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Alternative Uses of Highway Right-of-Way

Appendix B. Phone Discussion Guide

Phone Discussion Guide

Concept / Technology Identification
  1. Provide a brief summary of the alternative fuel facility or renewable energy project.
  2. Where did the idea for the project originate? What is the story and rationale behind pursuing it?
  3. What stage is the project currently in? Could you rank the "Technology Readiness Level" – is this a demonstration of a new technology or a proven/sure bet?
Policy / Regulations
  1. Are there enabling state regulations for the project?
  2. Can you briefly describe your state permitting process for renewable energy facilities?
  3. Were there any state/federal policies or regulations that were barriers to implementation?
Design / Siting
  1. How did you know the selected location(s) was the right one? How would a DOT "know" it had a good location?
  2. Was an environmental analysis necessary? What class of action? Was the class of action due to location sensitivity or size of the project? Describe.
Stakeholders and Public Involvement
  1. Who are the stakeholders that have been involved?
  2. Have public-private partnerships been necessary? Describe.
  3. How could public opinion during the initial stages be characterized?
Installation
  1. Who was responsible for installation?
  2. What considerations had to be made for construction (e.g., season? Was it like other DOT construction projects?
Safety, Operations, and Maintenance
  1. How much electricity does the project generate (monthly/annually)?
  2. Have there been any unintended consequences of the project?
    1. Safety implications?
    2. Environmental management implications?
    3. Security implications?
    4. Maintenance/cleaning implications?
Funding
  1. How were costs estimated?
  2. From where did funding come?
  3. Are economies of scale expected?
Best practice recommendations and lessons learned
  1. What advice would you give other DOTs looking to implement a similar project?
  2. What are future research needs in this area?
  3. Does your agency have plans for additional alternative energy projects in the ROW?
Referrals
Can you provide the names of other people who were involved in this project – other DOT staff involved, utility company, etc.?

Division Office Questionnaire

The Renewable Energy Technologies and the Use of Alternative Fuel Facilities in the Right-of-Way is a STEP research to develop information on accommodation of renewable energy technology and alternative fuel facilities. The Office of Real Estate Services would like to gather information about your States Right -of-Way and Utilities, laws and regulations to help identify where there may be opportunities or barriers to accommodating renewable energy technologies and alternative fuel facilities in the right-of-way.

  1. Does your State laws allow for the use of highway rights-of-way to accommodate public utility facilities as noted in the "Guidance on Utilization of Highway Right-of-Way" available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/real_estate/practitioners/right-of-way/policy_and_guidance/guidutil_a.cfm?
    1. If so, is the accommodation of renewable/alternative energy facilities addressed in the State's Utility Accommodation Manual (UAM) or Plan?
    2. If not, are there plans to address alternative energy uses of the ROW with the UAM?
    3. Does your State characterize renewable energy facilities as utilities (i.e., in regards to the accommodation of utility facilities in the ROW)?
    4. When was the last update of the Utility Accommodation Policy?
  2. Are there any State laws that either allow or prohibit the generation of renewable energy within the highway ROW? If so, please cite the law(s).
  3. Does property interest in DOT-acquired ROW legally allow the application of renewable energy facilities if the following exist:
    1. Acquisition was of easement for highway use only? If so does underlying fee interest needs to be acquired or permission granted to allow construction of renewable energy facilities?
    2. Interest was condemned using eminent domain and does not grant legal authority to develop or use other than for highway use?
    3. Acquired interest has a reversionary right if not used for stated highway purpose?
  4. Can States' excess ROW or potential excess ROW be used for renewable energy facilities?
    1. If so, under what circumstances?
      1. Acquire excess land to natural or logical physical barriers for mitigation of property damages or social economic environmental mitigation?
      2. Does the DOT have custodial authority for land banked rail corridors, consider using for this purpose?
    2. If not, what are the barriers, and are there any activities underway to address these barriers?
    3. Has your state received any request(s) to use the excess ROW for renewable energy or alternative fuel facilities?
  5. Is your State pursuing or being encouraged to pursue any renewable energy projects in the ROW?
    1. Is there pending State legislation or executive orders from the Governors' office to develop more green/renewable energy resources?

Additional Comments:

Please provide an agency or contact names, and telephone numbers that can be used for follow-up.

Updated: 04/02/2013
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