The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) contracted with O. R. Colan Associates (ORC) in 2010 to conduct a study of the actual costs businesses incur as a result of having to relocate for a public transportation project. The primary focus of this research effort was to determine the costs that a business incurs which would be reimbursable if reestablishment expense payments were not limited to the current Federal statutory maximum amount of $10,000. The Uniform Act Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970 (Uniform Act) provides this maximum amount to assist businesses in reestablishing at a replacement site. Since the actual, reasonable, and necessary costs of moving personal property are, generally, fully covered under the existing regulations, the main issue of concern in providing for adequate compensation to accommodate businesses involves items associated with reestablishing at a suitable and affordable replacement location. The FHWA has heard anecdotal evidence for many years that the payments were not adequate to reestablish a business. One purpose of this study was to determine if the $10,000 reestablishment payment is adequate to address these miscellaneous costs, which are necessary for the successful reestablishment of a typical business. The study also investigated the additional fixed payment (in-lieu-of payment) a business may be eligible to receive, if not for the statutory maximum payment of $20,000, and the $2,500 search expense payment, which is a regulatory limit. The program office will use this information to further assess the adequacy of the current benefit levels, and also document a need to update the benefit levels.ORC conducted this research in several steps, which culminated in interviews with business owners who had been displaced by a State Department of Transportation (SDOT) for a federally-funded project. The primary purpose of the interviews was to identify the practices and types of benefits and services that the relocated businesses indicated would best ensure successful business relocation.
Each phase of the research study is detailed in this final report. A section entitled Findings, Analysis and Recommendations is included at the end of the final report.