Highway Institute (NHI)

901 N. Stuart Street, Suite 300

Arlington, VA 22203

www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov

Training Update

by Alyssa Gold

NHI Courses Cover Requirements of Uniform Act

Government programs designed to benefit the public as a whole, such as constructing the Nation's transportation system, sometimes require purchasing private property and displacing people from their residences, businesses, or farms. Known as the power of eminent domain, acquisition of this kind is a long-recognized right of government. The fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution acknowledges this right, but states that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

To protect the rights of property owners and displaced individuals whose properties are acquired for public use, the U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended. Known as the Uniform Act, the law seeks to provide "uniform, fair, and equitable treatment to persons whose property is acquired or who are displaced in connection with a federally funded project." Title III of the act addresses policies for property acquisition, including appraisal requirements.

Appraisers Susan Bauer and Dave Heinmiller of the Maryland State Highway Administration are reviewing a project sketch of the Hughesville Bypass project in Charles County, MD. This road realignment project involved relocating three homes and acquiring an American Legion Hall.
Appraisers Susan Bauer and Dave Heinmiller of the Maryland State Highway Administration are reviewing a project sketch of the Hughesville Bypass project in Charles County, MD. This road realignment project involved relocating three homes and acquiring an American Legion Hall.

Currently the real estate acquisition programs at 18 Federal agencies are subject to the appraisal requirements of the Uniform Act and its implementing regulation, Code of Federal Regulations Title 49 Part 24 (49 CFR Part 24). The regulation was updated significantly effective February 2005.

The National Highway Institute (NHI) offers two courses to help transportation professionals understand and conform with the requirements of the Uniform Act and 49 CFR Part 24. They are Appraisal for Federal-Aid Highway Programs (FHWA-NHI-141043) and Appraisal Review for Federal-Aid Highway Programs (FHWA-NHI-141044). NHI designed the courses to help appraisers who have limited experience working on projects governed by the Uniform Act become familiar with the requirements of the law and the provisions of the implementing regulation. High marks from participants' evaluations led NHI to list both as "Courses of Excellence."

Appraisal for Federal-Aid Highway Programs is a 2-day training that focuses on preparing, presenting, and understanding appraisal reports in conformance with the Uniform Act. The course addresses the appraiser's role in the overall project development process and how an appraiser's expertise can assist in completing a transportation project effectively and efficiently.

Upon completing the course, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Explain how and why the appraisal is used as the basis for just compensation
  • Apply Federal-aid appraisal requirements including tenant-owned improvements, uneconomic remnants, realty and personalty, and compensable items
  • Use partial acquisition appraisal techniques
  • Explain how to use and apply the waiver of appraisal process
  • Apply appraisal techniques to problems unique to highway programs
  • Describe the role of the appraiser in the land acquisition process

Appraisal Review for Federal-Aid Highway Programs is a 1-day session that focuses on applying the principles of appraisal review and understanding how they fit within the Uniform Act and 49 CFR Part 24. Focusing on larger parcels, uneconomic remnants, cost to cure, and severance damages, the course discusses the qualifications, roles, and responsibilities of the review appraiser from pre- to post-appraisal activities.

Upon completing the course, participants will be able to do the following:

  • Explain how and why the appraisal review is used in establishing the amount believed to be just compensation
  • Apply requirements for Federal-aid appraisal review, including tenant-owned improvements, uneconomic remnants, and Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice
  • Apply appraisal review techniques to Federal-aid highway programs
  • Describe the role of the review appraiser in the land acquisition process

Although there is a lecture element to each course, group exercises enable participants to share lessons learned during their professional appraisal practices. Any individual serving on the project delivery teams for Federal or Federal-aid real estate acquisition projects would benefit from the two courses. In addition to appraisers and review appraisers, other transportation professionals that would benefit include environmentalists, planners, engineers, right-of-way managers, team leaders, acquisition agents, and relocation agents.

"These NHI courses are designed to teach the experienced appraiser the unique aspects of appraising real property under the requirements of the Uniform Act," says Carol Myers, chief of appraisal and appraisal review for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. "As an instructor for both courses, I try to instill my sense of enthusiasm for the right-of-way profession and the awesome responsibility of treating all property owners with equity and respect."

Although other educational institutions and professional associations provide appraisal education to meet the requirements of the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act, NHI officials are unaware of any other training programs that specifically cover the requirements of the Uniform Act and 49 CFR Part 24.

For more information on the course, contact John Turpin at 202-366-5853 or john.turpin@dot.gov. To schedule a session, contact the NHI Training Coordinator at 703-235-0534 or nhitraining@dot.gov. To learn more about other NHI courses, visit the NHI Web site at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov.


Alyssa Gold is a contractor for NHI.

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